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"I scramble because I’m good at it, because I can twist and dodge those big pass rushers better than most guys and we get a lot of touchdowns that way."
(Georgia)...6'0'', 190...Francis Asbury Tarkenton. . .Almost instant star with four TD passes, first game, 1961. . .Moved to New York (1967), back to Vikings (1972) in stunning trades. . .At retirement led lifetime passers in attempts (6,467), completions (3,686), yards (47,003), touchdowns (342). . .Exciting, elusive scrambler. . . Rushed for 3,674 yards, 32 TDs. . .Led Vikings to three Super Bowls. . .Two-time All-NFL. . .Pro Bowl selection nine times. . . Born February 3, 1940, in Richmond, Virginia.
Fran Tarkenton's career as a National Football League quarterback started with the fledgling Minnesota Vikings in 1961, took him to the New York Giants in 1967, and then back to the Vikings in 1972.
In Minnesota's first game ever, the rookie from Georgia came off the bench to fire four touchdown passes and run for a fifth in a big upset of the Chicago Bears. For the next 18 seasons, the 6-0, 190-pound field leader never let up in his relentless quest of yardage and touchdowns.
At the time of his retirement, Fran owned every significant passing record – 3,686 pass completions, 47,003 passing yards, and 342 touchdowns. But particularly in his early years, Tarkenton attracted widespread attention as an exciting scrambler who took plays from sideline to sideline. Add his 3,674 yards rushing to his stunning passing totals and you have 50,677 yards – almost 29 miles or 500 football fields – of offensive progression. Yet Tarkenton was also a "quality" passer as his 80.4 passing rating that placed him in the upper echelon in that category demonstrates.
Tarkenton was a No. 3 draft pick of the 1961 Vikings. He became the starting quarterback early in his rookie season and continued his outstanding performances for the next six seasons. But in 1967, he was sent to the New York Giants in a trade that netted the Vikings two No. 1 and two No. 2 draft picks over a three-year period.
Five seasons later, Fran came back to Minnesota in another massive swap that cost the Vikings two veterans, a rookie and two high draft picks. In Fran's final seven years with the Vikings (1972-1978), he led Minnesota to six NFC Central Division titles and three Super Bowl appearances. He was named first- or second-team All-NFL three times and selected to play in nine Pro Bowls during his career.
Full Name: Francis Asbury Tarkenton
Birthdate: February 3, 1940
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia
High School: Athens (GA)
Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: January 25, 1986
Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: August 2, 1986
Presenter: Max Winter, Minnesota Vikings President
Other Members of Class of 1986: Paul Hornung, Ken Houston, Willie Lanier, Doak Walker
Pro Career: 18 Seasons, 246 games
Drafted: 3rd round (29th player overall) in 1961 NFL Draft by Minnesota Vikings. Also selected in 5th round of 1961 AFL Draft by Boston Patriots.
Transactions: March 8, 1967 – Tarkenton traded by Minnesota Vikings to New York Giants in exchange for four draft picks 1st round, 1967 (Clint Jones, HB, Michigan State, 2nd overall); 2nd round, 1967 (Bob Grim, HB, Oregon State, 28th overall); 1st round, 1968 (Ron Yary, T, Southern California, 1st overall); and player to be named which turned into 2nd round, 1969 (Ed White, G, California, 39th overall). | January 27, 1972 – Tarkenton traded by New York Giants to Minnesota Vikings in exchange for QB Norm Snead, WR Bob Grim, RB Vince Clements, and two draft picks – 1st round, 1972 (Larry Jacobson, DE, Nebraska, 24th overall) and 2nd round, 1973 (Brad Van Pelt, LB, Michigan State, 40th overall).
Uniform Number: 10