9 Best Football Players in Minnesota of All Time

John Rizzo

Minnesota has a long and proud history when it comes to football. From the high school level to the professional level, the state has been home to some of the best football players of all time.

From legendary quarterbacks to record-breaking running backs, Minnesota has produced some of the most iconic players in NFL history. In this article, we will be looking at some of the best football players to come out of Minnesota.

We will be examining their accomplishments and discussing why they are considered among the best football players Minnesota has ever produced.

1. Bronko Nagurski

Bronislau “Bronko” Nagurski was one of the most influential and successful athletes of all time. He was born in Canada but moved to the United States to pursue a career in professional American football.

As a fullback and offensive tackle, Nagurski was renowned for his strength and size, leading him to become one of the most successful players in the National Football League. Nagurski also had a successful career as a professional wrestler, culminating in him being recognized as a multiple-time World Heavyweight Champion.

He was a master at taking advantage of his size and strength, often intimidating his opponents and dominating the ring. His skill and success in both sports made him a legend in his time. Nagurski’s influence can still be seen today.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame, among other honors. His legacy continues to inspire athletes and fans alike, and his name is one that will never be forgotten.

2. Tony Nelson

Anthony James Nelson was a Welsh professional footballer who was born in Wales and played in the Football League for Newport County and Bournemouth as a center-half.

His father, Jimmy Nelson, was also a professional footballer who was born in Scotland and brought up in Northern Ireland.

Despite his father’s roots, Jimmy Nelson eventually settled in Wales and it was there that Anthony James Nelson was born and raised. Anthony James Nelson’s father, Jimmy Nelson, was a highly successful footballer in his own right.

He began his career in Scotland and was eventually signed by the Northern Irish club, Glentoran. During his time there, he was part of the team that won the Irish Cup in 1958-59.

After that, he moved to Wales and continued his successful career with Newport County and Bournemouth. Jimmy Nelson’s influence on the career of his son, Anthony James Nelson, was evident.

Not only did he instill in him a love of the game, but he also provided an example of how to succeed in it.

Jimmy Nelson’s success in the league and his experience of playing in Wales provided Anthony James Nelson with the guidance and motivation he needed to become a professional footballer. Anthony James Nelson followed in his father’s footsteps and began his own career in the Football League.

He was signed by Newport County in 1980 and went on to make over 150 appearances during his time there. He then moved to Bournemouth in 1986 and made over 100 appearances for them.

In total, he made over 250 appearances in the Football League during his career. Anthony James Nelson was an important figure in Welsh football during his playing days.

He was a key part of the Newport County team which went on to be promoted to the second tier of English football in 1986. He was also part of the Bournemouth team which won the Football League Trophy in 1990.

Throughout his career, he made a significant contribution to Welsh football and is remembered fondly by fans of the game.

3. Gino Cappelletti

Gino Raymond Michael Cappelletti was an impressive figure in the world of professional football. He was born on March 23, 1934 and attended the University of Minnesota, where he was a star college football player.

After college, he was drafted by the Boston Patriots in the American Football League and went on to have an illustrious career with the team. He was an All-Star for the Patriots and won the 1964 AFL Most Valuable Player Award.

During his career, he held team records for most points scored, most field goals made, and most touchdowns scored. Cappelletti retired from professional football in 1970 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

He was a true pioneer in the sport, and his efforts were instrumental in the success of the American Football League. His accomplishments will continue to be remembered for years to come.

4. Jim Carter

James Charles Carter was an influential figure in the National Football League for eight years. He began his football career during his high school years at South Saint Paul High School and went on to play college football for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

He then continued his successful career by playing as a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers from 1970 to 1978. During that time, Carter was known as a powerful defensive player and a leader on the field. His presence on the team was an important factor in the Packers’ success.

He was often seen as the one who brought the team together and provided a solid defensive presence in the NFL. After his retirement, Carter has been recognized for his ability to motivate and bring teams together.

He is still a prominent figure in the NFL and his legacy will live on for years to come.

5. Ernie Nevers

Ernest Alonzo Nevers was an exceptionally talented athlete. He was nicknamed “Big Dog” due to his large size and strength. He was a successful football and baseball player, as well as a successful football coach. Nevers was born in Aurora, Minnesota in 1902.

He attended high school in Superior, Wisconsin, where he excelled in both football and baseball. After graduating, he continued to pursue his passion for sports and attended Stanford University.

He was the star running back on Stanford’s football team and soon became one of the best players in the nation. In 1926, Nevers signed a contract to play professional football for the Duluth Eskimos.

He played with the team for two years, during which time he was considered one of the best players in professional football. He was even named the league’s most valuable player in 1926. In addition to playing football, Nevers also played professional baseball for the St.

Louis Browns in 1927. He had a short stint with the team but was forced to retire due to an injury. Upon retiring from professional sports, Nevers took up a career in coaching. He coached at several universities, including Stanford, and had a successful career in the NFL.

He served as an assistant coach for the Chicago Cardinals and was named head coach of the Cardinals in 1940. Ernest Alonzo Nevers was a remarkable athlete and coach.

He was known as the “Big Dog” due to his large size and strength, and he was a major part of the football and baseball scenes of the early- to mid-20th century. He will always be remembered for his success on the field and as a coach.

6. Michael Floyd

Michael Floyd Jr. is a highly accomplished former American football wide receiver. He had an impressive college career playing for the University of Notre Dame from 2008 to 2011. Floyd was a standout player for the Irish and left a lasting legacy on the program.

He holds every single school record for a wide receiver, with 271 catches for 3,686 yards and 37 touchdowns. His remarkable college years earned him recognition from the National Football League, and he was drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Floyd had a successful professional career, playing for the Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, and the New Orleans Saints. His impressive career achievements make him an inspiration to aspiring wide receivers everywhere.

7. George Faust

George John Faust was a professional American football player who had a brief but successful stint in the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted in the sixth round of the 1939 NFL Draft by the Chicago Cardinals.

During his only season on the team, he earned praise for his skill and athleticism, making a name for himself in the NFL. Faust was a versatile player who could play almost any position on the field.

He was a fierce competitor and was known for his hard-hitting tackles and impressive passing skills. He was also an explosive player who had the ability to make big plays when needed.

His contributions to the team were invaluable, helping them to compete against the tougher teams in the league. Unfortunately, Faust’s career in the NFL was cut short due to injuries. After just one season with the Chicago Cardinals, he was forced to retire.

Despite the brevity of his career, Faust made his mark in the NFL and is remembered as a talented player who could have had a much longer career had it not been for his unfortunate injuries.

8. Stan Kostka

Stanislaus Clarence Kostka was a true football legend. He was a player and coach for the University of Minnesota and is best known for being part of the historic 1934 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team, which won a national championship.

During his college playing career, Kostka was a standout defensive back and helped lead the Golden Gophers to an undefeated season. He was also a respected coach, leading the University of Minnesota to several successful seasons before eventually retiring.

Kostka was widely praised for his leadership and toughness on the field and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989.

His legacy lives on to this day, as he is remembered as one of the most influential football players and coaches in the University of Minnesota’s history.

9. Errol Mann

Errol Denis Mann was an integral part of the National Football League for a decade, from 1968 to 1978. He played as a placekicker and was part of the Oakland Raiders’ Super Bowl XI-winning team.

Mann was known to use the straight-on style when attempting kicks, a technique that was the standard method used at the time. This style of kicking involves the kicker standing at a right angle to the ball, with their feet in a straight line, and kicking the ball with the toe.

The straight-on style was preferred by many due to its power and accuracy, and Mann used this style to great success throughout his career.

Mann’s skill and success as a placekicker helped the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl victory, and his legacy continues to live on in the NFL today.


Minnesota has some of the best football players in the nation. From the Vikings to the University of Minnesota, the talent level of football players from the state is undeniable.

With players like Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, Harrison Smith, and Anthony Harris, Minnesota has some of the best players in the league. Minnesota football players are known for their hard work and dedication to the game, and their success is a reflection of that.

Whether you’re a fan of the Vikings or the Gophers, you can be sure that Minnesota has some of the best football players in the nation.

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John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn