Forgotten anniversaries, 1978: Proud 'D' turns Page

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 18, 2013 - 1:40 AM

The division champion Vikings began rebuilding by releasing a Hall of Famer.

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athunontopJun. 18, 13 2:13 PM

ah...having lived through the painful aging of a person's football idols, this brings back many memories. However, your note on Alan Page omits a key was less about the defence changing and more that Page lost ALOT of weight over the previous summer, even running a marathon. The linebackers weighed more than he did when he came to camp and as a defensive tackle, it put the Vikes in a no-win situation. He refused to put the weight back on, and was dropped. I watched him closely in Chicago and he was not a factor there at all. He made the decision and thats fine, but the Vikes made the correct call..its about winning after all.

hilgenbergJun. 18, 13 2:41 PM

Page was so skinny that Grant took him out of the game for a goal line stand. Page petulantly refused to go back into the game on the next defensive series. Grant cut him the next day; Grant had no choice.

manchuJun. 18, 13 5:27 PM

I remember the announcement of Page being cut. It was awful, he was my favorite defensive player; still is. He had dropped down to 215 in 1978, from 265 in his prime, and while he could still rush the passer, he lacked the size to stuff the run. He was also active with the NFLPA, and increasingly resentful of Vikings management. He had some good years in Chicago, but of course nothing like the Vikings years. 1978 was the end of the great Vikings era of 10 NFC Central titles in 11 years + 4 NFL/NFC Championships. Sad day, sad year.

meininggJun. 18, 13 8:10 PM

The actual decline started 1974, when Jim Finks left. We was the one that built the Vikings and later the Bears, Cubs and Saints

bruisedupJun. 19, 1312:17 AM

Because of the ages of all these players there were not many surprises at what was happening. Page had become convinced that he could do more at his position with just quickness and maybe he believed that because he was getting older. The biggest surprise to me is what happened to Chuck Foreman. He went from great to being a non-factor almost overnight when you thought he had some great years left. That's the life of a running back and we learned it then. I saw drives where the Vikings would use Foreman all the way down the field either as a runner from scrimmage or as a receiver and not even try to get the ball to another player. He was a great all-purpose back that was used a lot during the years he was with the Vikings.

fwippelJun. 19, 1311:51 AM

Page being cut was about him not being able to stop the run. Yes, he was always a great pass rusher, but a DT needs to be big enough to play the run. That had always been a weak spot in the Viking defenses of the 70's. As much as I loved Bud Grant as head coach, his failure to require weight training for his players played a role in both the OL and DL getting manhandled in Super Bowls. That said, I've always been upset with how Page has handled this since 1978. He has snubbed Grant several times, and went into the HOF as a Chicago Bear. He didn't even mention Grant in his HOF speech. And I can still remember his quote about the Super Bowls that always upset me: "The first time, I was scared. The second time, I was bored. The third time, I was even more bored, and the fourth time, I didn't care." Page is obviously a very fine person, but he needs to lose the chip on his shoulder about getting cut by the Vikings.

gadflyJun. 19, 13 4:27 PM

athunontop Jun. 18, 13 2:13 PM "I watched [Page] closely in Chicago and he was not a factor there at all." Nope, you couldn't have been watching closely, 'cuz Page actually averaged slightly more (unofficial) sacks per game as a Bear than he did as a Viking.

manchuJun. 20, 13 7:29 AM

Page did *not* go into the HOF as a Bear. From the HOF Website: "An enshrinee is not asked to 'declare,' nor does the Hall of Fame 'choose' a team under which a new member is enshrined." With that said, his portrait at the induction ceremony depicted him as a Viking and he was introduced by a Minneapolis high school principal. His official page at the HOF website also depicts him as a Viking. His HOF induction speech was a rant about social injustice; so no he didn't mention Grant, but he didn't mention *any* Viking by name.

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