The Vikings announced today that they will induct late former head coach Dennis Green into their Ring of Honor. Green will be just the third head coach to join the Ring of Honor, following Bud Grant and Green’s predecessor, Jerry Burns.
Said owner Mark Wilf in a statement:
“Dennis Green’s impact on the Minnesota Vikings, and really the entire NFL, is still felt to this day,” Wilf said. “In addition to being widely regarded as one of the NFL’s top coaches, Denny was also known as a great mentor and leader by all who had the fortune of being in his presence. We’re extremely honored to forever memorialize Denny and his family in the Vikings Ring of Honor and we’re looking forward to the induction in September.”
The ceremony will take place Sunday, Sept. 23 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Green assumed the head coach mantle following Burns’ retirement in 1992. At the time, he was only the second African-American head coach in modern league history (Art Shell) and the first to never play professionally. A product of the Bill Walsh West Coast offense, Green helped elevate a floundering Minnesota team. Under him, they finished at least .500 every season but his last and won four division titles.
The crowning achievement of Green’s tenure came in 1998. That year, with supposedly washed-up veteran Randall Cunningham at quarterback, Minnesota posted one of the all-time great offensive seasons. This included a 1,000-yard rushing season for Robert Smith and 1,000-yard receiving seasons for Cris Carter and a rookie named Randy Moss. On top of that, Cunningham took home MVP honors and the Vikings finished with a record of 15-1. Of course, the season would ultimately end in disappointment, but to this day, fans around the league rave about that Green-led Minnesota team.
After a disappointing season in 2001, the Vikings bought out Green’s contract. He would spend the remainder of his career in a couple other coaching stints, including a few years with the Cardinals and a few in the UFL. He passed away in July of 2016 from complications resulting from cardiac arrest.
Despite several stops along the way, Green’s career will most be associated with his time in Minnesota. He finished his Minnesota run with a record of 101-70, second in wins to only Bud Grant. He made two trips to the NFC Championship Game, in 1998 and 2000. But above all, he helped define an era of success and pride for Minnesota fans.
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