So, um, statues have been in the news recently, huh?
Don’t worry, I’ve already wandered outside of my assigned sports lane once already this month, so I’ll refrain from opining on which statues should or shouldn’t be toppled and thrown into the nearest lake. If I muster any lukewarm takes along those lines, I’ll save them for their natural habitat on social media.
But I’m a fan of statues – when used to honor those worthy of commendation in some way. They are a good means of saluting individuals and celebrating history.
There has been a renewed push for a Prince statue on the grounds of the Minnesota state capitol, and as a card-carrying member of the Prince fan club, I think that would be very funky. However, a statue of him in Minneapolis would be more appropriate – perhaps outside of First Avenue or somewhere in Uptown. Or maybe both? Heck, we’ve already got a Prince statue going up in Henderson, Minn. where a famous “purification” scene from “Purple Rain” was shot, so why not multiple statues of our local genius? The more, the better, I say. He changed his look every few months so each statue could depict a different era of his Purpleness. It could be like the 60 or so statues of Peanuts characters we have in St. Paul to honor another local legend, Charles M. Schultz.
Speaking of St. Paul statues, Herb Brooks has a statue by the RiverCentre.
Mary Tyler Moore has a terrific statue in Minneapolis.
There’s even a statue of Sid Hartman and his tape recorder.
How many Paul Bunyan statues do we have in Minnesota?
All of which leads me to one very important question: where are all the Minnesota Vikings statues? I don’t think we have any in Minnesota, do we? Maybe I missed a memo, and please correct me if I’ve forgotten some, but we don’t have any Vikings statues, right?
To the best of my knowledge, the only honest-to-goodness statue of a Vikings great is the one of Bud Grant and it resides in Winnipeg outside of the Blue Bombers stadium, Investors Group Field. As you might know, Grant coached the Blue Bombers to four Grey Cup championships in the CFL between 1957 and 1966. He’s a legend in those parts.
He’s kind of a big deal in these parts as well.
If we’re going to erect statues of any Vikings, Harry Peter Grant Jr., should be the first person so honored. He’s got his pick of spots on the proverbial Mount Rushmore of Vikings greats. Heck, if ever a visage was destined to be commemorated in stone or bronze, it is the steely countenance of coach Grant.
So, why isn’t there a statue of him outside of U.S. Bank Stadium? There’s already a street named after him outside the stadium, but a statue would present a much better photo op for Vikings fans than a street sign of “Bud Grant Way.” And in this selfie-taking age, isn’t that half the appeal?
It wouldn’t be without precedent. Minnesota Twins legend Harmon Killebrew deservedly has both a street and statue in the Twin Cities. There’s Killebrew Drive outside of the Mall of America, where he used to launch mammoth home runs in its previous incarnation as Metropolitan Stadium, and there’s a statue of “Killer” near Target Field.
Speaking of which, the Twins have no shortage of statues honoring their legends. In addition to Killebrew, Target Field is surrounded by statues of Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett, Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, Calvin Griffith and Carl and Eloise Pohlad. I’m certain we’ll have a Joe Mauer statue in our near future.
Even T.C. the Bear has a bronze statue!
If the Twins can have a statue of their flippin’ mascot, the Vikings can have one of Grant and several others.
Next on my list of Vikings statue recipients would be the honorable Alan Page. The former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice and Pro Football Hall of Famer has a middle school in Minneapolis named after him. Let’s keep it going. He needs a statue as well. I can’t think of a more deserving former player, given his history of achievements, community work and accolades. I’d even double down and give him two statues – one wearing his Vikings uniform and another his judge’s robe.
Grant and Page would be a good start, but the possibilities for other statues of Vikings greats are endless: Fran Tarkenton, Jim Marshall, Carl Eller – ooh, how about a statue of the Purple People Eaters? That would get Page into a third statue. Randall McDaniel, Mick Tingelhoff, Chuck Foreman, Randy Moss, Cris Carter, John Randle, Korey Stringer… it’s a long list, folks.
We won’t get too carried away, though. I’m not calling for an army of Vikings statues across the Twin Cities as with Peanuts gang or Prince. It’s not like we’d get a statue of Keith Millard in Minnetonka outside a fast-food establishment or a Fred Smoot statue at Lake Minnetonka.
Side note: Who knew I’d have two Lake Minnetonka references in one Vikings article?
“Hey, is that a Tommy Kramer statue over there on the 494 strip in Bloomington?” Bad idea.
“Isn’t that a statue of Bob Lurtsema sitting on a bench outside a TCF Bank?” Meh.
“Is that a statue of Matt Kalil over there?” Nope, that’s just Matt Kalil.
And while we’re at it, how soon before we get statues for Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore, Cheryl Reeve, etc.? The Timberwolves apparently won’t ever give Kevin Garnett a statue (or retire his number) so let’s honor some Lynx greats.
That should be enough ideas to get us started. The ball is in your court, Vikings executives. Let’s get some statues in the works if there aren’t some being secretly planned already.