Randall McDaniel found out today that he had become the eighth former Viking to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. McDaniel played for the Vikings from 1988 to 1999 and made 12 consecutive trips as the starting left guard in the Pro Bowl (1990-2001). He will be enshired in the Canton, Ohio-based Hall on Aug. 8. Here are some highlights of a news conference he did late this afternoon at Winter Park.
Q. How did it feel when you got the call about getting into the Hall?
A. “It felt great. I was telling my wife before I got here, it felt like the draft all over. Waiting. It felt like the first game I was going out into when I was going to first start and then it felt like the marriage day all over when you’re waiting to walk down the aisle. All those emotions come together at once. And then to get that call and just see it happen live, what do you say? I can take a little breath for a while now but as [former teammate and 2008 Hall inductee Gary Zimmerman] said to me, ‘Now you’ve got to write a speech and go up and speak to a bunch of people.’ So you guys get to hear me talk one more time.”
Q. Did you stick to your normal routine today?
A. “I tried not to change too much. I got up this morning, I got my workout done, I walked the dog, I took stuff to the recycle, I hit golf balls for two hours in the dome right down the street [from Winter Park], then I went down and got my haircut like I do every two weeks and talked to the barber. I kind of threatened him because he said, ‘congratulations’ before it was announced. I told him, ‘If I don’t get it, I’m coming back to tear the place up.’ [laughter]. So we won’t have to do that. But I tried to stick to my normal routine but it go to the point where I was just, OK, I’m just nervous and I did what I always do when I’m nervous. I pulled a puzzle out and started putting the puzzle together. When it all happened, I could exhale and let it all out.”
Q. Is it more difficult for offensive linemen to make it because you don’t have statistics you can fall back on?
A. “We don’t have stats and a lot of it is what you do for all the guys around you. If we do our job, then the quarterback looks good, the running backs do well, the receivers do well and they tell us, ‘Thanks, for getting us there.’ That’s kind of how I am. I don’t need the limelight. I like my position that I played because I can just go do my job and go home and no one knew unless you got the holding or unless you did something really bad that day. Gave up a lot of sacks. You always wonder with linemen we really don’t have those stats so what do you do from there. … This is just a great and humbling day.”
Q. Did you expect this?
A. “I never expected it. Each year I know a lot of people kept telling me that, ‘You are a sure in,’ but like I said, being the lineman that I am, nothing is sure thing until it actually happens. I wasn’t going to complain. If it didn’t happen today, I would have went about my day like I normally do. They still couldn’t take away the 14 years that I had in the NFL. That experience has been great. It’s like you tell kids at school, you pick yourself up, you move on. Football is just a moment in life for me and you have other things in life that you’re going to do throughout your life and accomplish. You just don’t get locked into that and that’s the way I’ve always done it. But saying that, as it happened, I’m very happy to be in there with that elite group. I’m going to try to enjoy it. Zim said try to enjoy it because you probably won’t, but you sit back and try to take it in as it comes.”
Q. Do you know who will be your presenter at the Hall?
A. “I never even thought about that. I was telling my wife, ‘I’m not getting in.’ You have three other guards. You’ve got [Russ] Grimm, you’ve got Dermontti Dawson, you’ve got [Bob] Kuechenberg. I’m thinking, ‘There’s no way.’ So why worry about things like that until it actually happens. I haven’t thought about it, I’m going to start thinking about it real soon. I know there is one guy I won’t ask because he won’t be very happy. My best friend, he always said, ‘If it ever happens don’t ever think I’m going to get up there and speak.’ So I know that right away. I will be thinking about that in the next few days, try to figure out who and who I think could handle the pressure that they want to get up there on live TV and make that announcement.”
Q. When you look back, why did you end up as a Hall of Fame offensive lineman?
A. ”A lot of the credit goes to my parents. The way I was raised and growing up in the little town of Avondale [Ariz.]. My parents instilled hard work and good values and that’s what I did. We didn’t have much growing up and I can remember my folks, whatever job it was, moving from one place to the next. … Mom and dad always worked hard. They always said, ‘As long as you work hard, you bust your butt and do the right things, good things will happen in the end.’ So I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my mom and dad for everything they’ve done for me along the way and that never give up attitude. No matter how bad things look you just keep working and keep your head above water and good things will happen eventually.
“I laugh because I called my mom and dad while we were on hold on the other line to tell my mom, ‘I’m in [the Hall of Fame].’ My dad’s like his normal self [saying], ‘Tell me what he said later,’ my mom was all excited but then she starts giving me the rundown of what’s happening in Avondale right now. I’m like, ‘Mom, I don’t have time for that right now, I’ll call back later.’ My parents and that upbringing is what mainly led me to where I am today.”
Q. Surprised Cris Carter did not get into the Hall with you?
A. “It is shocking. You just never know how they are going to vote. I think everybody on that list was deserving of being in. He has the numbers, he and Johnny [Randle] both are very deserving and they both have the numbers. It was shocking now that I’m sitting here thinking about it that the two of them didn’t get in, also with Shannon Sharpe and those other [candidates]. Like I say, you just never know. I don’t know what happens in that room [where a panel of sportswriters vote] but it surprised me. I didn’t think it was going to be my name, I thought it would be one of those two and I was ready to make the call to them to congratulate them but I was fortunate today that it happened for me.”
The Vikings also issued this statement from Vikings owner Zygi Wilf.
“We are extremely excited today that Randall has been selected as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2009,” Wilf said. “Randall’s intelligence, hard work, discipline, tenacity and commitment to excellence was rewarded earlier today in Tampa, Florida. Both he and his wife, Marianne, have made a positive impact upon the Minnesota Vikings organization and the Twin Cities community. We look forward to having Randall enshrined in Canton, Ohio and are grateful that he is part of the Minnesota Vikings Family.”