Ron Yary joined the Minnesota Vikings as the first player chosen in the 1968 AFL-NFL Draft. His 15-season, 207-game career included 14 years with the Vikings from 1968 to 1981 and a final season with the Los Angeles Rams in 1982. Yary won the starting right tackle job on the Vikings offensive line in his second season and remained as a fixture at that spot throughout his Minnesota tenure.
The 6-5, 255-pound Yary possessed speed, agility, intelligence, aggressiveness, a hard work ethic and size – all the attributes necessary to be an outstanding offensive lineman. Yary was named All-Pro six times and All-NFC eight consecutive seasons from 1970-1977. He played in seven consecutive Pro Bowls during that period and was a major force in a Minnesota team that was highly successful throughout the 1970s.
During Yary’s tenure, the Vikings won two NFL Central Division titles and nine NFC Central championships. During that period, Minnesota won the 1969 NFL championship and NFC titles in 1973, 1974 and 1976. Yary played in five NFL/NFC championships and Super Bowls IV, VIII, IX and XI.
Yary, who was born in Chicago, Illinois, on July 16, 1946, was a two-time consensus All-America at the University of Southern California. He was the 1967 winner of both the Outland Trophy and the Knute Rockne Award, honors that annually go to the nation’s top collegiate lineman. The Vikings used a draft choice gained in the trade that sent quarterback Fran Tarkenton to the New York Giants to pick Yary No. 1 in 1968.
In addition to his many playing abilities, Yary also was durable and willing to play in spite of injuries. He missed only two games due to injuries – both coming in 1980 with a broken ankle – in 14 years in Minnesota. Later that same year, he continued to play in spite of a broken foot.