Matt Blair to become 20th member of Vikings' Ring of Honor
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MANKATO, Minn. -- Matt Blair didn't know why the Minnesota Vikings summoned him to training camp on Monday, but the former linebacker didn't mind making the drive to find out what the team wanted.
As it turned out, the trip proved worthwhile for the former Vikings linebacker.
Blair was told by ownership that he will be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor on Oct. 25 at halftime of the Vikings game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Metrodome.
"I was very emotional, very touched by it," Blair said. "It is an honor to be a part of (this with) the other guys. It's good to be on that team."
Blair, a second-round pick by the Vikings in 1974 out of Iowa State, played in 160 career games (130 starts) for the franchise and still ranks second in team history with 1,452 tackles. Only Scott Studwell and Roy Winston played in more games as a linebacker than Blair.
Blair wasn't only known for his play at linebacker. He also holds the Vikings record with 20 blocked kicks and had two blocks in a single game three different times.
Asked about his ability to block kicks, Blair said his success in that area actually was a product of the fact he played basketball.
"My rookie year I came in and they knew I played basketball and I could slam dunk the basketball," he said. "The defensive line coach back then told me, 'Hey, Matt, come stand in the middle here and try to jump as high as you can and dunk the ball.' I said, 'OK,' and I tried it and it worked. So from that point on we continued doing it and then we had other guys come and join me.
"We had Joe Senser help me and we kind of double-teamed and jumped up and he also played basketball. That's how it started."
Blair, whose 23 sacks and 16 interceptions rank as the most by a Vikings linebacker, played on two Vikings' clubs that went to the Super Bowl. He was named to the Pro Bowl from 1977 through 1982, tying him for the fifth-most Pro Bowl berths in Vikings history.