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Vern Den Herder
Date of birth: November 28, 1948 (1948-11-28) (age 61)
Place of birth: Le Mars, Iowa
Career information
Position(s): Defensive End
Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight: 252 lb (114 kg)
Jersey №: 83
College: Central College
NFL Draft: 1971 / Round: 9/ Pick 230
 As player:
1971-1982 Miami Dolphins
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls: 1
Honors: Little All-American (1970)
College Football Hall of Fame
Playing stats at
College Football Hall of Fame

Vern Wayne Den Herder (born November 28, 1948 in Le Mars, Iowa) was an American football player who played twelve seasons for the Miami Dolphins of the NFL. He played in three Super Bowls for the Dolphins. In 1996 he was selected to the College Football Hall of Fame.


High School

Den Herder attended high school in Sioux Center, Iowa, had no football team his first two years but was a star in his junior and senior seasons. He was a star in basketball and added football his last two years.

College career

Den Herder graduated cum laude with a major in chemistry from Central College at Pella, IA, because of its reputation for education in sciences and its affiliation with the Reformed Church in America. At 6'6" in height, he was the starting center on Central's basketball team for four years and set the school scoring record. He played defensive end in football.

Den Herder made All-Iowa Conference in 1968, 1969, and 1970. In 1970, his senior season, he was team captain, Iowa Conference MVP, and was named All-America, college division, by the NAIA, the Football Coaches Association, and the Associated Press. Furthermore he was coached by the late Ron Schipper, himself a College Football Hall of Famer, at Central Iowa[1].

NFL career

As the NFL did not officially maintain sack records until 1982[2], he unofficially led the Dolphins in sacks in 1972 with 10½; Den Herder also unofficially led team in 1975 with a career high 11 sacks. He was named All-AFC in 1972 and went to Pro Bowl in 1973. In October 1973, he unofficially tied Bill Stanfill for most sacks in a single game with 5, as Stanfill had recently surpassed the previous total just two weeks earlier. Also, he unofficially led the Dolphins in sacks during the 1978 and 1979 seasons with 9. His unofficial total of 64½ sacks ranks fourth on the Dolphins sack list.[3]. In addition to his five-sack game in 1973, Den Herder recorded two four-sack games (September 22, 1974, at Buffalo Bills) and (November 11, 1979, vs. Baltimore Colts)[4]. He was voted by the NEA as the Dolphins MVP in 1979.

Coach Don Shula called him "one of the most dependable players I've ever coached." [5]




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