Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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If there was ever an NFL punter that weighed in on every league-wide issue to the extent that one had to assume he wants to work in football following his career as a player, it is Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.

Kluwe has never shied away from making his opinions known, even when the topic may result in him shunning a fellow player, and “bountygate” has proven to be no different.

It threatens the image of the game.  When you look at an NFL game…you don’t want to think that guys are out there actively trying to hurt each other. NFL’s a violent game. We all know the risks when we step on the field. Granted, as a punter, I don’t face those risks quite as much as other people. At the same time there’s a chance a guy’s going to hit you, injuries happen, that’s part of the game, that’s why people are interested in it. But what people aren’t interested in seeing, unless they’re sadistic twisted people, is guys that are actively trying to hurt other people. That’s not part of what makes the NFL the most popular sport in America.

As a player you don’t want to believe guys are out there trying to hurt other guys.  It’s a dangerous game and that’s without trying to hurt other people. You’re in a lot of vulnerable positions and it’s really an issue of trust. Players have to be able to trust each other that if you’ve got a guy in a vulnerable position…you have to trust that a guy’s not going to dive into your knee and end your career. Because if that starts happening teams are going to retaliate. Then all of a sudden it starts escalating and you get superstars that are done.

Kluwe didn’t stop there.  He went above and beyond surmising how scandals like this one can damage the game of football, and continued on to single out a few individuals and provide his suggestion for their punishment.

“I think that Vilma and Williams should be banned from football for life. And any of the guys that took money on a hit that injured someone should be suspended for at least a year.” Kluwe added, “You have to make a serious example out of what has gone on here.”

As more details begin to trickle out regarding this mess, I have to say, it is difficult to disagree with out outspoken punter on this one.

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Day three of our community mock draft has arrived which means two things:

  1. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin are off the board.
  2. The Vikings are on the clock.

Need I say more? 

Cast a vote and leave a comment.

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For the past year, quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints have been attempting to negotiate a contract to keep their elite passer in New Orleans. Today, overshadowed by the revelation of the Saints dirty scheming which has absolutely infuriated me and opened old wounds I thought were stitched tightly, it was reported by Jay Glazer of Fox Sports that Drew Brees was given the franchise tag and will remain in New Orleans (or, in other words, the two parties were unable to come to an agreement).

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Get this stupid news concerning this dirty team, which we all hate right now, off of my favorite Vikings blog!” Hold on a second, because in a roundabout way, this concerns the Vikings as well.

By franchising Brees, the Saints are in bad shape with their salary cap. I guess they’re in better shape than they would be had they actually worked out a contract, but it still isn’t looking good for them. The Saints will only have around 6 million left in cap room after using the franchise tag (maybe they can find some wiggle room in their bounty fund?). This shortage of funds will make it difficult (nearly impossible) for the Saints to retain some of their other big name free agents. More specifically, guard Carl Nicks and wide receiver Marques Colston will likely hit the open market and both players have been mentioned in various Vikings circles as players they could/should be targeting in free agency. Wide reciever Robert Meachem could become a free agent as well.

Carl Nicks would be a great addition and instant upgrade to the Vikings offensive line. If he were coupled with Matt Kalil, dare I say, we could almost overnight have one of the better offensive lines in the league.

Robert Meachem on the other hand is a little harder to gauge. Was he the product of less coverage due to the group of elite receivers around him? Did Drew Brees just make him look good? Could he really excel as a #1 receiver? These are all questions that would need to be addressed. But if the price is right, I imagine the Vikings could entertain picking up Colston.

Another issue, in light of the news of the Saints perverse bounty system, is whether or not the Vikings would want anyone from New Orleans. Granted, the potential free agents mentioned above are on offense and the Saints transgressions were by players and staff on defense (as far as we know). Still though, you have to consider that it could weigh into the team’s decision.

I wonder, if Colston or Nicks were to be Vikings when we play New Orleans again in the future, would the Saints put a bounty on them? Wouldn’t surprise me…

It has been known for quite some time that the Vikings would not be using their franchise tag this offseason, but they are still potentially affected by the process.

You can check out Vikings Gab for complete updates on who has been tagged so far, but I want to touch on a few specific decisions made by other clubs and how they might affect the Vikings in free agency.

DREW BREES, QB, SAINTS

Vikings fans should be glad about the fact that the Saints were unable to strike a long-term deal with their record breaking quarterback.  If they had done a deal with Brees then they could have tagged guard Carl Nicks or receiver Marques Colston.  Both Nicks and Colston would appear like attractive targets for the Vikings this March, and at the very least their presence will help saturate the market a little more.

For those of you that are still fired up (I’m not, but I do understand) about the New Orleans Saints “Bountygate” scandal” I think you will find a recent article by John Holler at Viking Update quite interesting.

Remi Ayodele was a member of the Saints when they beat the Vikings in the 2009 NFC Championship game, and then went on to win the Super Bowl.  In fact, Ayodele was in on one of the dirty hits on Brett Favre that has been called into question.

Since then, Ayodele has joined the Vikings and has been quoted numerous times saying that he enjoys showing of his Super Bowl ring and jabbing at other players from time to time for the outcome of that championship game.

Holler thought the hits in that game were so “pervasive” that he jumped at the opportunity to ask Ayodele about them once he had joined the team.  He even asked him specifically about the existence of an incentive program that rewarded injuries being dealt to the opposing team.  Here is Holler’s account:

Ayodele seemed momentarily surprised by the question with his facial reaction, but what he did next was more interesting. As with most reporters, I carry a recording device with me to make sure I get quotes right. Ayodele smiled and shrugged and, as he started to give his answer, he leaned into my recorder and said, “I don’t know anything about that.” I took from his reaction and response that he believed a real answer wasn’t really any of my business. When players don’t want to answer questions, each one reacts differently. When they look directly into a camera or, in this case lean into the microphone, they’re making a point. His smile and “I don’t know” shrug spoke more than his words and reminded me of a Mafia-style code of silence and vendetta. I got the distinct impression that he wasn’t going to lie, but he gave a classic “non-denial denial.” He didn’t say, “No. That never happened.” He said he knew nothing – the Sergeant Schultz defense.

Ayodele may have instantly become one of the least respected players on the Vikings roster, at least amongst fans, and after a very unproductive season with the team many of us wouldn’t mind seeing him (and his $2.2 million salary) be shown the door.

According to PFT, the Saints will be punished for their actions prior to March 25th.  Free agency begins on March 13th.

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