Carl Eller
Personal Information
Defensive End
Jersey #(s)
Born: January 25 1942 (1942-01-25) (age 77) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, U.S., in
Died: , in
Career information
Year(s) 19641979
NFL Draft 1964 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6
NFL Supplemental Draft / Pick:
College Minnesota
Professional teams
Career stats
Sacks 133½
Games played 225
Safeties 1
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

Carl Eller (born January 25, 1942) is a former professional American football player in the National Football League who played from 1964 through 1979. He was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and attended the University of Minnesota. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

College careerEdit

At the University of Minnesota Eller joined Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, via the Mu Chapter while at the University of Minnesota.[1]

As a sophomore, Eller helped lead the Gophers to a Rose Bowl victory. While Eller shared the starting position as a sophomore he became a full-time, two-way player as a junior and senior and was voted All-America both years. During his time in college the Gophers were National Champions as well as Big Ten champions. As a senior (1963) Eller was the runner-up for the Outland Trophy. Following each football season, the Carl Eller Award is given to the University of Minnesota's Defensive Player of the Year. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

NFL careerEdit

In 1964 Eller was drafted in the first round of the NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings and also drafted in the first round of the American Football League Draft by the Buffalo Bills, who could not sign him. As the left defensive end in the Vikings front four, he was a major factor in the unit known as the "Purple People Eaters".

Starting in 1968, Eller's fifth campaign, Minnesota won 10 Central Division titles in the next 11 seasons. The Vikings won the 1969 NFL championship and NFC crowns in 1973, 1974, and 1976 and Eller was one of 10 Vikings to play in all four of their Super Bowls, all losses.

He was selected to play in six Pro Bowls (1968–1971, 1973, and 1974). After being traded with an eighth round pick to Seattle Seahawks for defensive tackle Steve Niehaus, Eller played his final season in 1979 with the Seattle Seahawks, where he ran his career total to 225 games. In his career, "Moose" only missed three games and started 209 out of the 225 he played.

Eller is credited as the Vikings all-time sack leader with 130½.[2] He also had 3 sacks with Seahawks in 1979 for a career total of 133½. He set career-high 15 sacks in 1969 and then matched that total in 1977, also to his credit 7 seasons with 10 or more sacks.[3]

Eller was First-team All-NFL from 1968–71, and again in 1973. He was also Second-team All-Pro in 1967 and 1972 and was All-NFC by AP and The Sporting News in 1975. Matched with his Pro Bowls, Eller had a nine-year consecutive streak with some sort of post-season honor which began in 1967 with his Second-team All-pro selection and ended in 1975 with his All-NFC honors.

He was voted the George S. Halas Trophy in 1971 as the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year as awarded by the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA).[4]

Honors in RetirementEdit

In 2004, Eller was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[5]

In 2000, Eller was named to the Vikings' 40th Anniversary Team and in 2010 he was named to the Vikings 50th Anniversary team.

Life After FootballEdit

As a licensed drug and alcohol counselor, Eller founded a group of substance-abuse clinics in the Twin Cities called Triumph Life Centers in 1986. He obtained a college degree in Human Services from Metropolitan State University in 1994 and went on to work for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, addressing issues of health disparities between white people and people of color.[6]

From 1997 to 2001 Eller collaborated with Craig M. Rosenblum on Carl Eller's Viking News, on the frontier of online sports journalism by and for fans in Minnesota.

On February 27, 2006, he was arrested for DUI.

On April 10, 2008, he was arrested for fourth-degree assault on police officers, fleeing police in a motor vehicle, refusing to take an alcohol test and driving while intoxicated. He was sentenced to 60 days in the county workhouse beginning on February 23, 2009, to be followed by 60 days of electronic home monitoring and a $3,000 fine.[7]

Eller has previously acknowledged personal problems with substance abuse, and he has spoken openly and publicly to groups about the problems of chemical dependency.

Eller is the President of the Retired Players Association (RPA), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing powerful national advocacy and collegial support for retired professional football players, their families and the community at large.[8]

Eller continues to be active in retirement working on charitable fundraising events with the Minnesota Vikings and the Pro Football Hall of Fame and other causes. He remains an active member of his North Minneapolis community.

Films and TelevisionEdit

  • Busting (1974) as a huge black man
  • The Black Six (1974) as Jr. Bro Williams
  • The Fall Guy pilot (1981) as Tony
  • Taggert


  1. Greeks in Football
  2. Ring of Honor
  4. Pro Football Hall of Fame website
  5. ibid
  6. Carl Eller Takes a Stand, University of Minnesota Alumni Association, July–August 2005
  7. Former Viking Eller Sentenced to Workhouse Yahoo Sports, February 23, 2009
  8. [1] Canton Rep, August 2010

External linksEdit

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