Chris Doleman has his bust in Canton alongside the other greats of NFL history, including his Vikings teammates John Randle and Randall McDaniel. Chris was introduced at Canton Saturday night by his son Evan and went on to give a heartfelt speech, thanking numerous people and institutions including Zygi Wilf and the current Vikings organization. He also took a moment to remember former GM Mike Lynn who recently passed away. A full transcript of Doleman’s speech can be found here. Video here.
After a stellar career at Pitt, Doleman was drafted by the Vikings with the 4th overall pick in 1985. He was installed as a pass rushing OLB in the Vikings’ 3-4 scheme, recording his first half-sack against the Packers on November 10th, 1985. When the Vikes went 4-3 Doleman was moved to defensive end…and the rest is history. Chris grew into one of the great sack artists in NFL history, finishing his career with 150 1/2, including 21 in 1989. Doleman made his first Pro Bowl in 1987 and would return 7 more times, the last in 1997 as a member of the 49ers. He would be selected to 3 All-Pro teams and would be named a member of the NFL’s official all-decade team for the ’90s.
The Vikings had two periods of dominance on the defensive line, first with Alan Page, Carl Eller, Jim Marshall and the Purple People Eater gang, then again in the late ’80s and early ’90s with Doleman, Keith Millard, Henry Thomas and a little later John Randle. If you’re a Viking fan who grew to love the team in either of those eras, you love defensive line play and you love sack artists like Chris Doleman. Defensive line IS the identity of the Minnesota Vikings as a franchise and Doleman is one of the men who forged that identity. He was, quite simply, a bad-ass crusher of quarterbacks.