DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Carl Eller Connection

Hearing former Minnesota Vikings player Alan Page narrate Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” on Thursday at Orchestra Hall in the Twin Cities made me think of my student days at the University of North Dakota in the early 1960s

It was there that I first heard of perhaps the greatest Vikings football player ever, Carl Eller, who played college football at the University of Minnesota. (Page played at Notre Dame.)

It was back when, as is the case this year, UND fielded very good football teams. A UND player who later made a name for himself with the Vikings was Cando North Dakota’s Dave Osborn.

You would never guess it looking at me today, but I was sort of a jock myself at UND, lettering in wrestling a couple of years. Thus, I spent considerable time at the UND Fieldhouse and got to know football players, some of whom like Neil Reuter I stay in touch with via Facebook.

One day after practice, I met a football player who said he had transferred to UND from the University of Minnesota. Hershel “Pepper” Lysaker, I think it was.

Why did you do that?” I asked.

“Because I didn’t want to practice against Carl Eller,” he said with a laugh. “It hurt too much.”

I suspect his reply was only partly in jest.

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