January 1, 2016

Highlighted Year: Bobby Bryant, 1973

Cornerback, Minnesota Vikings

Age: 29
7th season in pro football (6th active) & with Vikings
College: South Carolina
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 170

Bryant received All-Atlantic Coast Conference recognition in both football and baseball in college. He was chosen by the Vikings in the seventh round of the 1967 NFL draft but, due to the effects of a lingering knee injury suffered during his senior year at South Carolina, appeared in only one preseason game and missed all of the ’67 regular season. He was a reserve in the defensive backfield in 1968, intercepting two passes and returning one for a TD, and also returned kicks. Bryant moved into the starting lineup at right cornerback in ’69 and was outstanding, intercepting 8 passes, until sidelined by a knee injury. He continued to perform well in injury-shortened seasons in 1970 and ’71 and, through 1972, had intercepted 20 passes.

1973 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Interceptions – 7 [3, 1st in NFC]
Most interceptions, game – 3 at Green Bay 12/8
Int. return yards – 105 [13]
Most int. return yards, game – 86 (on 3 int.) at Green Bay 12/8
Int. TDs – 1 [3, tied with many others]
Fumble recoveries – 0

Punt Returns
Returns – 25 [12, tied with Lemar Parrish & Donnie Walker]
Yards – 140
Most yards, game – 33 (on 5 ret.) vs. Green Bay 9/30
Average per return – 5.6
TDs – 0
Longest return – 16 yards

Postseason: 3 G
Interceptions – 2
Int. return yards – 63
Fumble recoveries – 2
TDs – 1

Punt returns – 3
Punt return yards – 3
Punt return avg. – 1.0
TDs – 0
Longest return – 3 yards

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-NFC: Pro Football Weekly
2nd team All-NFC: UPI

Vikings went 12-2 to finish first in the NFC Central while leading the conference in fewest points allowed (168). Won NFC Divisional playoff over Washington Redskins (27-20) and NFC Championship over Dallas Cowboys (27-10). Lost Super Bowl to Miami Dolphins (24-7).  

Bryant missed virtually all of the 1974 season due to injury but bounced back in ’75 to intercept six passes. Called “Bones” for his slight build, Bryant was a key playmaker in the defensive backfield when healthy despite his lack of size and ideal speed. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in both 1975 and ’76 and had an especially noteworthy performance in the NFC Championship game against the Rams in 1976 when he returned a blocked field goal attempt 90 yards for a touchdown and intercepted two passes. Bryant played a total of 13 seasons, all with the Vikings, appearing in 161 regular season games and 14 more in the postseason. He intercepted 51 passes, three of which he returned for TDs, and had another six interceptions in the playoffs. Bryant was a consensus second-team All-NFL selection once, received second-team honors from UPI after one other season, and was named to two Pro Bowls.


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970