The Nano Column
(You can read it while at a stoplight, during a commercial break or when dropping a deuce.)
Instead of rehashing the devastating loss to the Cowboys, I’m going to hash several behind-the-scenes things I learned since I began covering the Vikings in 1984:
Cris Carter was not much liked in the Vikings’ locker room. One prominent teammate said Carter was “the biggest a-hole” he ever played with.
Many of the footballs “signed” by Tommy Kramer in the 1980s actually were signed by members of the public relations department. Kramer is a good guy and active on Twitter so, if you have one of those balls, you can probably reach out and get him to sign it.
Keith Millard once told a cop “my arms are more powerful than your gun.” It happened after someone at the hotel where Millard was staying called the police about the yelling coming from his room. Millard was alone at the time, but was on a phone call that wasn’t going well. Millard, also a good guy, laughs about it now.
During his one season as the Vikings’ head coach in 1984, Les Steckel punched himself in the mouth during a team meeting, cut up a credit card because “the country club atmosphere” was ending, and hoped to assemble the NFL’s first all-Christian team. The wife of one player told me her husband wasn’t sure if he should carry a playbook, a Bible or both. Steckel later became president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Actor Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in the movie “The Passion of the Christ,” told me that while filming the hanging-on-the-cross scene on a Sunday, he passed time wondering how the Vikings were playing. His brother-in-law, Scott Linehan, was the Vikings’ offensive coordinator at the time.
Ike Holt, a cornerback from the ‘80s, once said to a reporter (not me) who asked a question he didn’t like, “How’d you like a sock in the eye?”
When Chuck Foreman was drafted by the Vikings, Bud Grant asked him if he wanted to play halfback, wide receiver or cornerback — all positions he played at the University of Miami. He played none of the above in Minnesota. He` was considered a fullback throughout his Vikings career.
John Michels was one of the most underrated assistant coaches of all time. The Vikings’ offensive line coach throughout Bud Grant’s tenure and while Jerry Burns was coach, Michels coached four linemen now in the Hall of Fame — tackles Ron Yary and Gary Zimmerman, center Mick Tingelhoff and guard Randall McDaniel. It’s five if you count Jim Langer, who joined the Vikings after a stellar career with the Miami Dolphins.
Back in the 1980s, as training camp was winding down in Mankato, several players rented a Winnebago and a dancer willing to do more than dance. At one point, a team intern was brought into the Winnebago and told to play an X-rated version of spin the bottle.
Carter could be an a-hole off the field as well, bumping Bill Brown from the Ring of Honor and preventing Brown’s ill wife from seeing her husband inducted. Carter whined to then-owner Red McCombs that he wanted to be put in the Ring in 2003, the year Brown was told he’d go in. Brown went in a year later, but his wife didn’t see it. She died after Carter’s induction.
Bob Sansevere hosts “The BS Show” podcast, which also is broadcast on radio stations in Duluth (KDAL), Hibbing (WNMT) and St. Cloud (WBHR).