Mick Tingelhoff a Hall of Fame finalist

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
5:10
PM ET
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- It appears another member of the Minnesota Vikings' four Super Bowl teams could be on his way to Canton.

Former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff, who made six Pro Bowls and was named to the All-Pro first team five times, was named the lone nominee for the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame class by the Hall of Fame Senior Committee, which met in Canton, Ohio, on Wednesday. Tingelhoff, who played for the Vikings from 1962-78 and shifted from linebacker to center after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent, started 240 consecutive games, which was the second-longest streak in the NFL behind former teammate Jim Marshall at the time of Tingelhoff's retirement.

He is automatically a finalist for enshrinement, and while he will need 80 percent of the vote when the full nominating committee meets in Glendale, Arizona, before Super Bowl 49, Tingelhoff's nomination from the Senior Committee gives him a strong chance to reach the Hall.

"He was very happy -- not as happy as his wife was, but this is a great day in Vikings history," said former Vikings trainer Fred Zamberletti, who called Tingelhoff to give him the news while the former center was vacationing in South Dakota. "I felt he should have been in there before."

Tingelhoff, whose No. 53 was retired by the Vikings, would be the 13th Hall of Famer who spent a significant part of his career in Minnesota and the 19th who played, coached or worked for the Vikings overall. Coach Bud Grant's Super Bowl teams from the 1970s are responsible for seven of those Hall of Famers, including the coach himself. Tingelhoff, whose perseverance and pain tolerance made him an icon of Grant's teams, would be the eighth.

"We went to training camps that were very hard and brutal. He would be the only center there," Zamberletti said. "We'd line up for full contact at 2 in the afternoon, and go full scrimmage for two-and-a-half hours. Tingelhoff would be the only center; we'd bring in other centers to back him up, and they were always hurt.

"He was a good leader. He led by example. He was everything you'd ever want in a player. He can get lost in the shadows because of those (four) Super Bowl losses. (But) at that time, (Vince) Lombardi recognized Tingelhoff. When you've got him saying nice things about you, that meant a lot."

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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