The man who dominated the end of the line of scrimmage for so many years has reached the end of the line in his NFL career. TE Jimmy Kleinsasser, the former University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux All-American, has announced his retirement following the Vikings final game of the season Sunday vs. the Bears. Fittingly, it is a home game where his family and friends can trek down to the Cities and celebrate his stellar 13 year career – all with the Vikings.
Kleinsasser, a Carrington, ND native, was one of the most dominant players in UND history – if not the most dominant. He was the strongest and most powerful player on the field most every game but was one of the fastest at the same time. He also showed his overall athleticism in his freshman year by playing basketball for the Fighting Sioux. He was the state champion in high school in both the Shot Put and Discus and certainly could have dominated at the Division II level if he had time to pursue that also. Kleinsasser has donated generously to the University of North Dakota and also to organizations like Make-A-Wish and Special Olympics.
Kleinsasser survived 3 coaching changes with the Vikings (Green to Tice to Childress to Frazier). In this day and age that is pretty impressive because most coaches bring with them a new staff and new offensive philosophy. That often means certain players do not fit the scheme and eventually get shuffled off. The thing about Jim is he fit every scheme. There isn’t an offensive coordinator out there who doesn’t want a dominant force on the end of the line to set the edge. Anybody who watched Vikings games over the last 13 years knows how dominant he was, whether it was vs. a defensive end or linebacker.
His loyalty to the Vikings is one of the things that endears him most to Vikes fans. In 2009, he had multiple offers that were all much more lucrative than the Vikings offered and yet he still chose to stay in Minneapolis. He chose to stay with the team that took a chance on him in 1999 by trading up to get him. He chose to keep his family rooted in the Twin Cities rather than force them to move to Detroit or New York for a few more bucks.
There were a few quotes from the articles we listed below that summed up the career of the man that is Jimmy Kleinsasser:“Oh man, I love Jimmy,” receiver Percy Harvin said. “He plays this game only for one reason and that’s his teammates and the love of the game”. “I asked him to sign it, an authentic jersey, so I can hang it up in the house. It’s been an honor to play with him.” – Vicanthe Schiancoe “I like the thought of leaving with the body still feeling somewhat good and not walking away from the game with a limp”. – Jim Kleinsasser