Oklahoma Sooners in the NFL

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The University of Oklahoma got its start in 1892 in Norman, Oklahoma, and its football program started soon after (1895). The Sooner football program has led to the most wins nationwide in the modern era (1946 and later), seven national championships, 46 conference titles (tied for first in the country), a 47-game winning streak in the ’50s (an NCAA record), and the most points scored in the country (also a first place spot).

So it’s no surprise the Sooners show up in the NFL fairly often. They’ve contributed over 370 draft picks, including three No. 1 overall picks (Sam Bradford, Billy Sims, and Lee Roy Selmon), 59 Sooners who have appeared in the Big Game, 81 who have been elected to the Pro Bowl – and with that kind of output, it’s not too far of a stretch to imagine that in the future, more Sooners may make an impact in the NFL.

Let’s take a look at the former Oklahoma Sooners players who are currently in the NFL.

From Oklahoma to the NFL

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There are 33 former Oklahoma Sooners in the NFL, and all but two are active. At the top, the Washington Redskins have four former Sooners on their roster: Trent Williams, Tress Way, Samaje Perine, and Stacy McGee. The Dolphins have three: Damien Williams, Kenny Stills, and Jordan Phillips.

Several teams have two former Oklahoma players: the Bengals, for example, with Joe Mixon and Jordan Evans; the Cowboys with Charles Tapper and James Hanna; the Broncos with Donald Stephenson and Corey Nelson; the Vikings with Sam Bradford and Bell Blake; the Buccaneers with Gerald McCoy and Devante Bond; and the Cardinals with Jermaine Gresham and now, Adrian Peterson.

Plenty of teams have one former Oklahoma player on their team as well, such as Tony Jefferson on the Baltimore Ravens squad, Aaron Ripkowski with the Green Bay Packers, Sterling Shepard with the New York Giants, and James Winchester with the Kansas City Chiefs.

One of the most well-known Sooners on this list is Sam Bradford. Bradford was a standout quarterback at Oklahoma, as he was a prolific passer from the start, tossing 363 yards and three touchdowns in his first game (and broke a school record for most yards in a half while he was at it). Bradford went on to win the Heisman Trophy his sophomore year after amassing 4,720 yards and 50 touchdowns in 2008. He ultimately went No. 1 overall in the 2010 draft, and while injuries have plagued his professional career, he has thrown over 3,000 yards four times and earned the Rookie of the Year award his first season.

Sam is suited up. #MINvsCHI

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His former teammate, DeMarco Murray, is also a pretty well-known former Sooner. He too made a big splash in his collegiate debut alongside Bradford and was drafted by Dallas in the third round of the 2011 draft. Murray spent his first four seasons with the Cowboys and earned the rushing title in 2014 with 1,845 rushing yards. After spending one season in Philadelphia, he’s pounding the rock for his second season in Tennessee. He’s been selected to two Pro Bowls so far.

He's not done yet. #TitanUp ⚔️

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Adrian Peterson played for Oklahoma before Bradford and Murray did, but he’s also one of the best known former Sooners currently playing in the NFL. Peterson was drafted No. 7 overall by Minnesota in 2007 and spent a solid decade running the ball there (and nabbed the rushing title three times – once for over 2,000 yards). He was the league MVP in 2012 and has been selected to seven Pro Bowls. Peterson currently plays in the backfield for the Arizona Cardinals.

Debut in the Desert.

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Boomer Sooner

It’s always a blast watching young players develop during their college years, and it’s definitely exciting to see who drafts them when draft day rolls around each year. If you’ve been following the likes of Sam Bradford and Adrian Peterson since those early days, or you’re watching and waiting for the current crop of Oklahoma players to develop and find their way into the NFL, you’re in luck – Fanatics has a huge selection of collegiate swag as well as a ton of authentic NFL gear, so be sure to hook yourself up before heading to the stadium.

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The Evolution of the Minnesota Vikings Jersey

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The Minnesota Vikings kicked things off as an expansion team in 1960, and first took the field for their season opener in 1961. It all began, however, when a group of five businessmen were granted a franchise in the newly formed AFL in 1959. The Vikes would forfeit their AFL membership the following year to become the NFL’s 14th franchise.

Vikings’ Origins

Bert Rose, the team’s first general manager, recommended “Vikings” as the team name to the board of directors because it encompassed the “…Nordic tradition in the northern Midwest” and, of course, the will to win! The board accepted Rose’s suggestion, marking the beginning of their marketing and the creation of the fan-favorite fight song, “Skol Vikings.” The Vikings set themselves apart from the rest of the league by becoming the first franchise in professional sports to feature the home state, not the city, in the team name.

The men in purple have kept to a simple white, purple, and gold theme for their team colors and jerseys. The Norseman logo has been a part of the team since it got its start in the early ‘60s, and has received only minor modifications over the years “to give it a more natural and defined look.” Consisting of a clean, classic color scheme and logo design, the team’s jersey has been nearly unchanged over the past half century.

Victory in Valhalla

Nestled in downtown Minnesota, the U.S. Bank Stadium became the Vikings’ new home as of mid-year 2016. Lighting up the Minnesota skyline, these grounds serve as the ideal turf for fans looking to enjoy some gridiron greatness. With a final seating capacity of more than 66,000, the entire stadium is sold out for the 2016 season – giving the team a sound opportunity to establish a prominent home-field advantage.

Currently a part of the NFC North, the Vikings have been at the top of their division since their inception into the league. The Vikings are known for providing their fans with unforgettable moments and have appeared in four Super Bowls (1969, 1973, 1974, and 1976). Only four other NFL franchises have played in more Super Bowl match-ups than the Vikings, and just one team has appeared in more playoff games: The Dallas Cowboys.

The Vikings have also had their fair share of superstars on their roster, including Hall of Famers Fran Tarkenton and Chris Carter, as well as exceptional players like Adrian Peterson.

Read on to see how the #MinnesotaVikings have shaped their white, purple, and gold color scheme throughout their time in the NFL.

Notable Jersey Changes

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1961: The team’s inaugural jersey is purple and features white and gold stripes on the sleeves. The numbers are white with a gold outline. This look serves as the basis for many future jerseys to come.

1968: A new addition is made to the rotation: A home jersey that utilizes a simplistic design. The jersey features a plain purple base with white numbers. The gold outline and striping are removed.

1969: Commemorating the NFL’s 50th anniversary, the team adds an official patch to the left shoulder.

1970: The Vikings add nameplates to the back of the jerseys, a trend that has been adopted by every team in the NFL today.

1985: Maintaining the traditional look, the Vikings add a patch commemorating their 25th season.

1994: The team once again honors the NFL by adding a diamond-shaped patch representing the league’s 75th anniversary.

1996: The team adds their beloved logo design – the Norseman head – to both sleeves of the jersey.

2000: Keeping up with their tradition, the team adds yet another patch to represent their 40th anniversary.

2006: The first major change appears on the team’s home uniforms. A white stripe, outlined in gold, runs from the shoulders and down the sides. The team name is added above the numbers, and a new form of stripe is added to the pants along with the Norseman logo.

2010: For the Vikings’ 50th anniversary, a viking ship patch is added to the chest – commemorating Minnesota natives with deep Scandinavian roots.

2012: As part of a league-wide redesign with Nike, the Vikings get new jerseys featuring their traditional look. The collar and leg stripe are changed slightly.

2013: The jersey is updated with a more modern look. The broad white side stripe is replaced with thinner gold and white stripes at the base of the sleeves. Also, the pant details are replaced with simpler purple and gold full-length stripes.

2016 Color Rush: For the Vikings’ Thursday night game against the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 1, the team will feature a special Nike Color Rush uniform. Both the jersey and pants are solid purple with gold accents.

Queue the fight song: “V-I-K-I-N-G-S, Skol Vikings, Let’s Go!” The next time you’re at U.S. Bank Stadium, be prepared to cheer on the #VikingsNation. Head over to Fanatics for all of your Vikings essentials – they’ve got you covered, because someone has to.

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Harrison Smith (Vikings) Opens Up About His Sports Fandom

Harrison Smith is on quite a roll. His Minnesota Vikings are 5-0 heading into Week 7. He’s the leader of their vaunted defense’s secondary. He took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about Harrison Smith, the sports fan.

Smith is coming off his first Pro Bowl selection last season, prompting the Vikings to sign him to an extension in the offseason that made him one of the highest paid safeties in the NFL. Many insiders consider him the best at his position in the game.

The Vikings front office will tell you none of this is a surprise to them. It’s why they drafted him in the first round back in 2012. And the 27 year old is not a Cinderella story – he played four seasons at powerhouse Notre Dame in South Bend. But if you think of Harrison Smith as just a football player, you’re shortchanging him.

In high school in Knoxville, Tennessee, Smith excelled on offense as both a running back and receiver and on defense. He was named the Gatorade Football Player of the Year in Tennessee in 2006. He also played basketball and competed as a jumper on the track team, where he won multiple state championships. He was rated a four-star recruit late in high school, and received scholarship offers from some of the nation’s biggest programs, including Notre Dame and his hometown University of Tennessee. He chose Notre Dame despite growing up a Vols fan, which he discusses:

“Growing up, it wasn’t Notre Dame; it was the University of Tennessee. I grew up watching Peyton Manning, Al Wilson on defense … there was a ton of greats that came through Tennessee when I was young and I got to watch them and be a fan of them.”

But Smith is quick to draw the line in the sand:

“If Notre Dame and Tennessee matched up in a bowl game now? No question. Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 100%, no hesitation.”

The multisport star was also quick to throw some love at some perhaps unexpected programs at his alma mater, saying, “I went to Notre Dame, so just a fan of everything they do. They’ve always got a good lacrosse team, good men’s and women’s soccer, softball … so they kind of have it all so it’s fun to watch.”

Smith is also a fan of playing in a market where all the major sports are represented.

“Being in Minnesota and having a team in every sport – you’ve got the Wild, the Twins, the T-Wolves – being a fan of each of those and being able to support those guys is awesome.”

And proving once and for all that Harrison Smith is all of us, when asked if he could trade places with any professional athlete in the world, he had this to say:

“I’d have to go with Cristiano Ronaldo. You know, they’ve kind of got it all because the whole world is watching them.”

We don’t know about the whole world, but we’re sure the number of people watching Smith play will only continue to grow. You can shop for all the best Harrison Smith and Vikings gear at Fanatics.