Gearing up with Gary Zimmerman
April 25, 2012, 11:26 am
The third overall pick in the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft, who had a streak of 169 consecutive starts, anchored the offensive line that helped Vikings lead NFC in rushing, a two time NFL All-Decade Team, first or second-team All-Pro honors eight times, seven time Pro Bowler, NFL Champion and Hall of Famer Gary Zimmerman joined the Morning Sports Page.
Offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman is one of just a handful of players to
earn the honor of being named to two National Football League All-Decade
Teams. His superior play earned him a spot on the NFL's 1980s
All-Decade Team even though he played just four seasons during the
decade. Following the 1999 season, he was named to the 1990s All-Decade
Team as well.
Originally selected by the New York Giants in the first round of the
1984 supplemental draft, Zimmerman's signing rights were traded to the
Minnesota Vikings for two second-round picks in the 1986 draft. Also
drafted by the Los Angeles Express of the failed United States Football
League, Zimmerman spent two seasons with the Express before reporting to
the Vikings in 1986. Gary was later acquired by the Denver Broncos in a
trade with Minnesota prior to the last preseason game of the 1993
After joining the Vikings in 1986, Zimmerman began a streak of 169
consecutive starts that lasted until 1996 when late-season shoulder
surgery sidelined him. Along the way he earned first- or second-team
All-Pro honors eight times. During the same period he was selected to
play in seven Pro Bowls.
In Minnesota, Zimmerman anchored an offensive line that helped the
Vikings lead the NFC in rushing in 1991. In Denver, with Zimmerman
blocking, the Broncos recorded their most successful offensive output in
franchise history. The Broncos led the AFC in total combined yards in
1995 and led the NFL in that category in 1996 and 1997. The team also
led the NFL in rushing in 1996.
Zimmerman was equally adept at pass blocking, as evidenced by the fact
that Minnesota and Denver quarterbacks led their conferences in passing
in 1986, 1988, 1993, and 1996.
Although Zimmerman managed to play in 169 consecutive games and a total
of 184 games during his career, he was no stranger to injury and pain.
In 1996, the durable lineman played with severe pain in both shoulders.
His consecutive game streak reluctantly came to a halt when late-season
surgery on one of his injured shoulders forced him to the sidelines.
Zimmerman's ability to persevere and his desire to play, earned him the
respect and admiration of teammates and opponents alike. Even though he
missed the final two games of the 1996 season he was still selected to
play in the Pro Bowl and was voted first-team All-Pro honors.
The OT talks with Chad about life in and out of football, his time as a
Bronco, playing with John Elway, what it was like being drafted despite
being committed to a USFL team, bounty gate, and his memories of guys in
the league like Matt Brock and Mark Schlereth.