Vikings to place Joey Browner in Ring of Honor

Published 9:30 am Saturday, August 10, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS — Joey Browner spent nine seasons in Minnesota roaming the defensive backfield and cementing his place in Vikings lore as one of the best defensive players to ever wear purple.

Now he will join many of the franchise’s best players in the Ring of Honor.

Browner will be inducted into the team’s ring at halftime of their game against the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 27, putting his name next to standouts like Alan Page, Jim Marshall, Carl Eller and Paul Krause. For a player that made six Pro Bowls and is remembered as one of the best safeties of his generation, it’s where he belongs.

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“The Ring of Honor is something that is very special because there are very few of us that are in there,” Browner said on Friday night before the Vikings opened the preseason against the Houston Texans. “To be with people like Fran Tarkenton and Jim Marshall … Chris Doleman, Cris Carter, John Randle, it’s just a great honor.”

Browner will be the 21st player to be inducted. He played for the Vikings from 1983-91 after he was drafted out of USC in the first round. He made six straight Pro Bowls, and his No. 47 jersey became a symbol for toughness and tenacity. Widely regarded to have some of the strongest hands in the league, Browner often used the horse-collar tackle, a technique that is illegal in the game today.

“You could play football back then,” Browner said. “Now there’s a rule for everything.”

Browner remains in the Twin Cities, working with a foundation that helps prepare young children for school. He also works with the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul in a national youth sports program.

Browner takes pride in being remembered as one of the best Vikings to ever play, working with a ferocious defense that included Chris Doleman, Scott Studwell and Keith Millard. But he thinks it’s better that his time has passed.

“They wouldn’t be able to play with me,” he said of today’s league. “I played when you were able to do anything possible to make a tackle or to win the game. Now you can’t do certain things and they try to protect the young men more. And the money is crazy. The rookies make more than I did in my whole career in just one year.”