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First & 10 (Questions) with Keith Millard

 By: Jamie Harmer / February 23, 2018 / Photo: Keith Millard

We caught up with former Vikings great, Keith Millard Thursday afternoon, for a ten-question interview blitz. Keith was nice enough to share his experiences with us, from football to food, and everything in between in a segment we call first and 10.

VKNT: Let's start with the team you enjoyed playing against the most.

Millard: "Packers, Bears, and Eagles. Always played well against those teams, the Browns too."

VKNT: Who was the toughest offensive lineman you faced during your playing days?

Millard: "Bruce Matthews was really good and a guy named Keith Dorney, Lions."

VKNT: Who was a player you modeled your playing style after, someone you looked up to?

Millard: "Howie Long, Dan Hampton, and Rulon Jones, Jones was with Denver."

VKNT: Tell us about your transition from tight end to defensive tackle in college, why the switch?

Millard: "I was a very good tight end in high school. I believe I could have played it in the pros, but at Washington State, we ran the option, so they didn't throw the ball much. So even though I've never played a down of defense, so i asked my Coach if I could move to linebacker, get more action! Instead, he moved me to Defensive end in our 3-4 defense, I guess it turned out alright."

VKNT: '89 was a special year, most proud of 18 sacks by a defense tackle or 39 sacks combined by teammates? (Both still standing NFL records)

Millard: "Yes, our defense was the best in the league that year and our defensive line was second to none. We were in the zone the whole year. We had a good group of guys that worked well together. I'm very proud to have played with those guys for seven years."

VKNT: You got to spend a year under Coach Bud Grant, and six years under Coach Jerry Burns. Give us a little of the players point of view working under two great Minnesota coaches.

Millard: "Coach Grant was a legend when I got there. He was everything I thought or imagined an NFL Head Coach would be. I grew up watching Bud Grant on the sidelines. I'm very proud to have played for him, even if it was only for a year. Jerry Burns was a different cat, but I loved playing for him, because he let me be me, as long as I worked my ass off and played to win at any cost. I did that."

VKNT: Give us a favorite restaurant you liked to eat at in Minnesota.

Millard: "Sensers after games, and a breakfast place the defensive line ate at every Saturday, but I can't remember the name, but it was popular."

VKNT: Toughest stadium to play at during the old NFC Central days?

Millard: "Chicago in the winter, K.C. and Philly their turf was scary and the fans were brutal. Had to keep your helmet on at all times."

VKNT: You have seen this game from just about every angle, player, coach, father of sons who have played. What advice would you pass on to a high school kid with NFL aspirations?

Millard: "I would say to anyone who has dreams and aspirations to do whatever, go for it, do whatever it takes, and don't let anything hold you back. There will be hard times in reaching your goals, it's part of the growing experience. You have to go through it to make it to the top. It's worth it! Pay your dues."

VKNT: One more for the die-hard Vikes fans, what did it mean to you to be a Minnesota Viking?

Millard: "Everything! I hated the USFL, but it made me who I was as a player. The NFL was my dream and why I worked so hard. Minnesota was very good to me. I really loved playing in the Metrodome 'cause of our fans. They got you pumped up!"

VKNT: Thank you for taking the time to reflect with us, this means a lot to this fan base.

Millard: "My pleasure, thank you for what you do."