A Vikings Legend Retires

Important NFL Dates
Jan 31, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings helmets and equipment at the Super Bowl LII Experience at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier in the week, we learned that a Vikings legend will be retiring. That legend is long-time equipment manager Dennis Ryan.

The social media post from the Vikings’ Twitter account helps to capture his impact: “He started part-time work with the Vikings in 1975. Or on June 1, 1979, he joined the organization on a full-time basis. And after nearly 50 years with the club, Dennis Ryan, the longtime equipment manager and an integral piece of the franchise’s history, is retiring.”

Think about your own job, folks. Sticking around a single spot for nearly five decades – especially these days – is no small feat. Clearly, Mr. Ryan figured something out when it comes to excelling in his position.

An NFL franchise wants to distinguish itself by achieving excellence. More often than not, that’s about on-field success. There’s considerable merit, though, in having excellence permeate the entire franchise. From what I can gather, Ryan was someone who maintained the standard in his work.

Dennis Ryan, Vikings Legend

Players, current and former, were effusive in their praise.

K.J. Osborn offered his thoughts: “Nearly 50 Years Is Incredible! A True Vikings Legend! Thank You Dennis! Enjoy Retirement.” Osborn’s word choice – legend – seems pretty fitting.

Adam Thielen is similarly outgoing, thanking the equipment manager before identifying some of his most laudable characteristics: “You truly are the most humble, hardworking, caring person I know!”

2023 Thielen
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) makes a touchdown reception against the New England Patriots during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

In Eric Kendricks’ moving tribute to Minnesota in The Players’ Tribune (the one with the great Mike Zimmer story), the All-Pro linebacker makes sure he recognizes “the equipment staff” before specifically naming Dennis Ryan. He notes the commitment to “working extensive hours.”

Just think of some of the names that Ryan worked with. From 1975 onward, Ryan had the opportunity to work with Alan Page, Fran Tarkenton, Mick Tingelhoff, Ron Yary, Jim Marshall, Carl Eller, Steve Jordan, Randy Moss, Tommy Kramer, John Randle, Jake Reed, Cris Carter, Daunte Culpepper, Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Pat Williams, Antoine Winfield, Brett Favre, Percy Harvin, Steve Hutchinson, Kyle Rudolph, Everson Griffen, Harrison Smith, Eric Kendricks, Xavier Rhodes, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and some young upstart named Justin Jefferson.

Sep 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) celebrates during the third quarter against Seattle Seahawks at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

I’m surely leaving out some tremendous players, but you get the point: Ryan has helped this franchise for a long time. Someday, Minnesota will break through for a Super Bowl. Hopefully, Ryan will be able to come back to celebrate with the team.

We here are PurplePTSD send along our sincere congratulations to Mr. Dennis Ryan on a wonderful career. Enjoy your retirement.