Mick Tingelhoff, Vikings Hall of Fame Center, Dies at 81

Mick Tingelhoff, the Hall of Fame heart who began in 240 consecutive video games in his 17 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and who performed in 4 Super Bowls, died on Saturday at an assisted residing facility in Lakeville, Minn. He was 81.

The trigger was Parkinson’s illness with dementia, his spouse, Phyllis, mentioned.

Tingelhoff, who performed at heart and linebacker for 3 seasons at the University of Nebraska, wasn’t chosen within the N.F.L.’s 1962 draft. But the Vikings signed him, envisioning him as a linebacker.

They shifted him to heart of their second preseason sport, and he grew to become an anchor of their offensive line. He was chosen for the Pro Bowl in six consecutive seasons and named a first-team All-Pro 5 instances within the 1960s. Listed at 6 toes 2 inches and 237 kilos, he was fast on his toes and hard sufficient to dam burly defensive linemen.

When Tingelhoff retired after the 1978 season, he ranked No. 2 in N.F.L. historical past for beginning in consecutive video games, behind his teammate Jim Marshall’s 270 straight begins at defensive finish. The present file is held by quarterback Brett Favre, who began in 297 consecutive video games. Tingelhoff and quarterback Philip Rivers, who retired after the 2020 season, are tied for No. three.

“Mick and Jim were our two leaders,” Bud Grant, who coached the Vikings of Tingelhoff’s time, advised The Star Tribune of Minneapolis when Tingelhoff was chosen for the Hall in 2015 within the senior class, for gamers who had been retired for a few years.

“It’s hard for me to talk about Mick without Marshall, and Marshall without Mick. Mick was an introvert. Jim was an extrovert. They were different personalities, but really respected and our best players. If I said, ‘Jump,’ they would be the first ones to jump and everybody else would have to jump with them.”

Tingelhoff (53) defending quarterback Fran Tarkenton (10) throughout Super Bowl IX in New Orleans in 1975.Credit…Harry Hall/Associated Press

Tingelhoff performed on an offensive line that helped the Vikings declare 10 divisional titles from 1968 to 1978. He supplied move safety for Fran Tarkenton, the scrambling quarterback, and he opened holes for operating again Chuck Foreman, who had three consecutive 1,000-yard dashing seasons (1975-1977). He took on opponents’ center linebackers, most notably Joe Schmidt of the Detroit Lions, Ray Nitschke of the Green Bay Packers and Dick Butkus of the Chicago Bears.

He performed on groups that misplaced to the Kansas City Chiefs within the January 1970 Super Bowl, the Miami Dolphins in 1974, the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1975 and the Oakland Raiders in 1977.

Tarkenton, a Hall of Famer, spoke on Tingelhoff’s behalf at his 2015 Hall of Fame induction in gentle of his cognitive issues. “Mick’s a man of little words but a lot of action,” mentioned Tarkenton, who choked up and shed tears. The emotional ceremony was attended by many of Tingelhoff’s former teammates, his spouse and different members of the family and associates.

While it’s not clear why Tingelhoff needed to endure a prolonged wait to realize entrance to the Hall, in Canton, Ohio, the middle place just isn’t a glamour spot and he by no means received a Super Bowl championship ring.

Henry Michael Tingelhoff was born on May 22, 1940, in Lexington, Neb., the youngest of six youngsters of Henry and Clara (Ortmeier) Tingelhoff. He grew up on a household farm and performed at heart and linebacker for Lexington High School, however his mother and father by no means attended his video games.

“Dad thought football was a waste of time,” Tingelhoff recalled in 2015. “They weren’t real happy that I got a scholarship to Nebraska. They wanted me to stay on the farm.”

In addition to his spouse, Phyllis (Kent) Tingelhoff, he’s survived by their sons Michael and Patrick, 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

After leaving professional soccer, Tingelhoff labored in business actual property.

Bud Grant known as him “one of the greatest Vikings of all time.”