Former Viking Nelson named to College Football Hall of Fame

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Former Vikings running back Darrin Nelson is 1 of 14 players to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

The entire class will be presented at the 57th National Football Foundation Awards Dinner on Dec. 9 in New York City.

According to ESPN, the class includes eight former first round picks.

The full list includes:

  1. Derrick Thomas – LB, Alabama
  2. LaDanian Tomlinson – RB, Texas Christian
  3. Sterling Sharpe – WR, South Carolina
  4. Willie Roaf – OT, Louisiana Tech
  5. Tony Boselli – OT, USC
  6. Shane Conlan – LB, Penn State
  7. Darren Nelson – RB, Stanford
  8. Dave Butz – DL, Purdue
  9. Dre' Bly – DB, North Carolina
  10. Joe Hamilton – QB, Georgia Tech
  11. John Huard – LB, Maine
  12. John Sciarra – QB, UCLA
  13. Leonard Smith – DB, McNeese State
  14. Wesley Walls – TE Ole Miss

Nelson holds the Vikings career kickoff returns record with 159. He led the team in rushing five times during his career and helped the club advance to the playoffs on five occasions.

"Darrin was probably the most popular player at Stanford in the time I've been around the school," said Nelson's former coach at Stanford, Paul Wiggin. "He was a great player, but had that magnetic personality and was such an impressive guy to be around.

During his time at Stanford, Nelson was a four-time All-Pac-10 selection (1977-1981). He was the first player in college football history to rush for more than 1,000 yards and catch 50 passes in the same season.

The 6,885 career all-purpose yards was an NCAA record by the time his career there was over and was a finalist for the 1981 Heisman Trophy.

The Vikings selected Nelson during the 1st round of the 1982 draft. He was a shifty runner and a productive receiver out of the backfield. Nelson played a big role in the Vikings offense when the team made playoff runs in 1987-89.

  • Led team in rushing 5 times – 1983, '85, '86, '87, '88
  • Led team in kickoff returns 5 times – 1983, '84, '89, '91, '92
  • Had 1,386 scrimmage yards and 7 TDs in 1986
  • Vikings' 7th-leading rusher with 4,231 yards on 981 attempts

During his 11-year NFL career Nelson played for the Vikings and San Diego Chargers. He is currently an associate athletics director at UC-Irvine.

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