Pro Football Reference lists 27,145 men who have played an NFL game. Only 337 of them have played at least 200. Eight of those select ironmen will reside forever in the Star Tribune Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame when former Vikings Paul Krause, Scott Studwell and the late Mick Tingelhoff are honored during Wednesday's induction ceremonies at the Mall of America.
"We were team-first guys who respected the team, the fans, what it means to be a Viking," Krause said. "Basically, everyone on Bud Grant's teams did that. We laced it up and played."
Tingelhoff played 240 games, Krause 226 and Studwell 201. Other former Vikings players in the Star Tribune Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame are Jim Marshall (282), Fran Tarkenton (246), Carl Eller (225), Randall McDaniel (222) and Alan Page (218). Grant and Vikings founding owner Max Winter also are members.
Here's a look at the newbies:
Seventeen centers were drafted in 1962. Tingelhoff wasn't one of them.
The Lions drafted five centers, the Bears three, the Packers one. Vikings coach Norm Van Brocklin chose another rout. He sent a scout to Lincoln, Neb., with $500 for a bonus to entice the scrappy Cornhusker to sign as a free agent.
The scout gambled, accurately, that Tingelhoff wouldn't require a bonus to gladly sign a $9,000-a-year contract. The scout's secret lasted only until Mick's first training camp mistake, when the irascible Van Brocklin screamed that he had wasted 500 bucks on Tingelhoff.
Mick's response: "What 500 bucks?"
Tingelhoff started Week 1 and never missed a game through the end of the 1978 season. His 240 consecutive regular-season starts rank fourth in NFL history and remains a record for centers.
"I do know that Van Brocklin ended up giving me that $500," Tingelhoff said before entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
Smart move because, as Tarkenton said in 2015, "Mick Tingelhoff is the Minnesota Vikings."
Krause had more than 50 college offers when he signed with Iowa in 1960.
"The Big Ten was my dream," he said. "If you played in the Big Ten back then, you knew you had made it."
He conquered the next level, too. His 81 interceptions as a Pro Football Hall of Fame safety appears to be an unbreakable record. The active leader in 2022 was Devin McCourty — with 35. Through 13 years.
Emlen Tunnell held the mark previous record of 79 from 1961 until Dec. 2, 1979, when the Vikings were playing the Rams in Los Angeles. Krause's 80th pick came against Vince Ferragamo on the final play of the first half. His final interception came against former Vikings teammate Bob Lee in the second half.
"I remember the Ferragamo interception," Krause said. "I remember all 81, actually. I don't know if it's an unbreakable record or not. I just know it's a pretty good number to have."
Grant remembers how long he had to nag Mike Lynn before the Vikings general manager finally selected Studwell in the ninth round in 1977.
"Every round, I'd say, 'Hey, what about this Studwell?'" Grant said. "It was always, 'He's too small. Too slow. Too this. Too that.' But the guy tackled everything in college."
Studwell's 177 tackles in 1976 led the Big Ten and still ranks second in the history of Illinois football. When he left the Illini, Studwell ranked second in career tackles behind only one guy: Dick Butkus. The All-Century team at Illinois had three middle linebackers: Butkus, Ray Nitschke and Studwell.
Studwell played for the Vikings from 1977-90 and worked in the team's scouting department for another three decades. He still holds franchise records for tackles in a game (24), a season (230) and a career (1,981).
"Stud's stats are ridiculous," said former Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway. "And that career record for tackles is out the window."
Studwell's lead in career tackles is 529 more than anyone else.
"Tackling," said Studwell, "is about 10% technique and 90% effort and heart."
Sure sounds like a Minnesota Sports Hall of Famer.
Tingelhoff, Krause and Studwell will be inducted into the Star Tribune Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame during a ceremony Wednesday evening at the Mall of America. More information about that free event is here.