Countdown to the Vikings 2019 season opener: 80 days

(Photo By BRUCE BISPING/Star Tribune via Getty Images) Cris Carter
(Photo By BRUCE BISPING/Star Tribune via Getty Images) Cris Carter /

Only 80 days remain until the Minnesota Vikings kick off their 2019 season inside U.S. Bank Stadium against the Atlanta Falcons.

For the Minnesota Vikings, the long offseason will be soon over and players will finally arrive at training camp. There are now just 80 days until the Vikings begin their quest back to the playoffs on September 8 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Speaking of 80, that jersey number is one of only six that have been retired by Minnesota. It was made famous in purple and gold by Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter.

Carter was known for not only his spectacular hands during his tenure with the Vikings, but also for his great footwork with his sideline catches.

Drafted in the fourth round of the 1987 supplemental draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, Carter spent his first three seasons with the Eagles. However, Philadelphia and head coach Buddy Ryan ended up releasing the receiver in 1990 due to his alcohol and drug abuse. Carter later credited Ryan for cutting him as it helped turn his life and career around.

Shortly after the Eagles let him go, Carter was claimed off of waivers by Minnesota for a small fee of only $100.

During his first season with the Vikings, he only ended up catching 27 passes for 413 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games (five starts).

Carter eventually became more involved with Minnesota’s offense over the next two years. But in 1993, he then started to emerge as one of the top wide receivers in the NFL.

From 1993 to 2000, Carter had over 1,000 yards receiving in each season and he made it to the Pro Bowl in each of these years as well.

His 122 receptions in 1994 not only led the league, but it also set an NFL-record at the time. The very next season, Carter went ahead and finished with 122 reception again.

The talented Vikings receiver also led the league in touchdown catches in 1995, 1997 and 1999. He recorded 86 receptions or more in seven of those eight seasons. Carter’s final year in Minnesota came in 2001 and he finished that season with 73 catches for 871 yards and six touchdowns.

His last year in NFL was spent with the Miami Dolphins in 2002. Carter only ended up appearing in five games for the Dolphins, totaling just eight receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown.

Not too long after Carter’s time in the league came to a close, the Vikings decided to retire his jersey number in 2003. His 1,004 catches, 12,383 receiving yards, and 110 touchdowns are all still the most by any player to ever suit up for Minnesota.

Carter and fellow Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss formed one of the greatest receiving duos in NFL history during their four seasons on the Vikings together. In 1998, both played critical roles in Minnesota finishing with a 15-1 record and the offense setting a then NFL record of 556 points scored.

Even before Moss arrived, Carter and Jake Reed did very well together too as Minnesota’s receiving duo from 1994 to 1997.

Carter was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013 and he recently said he would not have made it there if not for former Vikings head coach Dennis Green.

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Currently, he is one of the hosts for the show “First Things First” on FS1.