Purple People Eaters
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The Purple People Eaters was the nickname of the Minnesota Vikings football team's defensive line of the late 1960's to the late 1970's, when the Vikings played in four Super Bowls. The name comes from the purple color of the Vikings' uniforms and a song by Sheb Wooley entitled Purple People Eater. Members of the line were:
Defensive tackle Alan Page, who was the 1971 NFL MVP, and who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988.
Defensive end Carl Eller, whose nickname was "Moose," and who was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, in 2004.
Defensive end Jim Marshall, who is the NFL record holder for recovered fumbles (29), and who held the NFL record for playing in 282 consecutive games (until 2005, when his record was broken by punter Jeff Feagles); 270 of those games were with the Vikings.
Defensive tackle Gary Larsen, who was replaced by Doug Sutherland in 1974.
Their motto was to "meet at the quarterback." The unit helped the Vikes to post-season appearances from 1968-71, and 1973-78. The Purple People Eaters were one of the most identifable front fours in NFL history, along with the "Steel Curtain" of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 1970s and the "Fearsome Foursome" of the Los Angeles Rams during the 1960s and early '70s.
Although the front line was the most famous unit of the Viking defense, they benefited from being surrounded by talented linebackers and defensive backs. Among the stars of the Vikings' back seven were linebackers Roy Winston, Jeff Siemon, and Wally Hilgenberg, cornerback Nate Wright, and safeties Bobby Bryant and future Hall of Famer Paul Krause.