Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now




Multi-Purpose Star Chuck Foreman

Posted on October 17, 2013 by Dean Hybl
Chuck Foreman

Chuck Foreman

Had Fantasy Football been popular when the October Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was in the NFL, this dual threat running back would have annually been one of the top picks and fantasy producers.

During seven seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Chuck Foreman was one of the most explosive offensive players in the NFL. Whether running the football or catching a Fran Tarkenton pass, Foreman gave the Vikings a high-powered weapon capable of breaking a big play at any moment.

Selected with the 12th pick in the 1973 draft by a Minnesota team that had underachieved the previous season in posting a 7-7 record and missing the playoffs for the first time in five years, Foreman was an immediate difference maker.

The former Miami Hurricane rushed for 801 yards and caught passes for another 362 as the Vikings improved to a 12-2 record and made the first of back-to-back trips to the Super Bowl.

He increased his offensive production in 1974 as he scored 15 touchdowns (9 rushing, 6 receiving) and gained more than 1,300 total yards as the Vikings returned to the Super Bowl.

In 1975, Foreman matched the previous NFL record for touchdowns in a season with 22 (13 rushing, 9 receiving), but his effort was eclipsed by O.J. Simpson of the Buffalo Bills, who finished the season with 23 touchdowns.

In addition, Foreman eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing for the first of three consecutive seasons and led the NFL with 73 receptions to earn first team All-Pro honors.

Foreman rushed for a career-high 1,155 yards with 14 touchdowns in 1976 as the Vikings returned to the Super Bowl for the third time in four years.

Unfortunately, Foreman was held to 44 yards rushing and 106 total yards with no touchdowns as the Vikings lost to the Raiders 32-14.

The next season Foreman rushed for 1,112 yards and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the fifth straight year, but the Vikings lost the NFC Championship game to the Dallas Cowboys.

After rushing for 749 yards and catching 61 passes in 1978, Foreman gained only 223 yards on the ground in 12 games the following season and then completed his career with one season in New England.

Because of the physical beating taken by running backs, Foreman’s six year tenure as one of the elite runners was pretty typical of the era. That also is one of the main reasons that though he was definitely one of the top running backs of his generation, Foreman has received little consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

His career totals of 5,950 yards rushing, 350 receptions, 3,156 yards receiving and 76 touchdowns are comparable to other runners of his era and pretty strong considering most of them were achieved in just six years. They certainly would have made him a Fantasy Football favorite had the game been played during his era.

 


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