May 27, 2011

MVP Profile: Fran Tarkenton, 1975

Quarterback, Minnesota Vikings



Age: 35
15th season in pro football, 10th with Vikings
College: Georgia
Height: 6’0” Weight: 190

Prelude:
Chosen by the expansion Vikings in the third round of the 1961 NFL draft, Tarkenton took over as starting quarterback almost immediately as a rookie and made up for lack of size and arm strength with a flashy scrambling ability and outstanding leadership qualities. Tarkenton was named to the Pro Bowl in 1964 and ’65, but friction with Head Coach Norm Van Brocklin led to his ultimately being traded to the New York Giants in 1967. He helped the Giants to overachieve while being selected to four more Pro Bowls and was traded back to the Vikings in 1972. The club won NFC Championships in 1973 and ’74, although it fell short each time in the Super Bowl, and Tarkenton was a first-team All-NFC selection of UPI and The Sporting News in ’72, a first-team All-NFL choice by NEA in 1973, and second-team All-NFC of UPI in ‘74. He was also selected to a seventh Pro Bowl in 1974.

1975 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 14 games
(Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20)

Passing
Attempts – 425 [1]
Most attempts, game – 39 at New Orleans 11/16
Completions – 273 [1]
Most completions, game – 27 at Washington 11/30
Yards – 2994 [2]
Most yards, game – 357 at Washington 11/30
Completion percentage – 64.2 [2]
Yards per attempt – 7.0 [17]
TD passes – 25 [1, tied with Joe Ferguson]
Most TD passes, game – 3 vs. Chicago 10/5, at Green Bay 11/2, at New Orleans 11/16, vs. Green Bay 12/7
Interceptions – 13 [16, tied with Bob Griese]
Most interceptions, game – 2 on five occasions
Passer rating – 91.8 [2]
300-yard passing games – 2
200-yard passing games – 9

Rushing
Attempts – 16
Most attempts, game - 2 on five occasions
Yards – 108
Most yards, game – 30 yards (on 2 carries) at Washington 11/30
Yards per attempt – 6.8
TDs – 2

Scoring
TDs – 2
Points – 12

Postseason: 1 G (NFC Divisional playoff vs. Dallas)
Pass attempts – 26
Pass completions – 12
Passing yardage – 135
TD passes – 0
Interceptions – 1

Rushing attempts – 3
Rushing yards – 32
Average gain rushing – 10.7
Rushing TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: AP, PFWA, NEA, Bert Bell Award
NFL Offensive Player of the Year: AP
NFC Player of the Year: Sporting News
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, NEA, Pro Football Weekly
1st team All-NFC: AP, UPI, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News
Pro Bowl

Vikings went 12-2 to finish first in NFC Central with best record in conference. Lost NFC Divisional playoff to Dallas Cowboys (17-14).

Aftermath:
Tarkenton had one last Pro Bowl season in 1976 and the Vikings won the NFC title again, but lost in the Super Bowl. The durable scrambler lost five games to injury in ’77, but in 1978 he led the NFL in attempts (572), completions (345), yards (3468), and, less fortunately, in interceptions (32). He retired after that year as the NFL career leader in multiple passing categories including yards (47,003) and TD passes (342). Tarkenton also was the career rushing leader for quarterbacks (3674) at the time. His #10 was retired by the Vikings and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1986.

--

MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).

[Updated 2/15/14]