Foreman was a standout athlete in football, basketball and track at Frederick High School in Frederick, Maryland. His ability in football to catch passes out of the backfield was evident throughout his years on varsity at Frederick High School. He played center on Frederick High's outstanding basketball team, which narrowly missed the state title his senior year.
Foreman attended the University of Miami, where he played defensive back, wide receiver and running back.
The Minnesota Vikings first round draft choice in 1973, Chuck Foreman was selected with the 12th overall pick in the draft. His pass-catching ability out of the backfield, combined with the ability to make the first tackler miss, was a key in the Minnesota Viking offense, which was sort of a precursor of the West Coast Offense which became popular in the following decades. Chuck is widely known as "The Spin Doctor" for his elusive way of avoiding would-be tacklers.
He was a consensus choice as the National Football Conference (NFC) Rookie of the Year in 1973, when he rushed for 801 yards on 182 attempts and caught 37 passes for 362 yards.
Foreman was named NFC player of the year by The Sporting News in 1974 and by UPI in 1976. He was named All-Pro in 1975 and played in five consecutive Pro Bowls (1973–1977). Foreman had 3 straight seasons rushing for 1,000+ yards (1975–1977) and scored a then NFC record 22 touchdowns in 14 games during the 1975 campaign.