MINNEAPOLIS — Joey Browner’s memories of the Metrodome often lead to the rock-hard AstroTurf when he played for the Minnesota Vikings.
He’ll get a new memory in the Metrodome’s final season when Minnesota makes Browner the 21st member of the team’s Ring of Honor this season.
The Vikings announced Friday before their first preseason game that Browner will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor on Oct. 27 at halftime of the Sunday night football game against the Green Bay Packers. Browner, a six-time Pro-Bowl safety, is fifth all-time in team history with 1,098 combined tackles on defense and special teams.
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Browner, a first-round draft choice by Minnesota in the 1983 draft, played his first season with the team in the second year of the Metrodome.
“The AstroTurf was a rock at that time,” Browner said Friday when asked about some of his memories of his playing days.
Browner will join Fran Tarkenton, Alan Page, Jim Finks, Bud Grant, Paul Krause, Fred Zamberletti, Jim Marshall, Ron Yary, Korey Stringer, Mick Tinglehoff, Carl Eller, Cris Carter, Bill Brown, Jerry Burns, Randall McDaniel, Chuck Foreman, John Randle, Scott Studwell, Chris Doleman and Matt Blair in the Ring of Honor.
“Ring of Honor is something that is very special because there’s very few of us in there,” said Browner, who noted it was extra special the announcement was made Friday with the Houston Texans in town with his nephew, Keith Browner, a defensive end for Houston.
Browner is second to Krause in games played by a defensive back in team history with 138. Browner’s 9.5 sacks are the most by a defensive back in team history and his 37 interceptions rank fourth.
Like many of the stout Minnesota Vikings’ defenses of the past, Browner lamented the league’s constant rule changes and said “they wouldn’t be able to play with me.”
“You could play football back then,” Browner said. “Now there’s a rule for everything. You can’t use your hands, you can’t do this. The horse-collar was my signature tackle, so I’d get fined for every time I’d do it. But I’d still do it because I have to put my hands on somebody.”
He said it’s not just the rules of the game that has changed but also the money and merchandising.
“I was in Atari first and then Nintendo,” Browner said.
Browner is still in the Twin Cities and spends his time with the Joey Browner Foundation, which is designed to help young kids prepare and get the most out of school.