Point/Counterpoint: Tradition of Honoring Former Alumni

In a whirlwind of misfiring information yesterday, Viking fans went from downtrodden to hopeful when the news that former Vikings safety Orlando Thomas had lost his battle with ALS was initially reported as fact on the Vikings website, yet later rescinded. This brought up questions of how to honor the former Vikings safety in a respectful manner before the opportunity is lost. Today, we present two opposing views on which former Viking players should be honored within the organization …


Point – Brett Taber, Marketing Coordinator, Minnesota Vikings:

“You know, I was thinking about how to best honor the great Orlando Thomas after yesterdays unfortunate occurrence. Within the Vikings organization, from top to bottom, we always stress respect for current and former players, personnel, administrative staff and everyone in between. I mean, we’ve had some secretaries that have been there for 30 years, and we always invite the former ones back to games too! It’s really just a great family atmosphere within the organization and we really want Orlando to understand that he is a big part of this family. It’s just part of our organizational values, so we really want to share that with everyone, fans especially. I know many fans upon hearing the luckily false news about Orlando yesterday were already calling our offices wondering what they could do to donate to ALS support services, or wondering how we were going to honor him. That’s the great thing about the Vikings and Viking fans; they just care so much, so we want to share that capacity to care with everyone. We’ve thought about inviting Orlando’s family to a game so that the fans can welcome them, perhaps retiring his number or putting him in the ring of fame. We may also do a joint sponsorship program with ALS research during a game where for every touchdown scored, or sacks recorded or something, we’ll donate a hundred or a thousand dollars to ALS researching causes. Really, it’s the least we can do for such an important Vikings alum. It’s just who we are, we’re a family, and we always remember people from our organization.”


Counterpoint – Brian Russell, Safety, Former Minnesota Viking:

“Hey guys! It’s me, Brian Russell! … Russell. R-U-S-S-E-L-L. Nothing? No, I used to play with the Vikings at safety for a while. Remember? 2003? I had nine interceptions, a stat that had me tied for the league lead? Man, that was a great year, wasn’t it? Well, no, we didn’t make the playoffs after that Arizona game, but we still played great. We finished 9-7! Man, I love looking back on those times and remembering what once was. I use to be so much faster back then. Didn’t we have a great time? Players, coaches and fans? It felt like such a great family. No, that is Corey Chavous you are thinking of. I was the white guy. Yeah! Him! The white guy! Man, I always wished I had the opportunity to finish my career as a Viking. As you probably know, I played with some other teams in my career since then. Oh, you didn’t hear? I went to Cleveland and Seattle for two seasons, and am now playing with Coach Tice in Jacksonville again. But none of those places really matched up to the 2003 magic, you know? Hey, here’s an idea! We should get all of those players back together again and have a reunion! Maybe come out during a game at half time this year so everyone can shower me with applause and congratulations on my fantastic career. Maybe the Vikings would even want to retire my number?! That would be great! What do you think guys, should I book a flight?? Hello? Seriously, I can come out any time … What if I told you I was suffering from a terrible disease? It’s called ‘Caucasian Playeritis’. It makes me a bad athlete. Would this change your opinion?”



About PJD

I once saw Paul Edinger kick a 56-yard field goal for the Minnesota Vikings against the Green Bay Packers to win a game in the Metrodome. It was exhilarating.