MINNEAPOLIS -- Former Minnesota Vikings great Carl Eller was charged Thursday with two felonies after a scuffle with police officers trying to arrest him for possible drunken driving.
Hennepin County prosecutors charged the 66-year-old Eller with fourth-degree assault and making terroristic threats. He also was charged with driving while impaired and refusing to take a chemical test for alcohol, both gross misdemeanors.
"Nobody likes to see a public figure go through this, and we think it's unfortunate that we have to do this today, but we have our duty," said Paul Scoggin, chief of the violent crimes division for the Hennepin County attorney's office.
Eller was let out of the Hennepin County Jail after posting $50,000 bail. He had been in custody since his arrest early Wednesday morning and is scheduled to appear in court Friday.
Eller declined to comment when approached by reporters as he left jail. Scoggin said no attorney had yet signed on to represent Eller.
According to a criminal complaint, two Minneapolis police officers watched a Mercedes SUV run a stop sign and swerve toward their squad car. The officers chased the SUV to Eller's home, where they watched it pull into the driveway in the back of the house.
The officers approached the SUV and ordered Eller to get out, the complaint said. Then Eller allegedly pulled his car into the garage. When he got out, he ignored the officers' commands and tried to enter his home, according to the complaint.
The officers tried to handcuff him, but Eller "became combative" and threatened the officers, the complaint said.
The struggle was difficult for the officers, Scoggin said, because "Mr. Eller is a very healthy 66-year-old man who hasn't lost his physical abilities."
Eller was a member of the famed Purple People Eaters in his 15 years as a defensive end with Minnesota from 1964-78. He played in six Pro Bowls and all four of the Vikings' trips to the Super Bowl. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
Eller has acknowledged his history as a substance abuser. He became a treatment counselor and has spoken publicly to groups about the problems of chemical dependency.