Wally Hilgenberg
No. 67, 58
Personal information
Born:(1942-09-19)September 19, 1942
Marshalltown, Iowa
Died:September 23, 2008(2008-09-23) (aged 66)
Lakeville, Minnesota
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:229 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High school:Wilton (IA)
NFL Draft:1964 / Round: 4 / Pick: 48
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Walter William "Wally" Hilgenberg (September 19, 1942 – September 23, 2008) was a professional American football player. A linebacker, he played 16 seasons in the National Football League, four with the Detroit Lions and 12 with the Minnesota Vikings.

Early years

Born in Marshalltown, Iowa, Hilgenberg's family moved to Wilton (then known as Wilton Junction) where he grew up and graduated from Wilton High School.[1] He played college football in the Big Ten Conference at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where he starred on both sides of the line of scrimmage, as a linebacker and as a guard. Two of his nephews, Jay and Joel would play on the offensive line at center in the NFL during the 1980s and 1990s.

NFL career

Hilgenberg was selected in the fourth round of the 1964 NFL Draft (48th overall) by the Lions. In 1968, he was traded from the Lions to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but was waived before ever playing a game in Pittsburgh.

Hilgenberg was picked up off waivers by the Vikings and played for another dozen seasons, though 1979.[2] During that time, he was one of 11 players to appear in all four of the Vikings' Super Bowls (IV, VIII, IX, XI).[3]


Hilgenberg's daughter Kristi was Miss Minnesota Teen USA 1998.[3] His grandson Luke Lindahl was a linebacker for the Iowa Hawkeyes.[4]


Hilgenberg died at age 66 in 2008, after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease [2] for several years. After his death, brain dissection found advanced chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which mimics many ALS symptoms.

See also


  1. ^ "Wally Hilgenberg, Wilton Junction, 1987". Des Moines Register. June 27, 2005. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Ex-Vikings linebacker Hilgenberg dies at 66". Star Tribune. September 23, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Former Vikings linebacker Hilgenberg dies of Lou Gehrig's disease". KARE. September 24, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  4. ^ "Luke Lindahl Bio - Iowa Official Athletic Site". www.hawkeyesports.com. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014.