Most Well-Known Athletes from Minnesota

Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

MinnesotaBets is on the hunt to discover who is Minnesota’s most well known athlete. There are athletes that play in Minnesota, plying their trade for the Vikings, Timberwolves, Twins, Wild or any other Minnesota sports teams, but most of those players aren’t from the state of Minnesota originally. wanted to break from Minnesota sportsbooks updates to take a hyper-localized approach to see what athletes that were raised in the state of Minnesota and being discussed the most in the past year – ultimately concluding they would be the most well-known athletes.

Most Searched Athletes from 2023 in Minnesota utilized a weighted system between Keywords Explorer and Google Trends to look at the most searched Minnesota athletes over the past 12 months. Once finding both statistics, they were averaged to determine the Top 10. ‘Minnesota athlete’ was defined as a person who was born or resided in Minnesota in their formative childhood and teenage years for over 10 years.

RankAthleteHometown CitySearch Volume Over Past Year
1Trey Lance, NFL QuarterbackMarshall, MN301K
2Marion Barber, Former NFL Running BackPlymouth, MN180K
3 Ric Flair, Former Professional Wrestler Edina, MN179K
4 John Madden, Former NFL Player & Coach Austin, MN133K
5 Adam Thielen, NFL Wide Receiver Detroit Lakes, MN119K
6 Kris Humphries, Former NBA Forward Minneapolis, MN98K
7Larry Fitzgerald, Former NFL Wide ReceiverMinneapolis, MN61K
8 Lindsey Vonn, Former Olympic Skier St. Paul, MN58K
9Roger Maris, Former MLB Outfielder Hibbing, MN52K
10Eric Decker, Former NFL Wide ReceiverCold Spring, MN48K

Honorable Mentions: NBA G Jalen Suggs, NBA G Tre Jones, NBA G Tyus Jones, Former NBA C Kevin McHale

The Results

It’s no surprise to see the National Football League dominate the rankings, with six of the top 10 Minnesota athletes making their mark in football.

Coming in at the top is a relatively new entry in young QB Trey Lance. Lance comes from Marshall, MN and plays for the San Francisco 49ers. Lance hasn’t made his mark in the NFL yet, getting injured two games into last season and not playing a ton in his rookie year after being selected third overall. The 49ers had success with Brock Purdy under center last year but with his draft pedigree Lance should still have the inside track at the starting position this upcoming season.

Retired athletes also make up a decent chunk of the list, including former Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber at number two. Barber was born in Plymouth and also went to school in the state, attending the University of Minnesota. Barber played 99 NFL games, rushing for 4730 yards and scoring 53 touchdowns. The fourth-round pick died of heat stroke in June of 2022, a heartbreaking loss for the Dallas Cowboys community as well as the Plymouth community.

Ric Flair has always had the ability to find his name in the news, and this ability has the former WWE wrestler from Edina checking in at third on the list. He is slightly ahead of another retired athlete who made headlines post-retirement with his video game franchise - John Madden. Before the Madden franchise he was a player and coach in the league and still moves the needle in his home state.

Most of the players on this list didn’t spend the bulk of their athletic career in Minnesota, but longtime Vikings receiver Adam Thielen did. Thielen went to Minnesota State before signing with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent and wound up putting up 55 touchdowns over nine seasons with the club before departing in free agency to Carolina this offseason.

Several other athletes from Minnesota are well known but those five rank above the rest. Kris Humphries and Larry Fitzgerald make up the next two spots, followed by Lindsey Vonn, Roger Maris and Erik Decker. Everyone took a different route to fame, but they have all done their home state proud and will continue to do so moving forward.

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Cecil Peters
Senior Betting Analyst

Cecil Peters is a Senior Betting Analyst for A professional sports bettor in Canada, Cecil specializes in analyzing the latest odds impacting professional sports, particularly MLB and the NHL. He will be providing insight throughout the baseball season.