If ever there was a player who symbolized consistent greatness, it was Minnesota Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff.
Through 17 autumns with the Vikings, Tingelhoff never missed a game, starting 240 straight in a career that saw six Pro Bowl trips and five All-Pro selections.
Tingelhoff passed away at the age of 81 on Saturday, the Vikings announced.
Our hearts are heavy as we announce the passing of #Vikings Legend Mick Tingelhoff.
Undrafted in 1962, he helped set the franchise standard for toughness as he started 240 consecutive games throughout his @ProFootballHOF career. pic.twitter.com/ZYwcAkCsqp
“Mick Tingelhoff was the anchor of the great Vikings teams during an amazing era that included four Super Bowls,” the Wilf family said in a statement. “A humble but strong leader, he defined toughness. Mick’s legacy will live on as a Hall of Famer, on the field and off the field. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
Tingelhoff’s astounding streak of 240 starts in a row is the most for a center in NFL chronicle and second in the Vikings’ history behind only defensive end Jim Marshall’s unbelievable run of 270 in a row. Furthering just how impressive Tingelhoff’s durability was, he made all those starts while also handling long-snapping duties.
An undrafted free agent linebacker in 1962, Tingelhoff’s NFL journey concluded with his enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
Tingelhoff, who played with the team from ’62 to 1978, was a pivotal contributor to the Vikings franchise’s most successful seasons. He was part of four Vikings Super Bowl squads and helped Minnesota to 10 division titles over his final 11 seasons.
That grand success came after Tingelhoff helped the Vikings to an 8-5-1 record in 1965, which stands as the club’s first winning season. It was also the first of six consecutive Pro Bowl selections for the center, whose five All-Pro bids came within that span.
Tingelhoff’s No. 53 is retired and he’s in the team’s Ring of Honor. He’s a legend gone, but most certainly one whose greatness will live on.
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