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MINNESOTA'S NATIONAL RANK
No. 19 pro | No. 28 college | No. 31 high school
The odd fan in Viking horns and blond braids could cause anyone watching TV to forget that defensive end Carl Eller and the "Purple People Eaters" under the leadership of Bud Grant swallowed Minnesota fans' hearts and opposing offenses through much of the 1970s. The franchise might still be looking for its first Super Bowl trophy, but it is not for the lack of good players such as safety Paul Krause (81 career interceptions), defensive tackle Alan Page, quarterback Fran Tarkenton and tackle Ron Yary.
The Golden Gophers haven't won the Big Ten since 1967. The best years in Minnesota, in fact, came from 1900-1905 when teams won 65 games, outscoring their opponents 2,702-121. Great Gophers include Bronko Nagurski, who was an All-American at fullback and defensive tackle in 1929, and 1941 Heisman winning back Bruce Smith. More recent NFL players include kicker Chip Lohmiller and defensive lineman and linebacker Karl Mecklenburg.
Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul is one of the best programs in the upper Midwest. Biletnikoff Award winning Larry Fitzgerald, now with the Arizona Cardinals, was born in Minneapolis. Spring 2006 DI signees: 16. Fall 2006 high school football teams: 389.
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