By Michael Rand
We learned a lot here. Stu?
Name: Dennis Swilley
Claim to Fame, Minnesota: center for the Minnesota Vikings from 1977-83 and 1985-1987. Swilley was a bit of an oddball, NFL-wise, as evidenced by his (prescient) decision to spend 1984 building a house instead of playing for Les Steckel. Key Swilley quote from that article: “There’s not a whole lot of self-expression in football … there are so many rules and guidelines. You’re not creating anything new. You’re just using your athletic ability. What about the soul within you? Sometimes I hear a voice inside me calling, ‘Hey, I want to get out.’” The author does not mention if he went on to deconstruct Sartre’s No Exit with Duck White and Rick Danmeier, but it’s clear to me that he did.
Claim to Fame, Everywhere Else: spent his early offseasons with the Vikings studying art at North Texas University in the city of Denton. His presence there was so notable that his likeness was included with the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne and others in a famous-for-north-Texas mural. No, really.
Where He Is Now: is an architect and lives in New Braunfels, Texas, home of the tremendously named Schlitterbahn Waterpark.
Glorious Randomness: “The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton” by the Mountain Goats is the unlikeliest song ever to have a chorus of “Hail Satan!” It is also the bee’s knees.
Further Discussion: the Vikings have a fairly rich history of players who had unconventional (read: involved books and stuff) off-the-field interests, like Swilley, Alan Page, Robert Smith, and Tim Irwin. Jared Allen’s inevitable candidacy for governor of Iowa notwithstanding, what current Viking strikes you as the heir to this lineage?