Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dennis Swilley

Sent: 12/8/11
Received: 1/6/12
Time: 29 Days
Address: Home
Item Sent: 1980 Topps, 1983 Minnesota Vikings Police
Item Received: 1980 Topps, 1983 Minnesota Vikings Police.  Both signed in black ballpoint.

Dennis Swilley spent ten years with the Vikings, and was the successor to the legendary Mick Tingelhoff at center.  He was an important second cog in what has turned out to be a truly remarkable run at the position for the Vikes.  Tingelhoff held the job from 1962 (the second season in team history) until 1978.  Swilley took over after that, and when his decade was up he passed the torch to Kirk Lowdermilk.  Lowdermilk gave way to a couple of All-Pros in Jeff Christy and Matt Birk.  And now, in 2011, John Sullivan finally stayed relatively healthy and was the lone bright spot on a porous offensive line.  Sullivan was so good, in fact, that he earned himself a five-year contract extension near the end of the season.

Back to Swilley, though... he was very good for a long time.  Since football he has taken a path not often associated with pro football players.  Dennis Swilley is a renaissance man.  He's an architect.  He's a painter and sculptor.  He's a designer.  And he's a musician who recently released his debut album, Contrasts (available at  (I haven't had a chance to listen yet myself, but may give it a shot somewhere down the line.)

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