The turning point was Alan Page. Until he arrived, the Vikings had good outside pressure but were weak at tackle. Page came as an end, a position he had played at Notre Dame, was quickly switched to tackle and went from mediocrity to greatness, and so did the Vikings.
"I didn't want to change," Page says, "but now it's the only place I want to play. I was restricted at end. Inside I can do more things, go in more directions."
"Eller is probably the premier pass rusher today," says Bob Hollway, the Vikings' defensive coach. "He has strength, quickness and great leverage. Marshall is probably the finest athlete on the defensive team. He has extraordinary balance and quickness. And Page is the most relentless player I've ever seen. He drains himself totally every game, and nobody gets off the ball quicker than he does. Larsen just kills you with that great strength."
"Look," say Page and Marshall and Larsen and Eller, "we're just four guys out of 11 playing defense. We don't do any more than the others. We've got fine linebackers and we've got a fine secondary. Everybody complements everybody else, and nobody does a greater job than anybody else."
Okay, you argue with them. Last Saturday the 11-man defense went out and turned Chicago upside down. In the first quarter the Bears had the ball three times and ran just nine plays for a net of nine yards. Chicago Quarterback Jack Concannon tried dropping back the normal seven yards, went to 10, to 12, to 14 and, at times, 20, and still he was desperately searching for an open receiver. When the game was over, the Bears had gained but 129 yards, 88 of them passing, and Concannon had thrown three interceptions. In the locker room, Page slumped in exhaustion on a stool and began to thaw. "Man," he said softly, "didn't that Bobby Lee play a great game out there today."