Friday, October 31, 2014


I still remember the injury.  In 1989, Keith Millard was the most dominating defensive force in the NFL.  His 18 quarterback sacks that season is a record that still stands for a defensive tackle.  He was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and earned his second consecutive first-team All-Pro selection.  Under drill-sergeant defensive coordinator Floyd Peters and next to future Hall of Famer Chris Doleman, world-class run-stuffer Henry "Hardware Hank" Thomas, and pass-rush specialist Al Noga, the '89 Vikings defensive line was the best in the game and had Minnesotans drawing comparisons to the Purple People Eaters.

If not for the injury, there is no doubt in my mind that Keith Millard would be right next to his longtime teammate Doleman in Canton.  Four weeks into the 1990 season, though, his knee was obliterated in a game that the Vikings eventually lost to the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Millard never again played for the Vikings.  He fought hard to return, but it took him two years to get back into the NFL.  In 1992 he got into two games for the Packers, got released, and got into two more games with the Seahawks.  In 1993, he managed to stay in the league all year for the Eagles, but was a shell of his former self.  That was curtains for the career of a man who was on his way to being mentioned in the same breath as Alan Page and John Randle among Vikings defensive tackles.

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