EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Waiting for a possible call to the Pro Football Hall of Fame hasn’t preoccupied former Minnesota Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff. When the preliminary call came on Wednesday, Tingelhoff was hard to be reached.
Eventually, a member of the Vikings’ staff reached Tingelhoff "in the hills" of South Dakota and Fred Zamberletti, the team historian and former athletic trainer during Tingelhoff’s playing career, was able to break the news to the seven-time All-Pro center.
Tingelhoff, after years of waiting following a career that ended in 1978 which saw him start each of his 240 games, is one step closer to being in the Hall of Fame. Tingelhoff was named the senior committee nominee Wednesday for the Hall of Fame Class of 2015.
"He knew it would be nice, but he never felt that he was being slighted," Zamberletti said. "He wasn’t that kind of a guy. Tingelhoff had a lot of humility but tougher than nails."
His tougher-than-nails attitude helped define a career that stretched 17 seasons with the Vikings. Undrafted out of Nebraska, Tingelhoff earned a starting job as a rookie and never missed a game or start in his career. He started four Super Bowls with Minnesota and was selected to six Pro Bowls.
"Mick was my center, my roommate and my best friend. No one more deserving. @Vikings #HOF #LetMickIn #SKOL," Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton tweeted Wednesday.
Tingelhoff will join 15 modern-era finalists and two contributor finalists when the Hall of Fame’s selection meeting is held on Jan. 31, 2015, the day before the Super Bowl. Tingelhoff advances to a singular vote from the selection committee to see if he reaches the 80 percent threshold for all finalists.
Zamberletti witnessed first-hand the toughness Tingelhoff brought to the Vikings. Zamberletti recalled the training camp days when Tingelhoff would be the only center for long practices
"We would bring in other centers to back him up," Zamberletti said. "They were always hurt. So Tingelhoff had to take it all every year."
Zamberletti also witnessed Tingelhoff play through injuries.
"I saw him play with a separated shoulder," Zamberletti said. "The doctor was leaving on a trip to the orient and he said, ‘No way Tingelhoff will play this week.’ And he did.’ . . . He was a good leader and he led by example; hard worker, undrafted, and everything that you’d ever want in a player. He sort of got lost in the shadows because of the Super Bowl losses and that’s where a lot of the Vikings got shut out. We still did OK. We had quite a few guys in."
And now Tingelhoff will have his chance to join them.
Greenway dealing with wrist injury: Linebacker Chad Greenway was limited in practice Wednesday as he deals with a sore right wrist. Greenway said it was the same wrist he broke last season.
"Obviously when I had the issue with it last year it makes it a little more wanting to take care of it," Greenway said after practice. "I know what it was like to go through the entire season last year with it. So don’t want to get into that again. I think we did a good job of taking it all out and getting it taken care of."
Greenway still participated in linebacker drills and defensive install, but was held out of the full-team periods. He said he expects to be back at practice Thursday.
"I fully expect to be back and ready to roll," Greenway said.
Greenway never had surgery on the broken wrist, instead letting it heal on its own. Coach Mike Zimmer said holding back Greenway on Wednesday was precautionary.
"It’s not a big deal," Zimmer said. "He’s been MRIed and X-rayed. I just don’t want to irritate it more."
Linebackers Gerald Hodges (left leg) and Brandon Watts (lower leg) were held out of Wednesday’s practice, as was cornerback Jabari Price (undisclosed). Defensive tackle Linval Joseph is still out as he recovers from a gun-shot wound suffered on Aug.9.
Running back Adrian Peterson was away from the team for personal reasons, according to Zimmer.