Maybe the fifth time will be the charm for Cris Carter. The legendary Vikings (and Eagles and Dolphins) wide receiver is once again on the 15-man list of Hall of Fame finalists. His first time was in 2008. He’s made the finalist list every year since then. He will continue making the finalist list until they finally decide to let him in.
How realistic is Carter’s chance of getting in this year? It doesn’t look good, frankly. The problem is Tim Brown. Everyone thinks Brown will go in before Carter. And the HOF doesn’t like inducting two guys at the same position in the same year (for some reason). So Brown has to get his call before Carter has a shot. If Brown goes in this year…maybe next year for Carter. Unless the HOF likes Andre Reed more. Which would be stupid, but don’t get me started.
Carter isn’t the only Viking legend on the list of finalists. Once again, Chris Doleman has made the 15-man cut. But Doleman’s chances are even worse than Carter’s. Much as I love Doleman – he was my favorite player once upon a time – I have to admit he’s probably not a Hall of Famer. Cris Carter, on the other hand, is unquestionably a Hall of Famer. Carter practically defined the possession receiver as we now know it. Nobody was better at working the sidelines. Nobody had better hands. Over an almost ten-year period, Carter was always in the conversation as one of the top 3 or 4 receivers in the league. And, most importantly, he popularized the first-down-signal celebration that has become more-or-less standard in the league. That’s a Hall of Famer in my book.
I still think Carter will get in, but he’s going to have to wait awhile. Doleman can probably forget it. The ’90s Vikings have gotten plenty of HOF love in recent years (John Randle and Randall McDaniel) so there’s not much reason for fans to be bitter.