Hall of Fame Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff dies at 81

Mick Tingelhoff, Minnesota Vikings pro football. Minneapolis Tribune photo November 15, 1970, by staff photographer Kent Kobersteen. See article page C17, Star Tribune, Sun Nov 25, 2001. ORG XMIT: MIN2013082017552746
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Mick Tingelhoff, a Vikings center who was one of the best linemen of his generation and an iron man who never missed a game in his 17-year career, has died at the age of 81.

Tingelhoff went undrafted out of Nebraska in 1962 but signed on with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent and did much more than just make the roster: He earned the starting center job in his rookie training camp and didn’t relinquish it until his retirement after the 1978 season.

In all, Tingelhoff started 240 games and never missed one, starting all 14 games every season until his last, when the NFL expanded to 16 games and he started all of those as well.

Tingelhoff was selected to six Pro Bowls and played in four Super Bowls. The Vikings retired Tingelhoff’s No. 53, and in 2015 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.