November 23, 2015

Vikings struggle against Green Bay, give up NFC North lead

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

The Vikings held the NFC North lead for only one week, as Green Bay came to Minnesota and got lots of help from Minnesota to take control of the game. While Teddy Bridgewater did just about everything he could (he would have thrown for over 300 yards if Mike Wallace had caught anything thrown his way), the running game never got going and Bridgewater was under pressure for much of the game, absorbing six sacks (second most of the season after the Denver game). A critical Adrian Peterson fumble put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. One of the deciding factors in the outcome was penalties, particularly ill-timed penalties at critical moments on the guys in purple. The Vikings entered the game as the least-penalized team in the NFL, but you’d never have guessed that watching the first half of play … yellow flags seemed to fly after every other play, uniformly against the Vikings.


November 16, 2015

Vikings beat Raiders 30-14 in Oakland to move into first place in NFC North at 7-2

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Unfortunately, the game wasn’t available in my area, so I had to follow the Twitter feed to keep track of the game. It was a fascinating day in the NFL, as Peyton Manning set a new NFL passing record and got benched in the same game, Detroit finally beat the Green Bay Packers for the first time in 24 years, and Adrian Peterson notches his first 200+ yard game in nearly two years (and the sixth in his career, tied for the most in NFL history).

It’s been a while since the Vikings had a five-game winning streak … since 2009, as a matter of fact. And the significance of Adrian Peterson’s 2012 numbers above? That’s his career best year when he fell just a few yards short of setting a new NFL single-season rushing record.


October 26, 2015

Vikings get first road win of the season, beating Detroit Lions 28-19

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

I nearly gave up on this game early after Detroit ran up 17 points on the Vikings, but that turned out to be the Lions’ high-water mark except for a safety given up by the Vikings late in the fourth quarter. Lions QB Matthew Stafford absorbed a career-high seven sacks, while Teddy Bridgewater was dropped for five, including a strip-sack that was recovered by the Vikings. A sixth sack was eliminated by a penalty on the Lions.


October 19, 2015

Vikings defeat Kansas City Chiefs, 16-10

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

This was very much a game of two halfs, as the Vikings moved the ball at will through the first half … through the air, if not on the ground, while in the second half the Chiefs came alive and threatened to take control of the game. Adrian Peterson had one of his worst games as a pro: at one point he’d rushed for something like one total yard on fifteen carries and he was being hit well before he got to the line of scrimmage on many of those runs. Early in the game, it appeared that the Vikings had scored a safety, as offensive holding was called in the Chiefs’ end zone, but the referee determined that the hold had started in the field of play, so it was not a safety. Teddy Bridgewater had another up-and-down performance with some nice throws, but two interceptions and only one touchdown. The offensive line did a somewhat better job against the Chiefs than they did against the Broncos, but Teddy was still not getting a clean pocket to work in as often as he should have. A bright spot for the Vikings was the play of rookie receiver Stefon Diggs, who posted the first 100 yard game for Minnesota this season. In his first two games, he’s caught 13 of 19 for 216 yards, making some observers wonder why he didn’t see the field earlier in the season.


September 28, 2015

Vikings defeat San Diego Chargers 31-14

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Minnesota defeated the San Diego Chargers on Sunday with a dominant running game featuring regular doses of Adrian Peterson (20 carries for 126 yards and two touchdowns) and a special appearance by fullback Zach Line, who now has two runs for two yards and two touchdowns in his NFL career, after getting his first career carry (and touchdown) last weekend against Detroit. Teddy Bridgewater didn’t have a good game statistically (only 13 of 24 for 121 yards and a pick), but was able to keep the chains moving and keep San Diego’s Philip Rivers on the sideline. The run defence showed up for a second game in a row, holding Chargers rookie running back Melvin Gordon to only 51 yards rushing.

There was a scary moment during the second quarter as cornerback Xavier Rhodes had a nasty collision with safety Andrew Sendejo and was motionless on the field for a bit. When he got up with help from the training staff, he was replaced by rookie Trae Waynes for the rest of the game. Rhodes is being evaluated for a concussion and may not be available for next week’s game until after he passes the mandatory concussion protocol. Sendejo also left the game later in the second half and was replaced by Robert Blanton.

The play that put the game out of reach was a 91-yard interception returned for a touchdown by linebacker Chad Greenway. I’m not saying that Greenway is a slow runner, but it might as well have been announced as “Chad … Greenway … could … go … all … the … way!” Pretty much the entire Vikings defence escorted him into the end zone. It was also accompanied by a penalty against the Vikings bench as an assistant coach collided with a game official and one or the other of them also took down head coach Mike Zimmer.

September 21, 2015

Detroit Lions visit Minnesota in search of first win, go home empty-handed

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

After the terrible performance the Vikings put on in San Francisco last Monday, all the fans were hoping to see the Vikings beat the Lions in their home opener at TCF Bank Stadium. The Lions had their own bad start last week as well, allowing 30 unanswered points after building up a three-score lead. We’re one week into the season and both teams are looking at this game as a must-win.

I watched the game on Fox, but overlaid with Winnipeg commercials … normally this isn’t really worth mentioning, but thanks to that I wasn’t abused by the DraftKings or FanDuel commercials that everyone on my Vikings Twitter list was complaining endlessly about.

The Vikings got the ball to start the game and put on a really nice long drive, capped off with a Teddy Bridgewater to Kyle Rudolph touchdown pass. Bridgewater ended the game with a stat line of 14 of 18 completions for 153 yards and a 120.6 passer rating (he also scored a rushing touchdown). Adrian Peterson got more carries for more yards in the first drive than he did in the entire first game (he also developed a fumbling problem, unfortunately). He carried the ball 29 times for 132 yards and caught two passes for 58 yards.


June 3, 2015

Is the Adrian Peterson soap opera over? Please say it’s over.

Filed under: Football, Humour, Media — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

I’m on the record as saying that I thought it would be better for both the team and for Adrian Peterson if he played somewhere else this season. If the comments from the Vikings are accurate, then that was never going to happen as they received no calls from other teams leading up to the draft about trading Peterson. Instead, after some weird moments on Twitter recently, Adrian Peterson showed up in Minnesota today to begin taking part in the offseason training sessions and to earn his $250k bonus for attending the nominally voluntary sessions leading up to mini-camp later this month. I’m still in two minds about this development: Peterson is a generational talent at running back and will make this season much easier on Teddy Bridgewater … but I still think he’s not committed to the team and would prefer to be playing somewhere else.

After today’s OTA session, head coach Mike Zimmer addressed the media and then gave the podium over to Peterson. The Daily Norseman‘s Ted Glover provides his unique “Rickspeak” translation of what was said and what was meant at today’s press conference:

Hi kids, how have you been? If you’re a Vikings fan and didn’t know that Adrian Peterson and Mike Zimmer had a press conference after Peterson’s return to the team earlier today, you are one of two things:

Monumentally ignorant, or monumentally blessed; I can’t decide what. I’m a blessed ignoramus, so I kind of have both bases covered here, so I’ll let you decide what camp you fall in.

Be that as it may, there was a lot of information said at today’s press conference…if you know the ways of Rickspeak, and the meaning behind the words.

‘But Ted’, you ask to yourself, ‘what is Rickspeak?’

Rickspeak isn’t so much a language unto itself as much as it is a code. A code that would make Navajo Code Talkers burst with pride, and one that current Vikings GM Rick Spielman has mastered to a Ninja level. It’s part verbal judo, part linguistic gymnastics, and part hypnosis*. It’s a language as old as Aramaic and Latin**, and one that takes years to decipher and master***.

*It’s none of those things

**It’s really not even a language, it’s just me making shit up

***It takes nowhere near that long

And today, my Viking faithful, we were given a Rickspeak Tour-De-Force, not by the Master, but by his two faithful minions–head coach Mike Zimmer and part time running back, part time Prodigal Son Adrian Peterson.

So, my friends, let us jump into the verbal vomit pit, and get behind what ZimTzu and Peterson not only said*…but what they actually meant.**

*We really will give you direct quotes from Zimmer and Peterson during the presser

**I can’t emphasize enough that my interpretations of those quotes are totally made up bullshit

Amidst a throng of print, online, and TV reporters that would rival Super Bowl media day, Peterson and Zimmer walked up to the podium, and Mike Zimmer spoke first. Because he’s the head coach, and Mike Zimmer does whatever the fuck he wants, whenever he wants to.

April 29, 2015

I’d be delighted if this mock draft turns out to be close to reality

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Ryan Boser guest-posts a mock draft at Vikings Territory that would just bowl me over on draft weekend. It’s got a little bit of everything, and it’s based on the demonstrated draft tendencies of “Trader” Rick Spielman. It includes a higher-than-expected result from trading Adrian Peterson, along with movement up and down to accumulate more picks and sneak back into the bottom of the first round for that coveted fifth-year option:

The Vikings enter the draft with seven selections:


This is not enough. We know Rick wants nine or 10 picks. He’s traded back one spot with Cleveland in two of his last three drafts, and they’re ripe for the picking again at No. 12. However, he’ll need to slide back a bit further to acquire requisite ammunition, and for a team with numerous needs, it’s a flatter tier—the value of pick 11 isn’t much different from the value of pick 16.

TRADE: Minnesota sends 1(11) to Houston for 1(16), 3(82) and 4(116)


TRADE: Minnesota sends Adrian Peterson to Arizona for 1(24)

I’ve long been of the belief that bridges have been burned, and this whole process has been another “we have no intent of trading Percy Harvin” dog and pony show. Thankfully, Rick is a master of creating trade markets out of thin air.

I don’t know if it’ll be Arizona, Dallas, or one of the longer shots. What I do know is that Rick’s still stacking his chips from the Harvin trade, while simultaneously playing the Peterson suitors against each other. I think he ultimately gets his R1 pick (maybe more?), and another standing ovation.


Hey, let’s make a pick!

1(16) Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia; 6’1”, 222

We know that Spielman is fearlessly aggressive with offensive weapons early in the draft. This dates back to his very first selection as VP of Player Personnel, when he took an “injury-prone” Adrian Peterson, despite urgent defensive needs and Chester Taylor coming off a 1,500-YFS season in Year 1 of a 4-year contract.


1(24) Marcus Peters, CB, Washington; 6’0”, 197

We know Spielman really values DBs, and he’ll get no argument from HC Mike Zimmer. Peters, who’s met privately with the Vikings, is widely believed to be the best cover corner in the draft. While he comes with some Harvin-esque character/authority issues, Zimmer has made lemonade out of worse (Pacman Jones and Vontaze Burfict, to name two). The team has also shown Pro Day interest in fellow CBs Byron Jones and Kevin Johnson. Depending on availability, one of the three would be the pick here, and would make a dreamy tandem with budding superstar Xavier Rhodes.

TRADE: Minnesota sends 2(45) and 3(76) to Indianapolis for 1(29) and 5(165)

You knew better than to go to sleep. Rick loves his fifth-year options, as he’s proven by trading back into the end of R1 in three straight drafts. He’s made seven R1 picks in the last three years (2, 3, 2), with only one coming from an original Vikings draft slot, so we’re right on trend here.

1(29) Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA; 6’0”, 232

Kendricks is in play for the Packers at 30, so 29 is probably the necessary destination. Although the 2014 Butkus Award winner is a bit undersized, he’s extremely intelligent, instinctive and aggressive. Whether he remains inside or moves to WILL, Kendricks quenches the team’s most desperate thirst, and allows Zimmer full freedom to deploy his bazooka (Anthony Barr) however he pleases.


Your 2015 Minnesota Vikings Draft Class:

1(16)* HOU – Todd Gurley, RB
1(24)* ARI – Marcus Peters, CB
1(29)* IND – Eric Kendricks, LB
3(82)* HOU – Tre McBride, WR
4(110) – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, DB
4(116)* HOU – Za’Darius Smith, DE
5(137) – Mitch Morse, G
5(165)* IND – Chaz Green, T
7(228) – Bryce Hager, LB
7(232) – Trevor Pardula, P

April 27, 2015

“If Peterson isn’t traded by Saturday morning, he’ll stay a Viking in 2015”

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 07:16

Charles Robinson has seemed to be the one media guy with an inside lead to what is really happening between Adrian Peterson and the Vikings leadership. Here’s his column laying out the possible trade situation and why he thinks Peterson is still unhappy with his contract:

Rarely has a veteran player dominated an NFL draft run-up the way Adrian Peterson has. While this is the portion of the offseason typically overrun with pro days, propaganda and draft subterfuge, Peterson has remained the veteran question mark curling around the month of April.

Who is in the running for a trade? Are the Minnesota Vikings listening to anyone? What’s the price for Peterson? How many Valentine’s Day cards did Jerry Jones send to his supposed favorite running back?

It’s the story that has driven some NFL front offices nuts (we’re looking at you, Cowboys) and made some head coaches uneasy about sharing opinions (hey there, Bruce Arians).


Money solves a lot of NFL disputes. It heals a lot of wounds. It rekindles a lot of love. There is a basic, bottom-line aspect of Peterson’s career right now.

1. He’s 30 years old.
2. He likely has a prime shelf life of two or three seasons remaining.
3. He has a team that wants to pay him $13 million to play in 2015.
4. With his current contract, he assumes all the risk of losing money in 2016 and 2017.

When a running back has a situation like that, here is what goes through his head: If he reports for what is essentially a one-year, $13 million season in 2015 and gets hurt, his value beyond this season could be obliterated. The Vikings know this. And deep beneath all the jockeying about why Peterson isn’t happy, that reality is a raging river. If Peterson reports to the Vikings, the moment he returns, he gets a big 2015 payday but no protection beyond that. In the winter of an NFL career, that is unsettling.


If Peterson isn’t traded by Saturday morning, he’ll stay a Viking in 2015

Because draft picks would be in play in any trade – and because the Vikings are looking for high compensation – this has got to happen before the end of the second round. Picks lower than that are not going to get this done. So if Peterson is still on the roster when the second round concludes on Friday night, he’ll be on the roster when training camp begins, too.

March 27, 2015

Adrian Peterson’s public image

Filed under: Football, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:00

The fans still hold Adrian Peterson in high regard … but not as high as they did before September, 2014. His agent’s antics along with a steady drip of news through a few key media folks and rumours possibly originating with his family and friends are slowly corroding that public support. I think he’s probably still got more supporters than detractors among the Vikings fanbase, but it looks like he’s losing (or has already lost) the benefit of the doubt from the local Minneapolis-St. Paul media. For example, here’s Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan’s latest:


March 7, 2015

An update on the Adrian Peterson saga

Filed under: Football, Law, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

If you haven’t been following along at home (and I don’t blame you if you haven’t), Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson only played in one game last season, due to media and fan outcry after he was charged over a beating he performed on one of his children. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a tempest in a teapot … that the mother of one of Peterson’s several children was trying to get her 15 minutes of media fame. Once I saw the photographs of the child’s injuries (taken a few days after the beating), I completely changed my mind. The child’s mother was totally right to raise this issue and Peterson did need to go to court over the incident.

Peterson is without a doubt the best running back of his generation — one of the greatest talents of all time — yet he still has his own issues that prevent him from achieving what his athletic talents would otherwise allow. And he’s his own worst enemy, because he doesn’t seem to get it that he himself is the one at fault for last year’s disappointments and frustrations (it wasn’t Roger Goodell holding the switch, and it wasn’t the team encouraging him to do it … this is all on Adrian). 1500ESPN‘s Judd Zulgad tries to put it in understandable terms:

Let me be clear about one thing: Peterson’ distrust, or anger, at the Vikings is misguided, juvenile and irrational. It’s also not surprising. Having covered Peterson on a daily basis for four seasons, I can tell you that for a superstar player he never seemed to have a huge ego.

But what also became clear about Peterson, and this took time to realize, was that his “get it” factor was incredibly low. That has shown itself in various ways.

In November 2009, Peterson was clocked driving 109 miles per hour in a 55-mile-per-hour zone. In March 2011, minutes before NFL owners locked out players, Peterson gave an interview to Yahoo! Sports in which he compared the players’ place in the game to “modern-day slavery.” In October, Peterson admitted to smoking “a little weed” while out on a $15,000 bond after being indicted on a felony child abuse charge.

Take these incidents on a case-by-case basis and maybe they can be rationalized. But put them together and you’re dealing with a guy who doesn’t get it.

The child abuse charge was why Peterson ended up playing in only one game this past season and why he ended up being transferred from the commissioner’s exempt list to the suspended list and is now back on the exempt list after a court found in his favor last week and gave the case back to the NFL.

Peterson ended up pleading no contest to misdemeanor reckless injury on Nov. 4 in Texas. The Vikings’ only misstep when it comes to how they handled the Peterson situation was the fact that after having him sit out in Week 2, they briefly decided that he could continue playing before outrage from fans and sponsors forced the team and the league to come up with a way to make him go away.

In recent interviews, Peterson has brought up his concerns about returning to the Vikings, as if they are at fault for his lost season. Perhaps Peterson’s feeling is that if the charges against him hadn’t occurred in the days after footage of Ray Rice striking his fiancée in an elevator surfaced that commissioner Roger Goodell’s punishment would have been different.

He’s probably right.

But let’s not forget that Peterson is the one who struck his 4-year-old son with a “switch”. If Peterson is angry at anyone for having to sit out, his frustration should be directed at himself. Second on that list should be Goodell.

The Vikings did nothing wrong when it came to Peterson not playing and, if anything, they should be angry at him. Spielman, Zimmer and everyone else knows this.

They also know that if they want to get anything in return for Peterson they have to act like they want him back. Thus, the trip to Houston became a necessity, even if it was a charade.

I was horrified at the punishment Peterson inflicted on his child. I thought the decision to de-activate him while his court case was in process was sensible and right. Then, of course, I was mortified when the Vikings tried to re-activate him so quickly, and I lost some confidence that the Vikings’ management could so mis-read the situation. As things progressed, I was unhappy with the NFL in turn for their hypocritical and inconsistent treatment of Peterson, as the league tried to reverse the flow of time itself in order to use Peterson to expiate their own disciplinary sins and omissions.

I can’t blame the NFL Players Association for pushing this, as the NFL should not have the power to retroactively define the terms and conditions under which NFL players work. Punishing Peterson for transgressions (however repulsive) that occurred before those particular rules were put in place is far from justice. Even more, the way the league has handled the situation makes little sense, as the punishment seems to be inflicted on the team Peterson plays for even more than on the player himself (after all, Peterson still collected a multi-million dollar salary while he was in NFL limbo). In what sense should the other 52 players on the Vikings’ roster have to put up with additional uncertainty (beyond the fact that their top player is kept out of the game).

Initially, I hoped that Peterson would recognize that he’d transgressed the boundaries that most North Americans accept on what is reasonable discipline for a four-year-old, admit that he was wrong, and work to regain the trust of society (in general) and the Minnesota fans (in specific). Instead, it appears that Peterson still can’t accept that what he did was wrong and he clearly resents the team management for not backing him 110% during his time away from the team. This is an amazing level of delusion and inability to empathize with others … the Vikings may not have been there for every twist and turn of his legal tribulations, but if that was what he expected, it only emphasizes that he’s not really aware of how badly he disappointed his employers, his fans, and the general public by his actions.

In light of this, perhaps it’s better for all concerned if Adrian Peterson continues his career somewhere other than in Minnesota. I hear Indianapolis, Dallas, and Arizona are lovely places to play football. Maybe one or the other will be his next employer/fanbase. That might be best for everyone.

Update, 9 March: This article might make some heads explode…

December 13, 2014

Adrian Peterson’s appeal is denied – he won’t be allowed to play this year

Filed under: Football, Law — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 10:12

As most dispassionate observers had expected, the arbitrator appointed by the NFL decided that Peterson’s ongoing suspension would continue until at least April 15, 2015. Unlike most dispassionate observers, Vikings fans were rather upset by the ruling:

Arif Hasan discusses the situation here:

After an agonizingly stupid waiting game, the NFL announced that arbitrator Harold Henderson has denied Adrian Peterson’s appeal against the severity of the NFL suspension regarding his incident, which means his suspension is upheld. The suspension is for at least six games will continue into the next season, starting immediately — meaning he will miss at least three weeks to start the 2015 season though right now is technically suspended indefinitely.

In April he will be able to reduce his suspension from indefinite to merely six games (meaning he could be reinstated and play for Week 4 of the 2015 NFL season) end his suspension. Contrary to previous reports, the suspension is for the remainder of the season, not six games. He will need to prove some degree of remorse and complete or make significant progress in parental counseling in order to be reinstated. Peterson will retroactively serve the six-game suspension by paying back the three game checks for the games he was on the Exempt List during his appeal after the ruling, per Ed Werder of ESPN.

Arif also quotes the conclusion of Harold Henderson’s decision with a bit of emphasis added:

The facts in this appeal are uncontested. The player entered a plea which effectively admitted guilt to a criminal charge of child abuse, after inflicting serious injuries to his four-year old son in the course of administering discipline. No direct evidence of the beating was entered in the record here, but numerous court documents, investigative reports, photographs and news reports, all accepted into evidence without objection, make it clear that Mr. Peterson’s conduct was egregious and aggravated as those terms are used in the Policy, and merits substantial discipline. His public comments do not reflect remorse or appreciation for the seriousness of his actions and their impact on his family, community, fans and the NFL, although at the close of the hearing he said he has learned from his mistake, he regrets that it happened and it will never happen again. I reject the argument that placement in the Commissioner Exempt status is discipline. I conclude that the player has not demonstrated that the process and procedures surrounding his discipline were not fair and consistent; he was afforded all the protections and rights to which he is entitled, and I find no basis to vacate or reduce the discipline.

Peterson and the NFLPA may now decide to launch a court action, but there is no way that legal action at this late date will make it possible for Peterson to return to the league before the end of the regular season.

December 6, 2014

Fran Tarkenton on the NFL’s long-standing drug problems

Filed under: Football, Health, Law — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:57

In an interview with Jenny Vrentas, former Viking great Fran Tarkenton discusses this year’s crop of rookie quarterbacks (including the Vikings’ Teddy Bridgewater), the NFL’s ongoing disciplinary issues with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, the long-term issues with NFL doctors dispensing painkillers, and the advent of performance-enhancing drugs. On the issue of league discipline, he believes the league should not allow Rice or Peterson to play again:

VRENTAS: Are you saying the Vikings should move on from Peterson because of his age, or because of the child abuse case that led to his suspension?

TARKENTON: I followed the Clippers thing. That owner [Donald Sterling] didn’t get indicted for any crime, but the racial comments he made were totally inappropriate, and we took a stand. The whole world and the NBA, we have zero tolerance to racism. And I think that’s right. I agree with that. But I also think we ought to have zero tolerance to child abuse and domestic violence. I don’t think [Peterson] should play again in the NFL. I don’t think Ray Rice should play again. Either we have zero tolerance, or we don’t. And what is more egregious than domestic violence and child abuse? I don’t know of anything, unless you kill somebody.

VRENTAS: Peterson has not played since the child-abuse charges first surfaced in September, and now he’s been suspended for the rest of the season, pending appeal. Do you think the response shows that teams and the league are starting to take these issues more seriously?

TARKENTON: Kind of. They have been a little bit wishy-washy. [The Vikings] were going to play Adrian Peterson [before reversing course in September]. Other teams were going to play other players [involved in cases of domestic violence]. And the NFL was going to give just a two-game suspension to Ray Rice. I don’t think we’ve gotten beyond “win at any cost” yet. And I think we need to get there. We should have zero tolerance to racism. We don’t believe that, right? Is that more important than zero tolerance to domestic abuse and child abuse? Unless we as a society think that way, then we won’t make progress. And the whole domestic violence thing, that has been tolerated universally, but certainly in the NFL. We can’t tolerate that. All these behaviors that are so egregious continue. We need to set an example.

And on the topic of team doctors and the use of drugs to get players back into games (but which had potentially serious long-term health implicatons:

VRENTAS: You wrote a letter to the New York Times regarding painkiller abuse, in response to the DEA’s recent spot checks of NFL team medical staffs. This has been a subject you have been vocal about. What was your experience with painkiller use during your playing career?

TARKENTON: This has been going on forever. I was playing for the New York Giants, and I hurt my shoulder in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I came in at halftime, and the doctor had a great big long needle, punched a few different places, and told me, “Show me where it hurts the worst.” I said, “Ow,” and he jammed a combination of xylocaine and cortisone into my shoulder. That’s not good for my shoulder, but he’s my team doctor. I don’t think he’s going to do something that hurts my career, right? He’s like my family doctor. If my family doctor tells me to take a pill, I’ll take a pill. So every Friday, I went on the subway from old Yankee Stadium, where we practiced, all the way down to lower Manhattan to St. Vincent’s Hospital, and they did the same thing they did at halftime. They shot my shoulder. It didn’t really help me, but it allowed me to play. Now, when I come back to Minnesota, my shoulder is worse. The year we played the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl in New Orleans, my shoulder was already deteriorating, and I hurt it early in the season in Dallas. The rest of the year I could not throw a ball in practice; I could not throw a ball in warm-ups over 10 yards. When I got in the game, I could throw it maybe 40 yards, because my adrenaline was up, but there was nothing on it. But every Friday, guess what they shot me with? Butazolidin. That’s what they shot horses with. Shot me up every Friday, all the way to the Super Bowl. I retired at age 39, and I see my doctors down here [in Atlanta] because my shoulder is killing me. They say, “You’ve got the shoulder of a 75-year old man. You need your shoulder replaced.” I talked to a lot of the old guys — Roger Staubach, Otto Graham, Sammy Baugh, Johnny Unitas, Y.A. Tittle ­— and none of them had shoulders replaced. I had my shoulder replaced, because they shot me up. Where was the conscience back then? People say, “You knew what they were doing.” I knew what they were doing, but I didn’t think they would hurt me. I didn’t think my shoulder was going to fall apart.

November 22, 2014

Adrian Peterson talks to Tom Pelissero

Filed under: Football, Law, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:00

Tom Pelissero was one of the best local reporters in the Minneapolis area when he worked the Minnesota Vikings beat for 1500ESPN. Earlier this year, he moved to USA Today, but still lives in Minnesota. Earlier this week, he talked with disgraced Vikings running back Adrian Peterson in an exclusive interview:

Adrian Peterson the football player will be back one day. He’s sure of it, even after the NFL suspended the Minnesota Vikings’ star running back Tuesday for at least the rest of the 2014 season after his no-contest plea to a misdemeanor reckless assault charge.

Peterson had expressed remorse for injuring his son and maintained he was disciplining him — with a “switch” from a tree — the way he was disciplined as a child. If Peterson meets the court’s requirements, no conviction will go on his record. But Peterson, a father of six children by six women, knows he faces a lifelong challenge to prove he’s not an absentee parent, not a child abuser, not any of the demons he’s been portrayed as since the incident.

“I won’t ever use a switch again,” Peterson said. “There’s different situations where a child needs to be disciplined as far as timeout, taking their toys away, making them take a nap. There’s so many different ways to discipline your kids.”

In the more than 90-minute phone interview — Peterson’s first extensive public remarks since his Sept. 11 indictment — he spoke with USA TODAY Sports on a wide variety of topics, including why he refused to attend a hearing with the NFL before Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him as well as his future with the Minnesota Vikings.

“I would love to go back and play in Minnesota to get a feel and just see if my family still feels comfortable there,” Peterson said. “But if there’s word out that hey, they might release me, then so be it. I would feel good knowing that I’ve given everything I had in me.”

Regardless of his football future, Peterson wanted to make clear his main focus now is on repairing his relationship with his son and trying to make people understand that, contrary to Goodell’s remarks in handing down his ban, his remorse is real.

November 19, 2014

Adrian Peterson’s suspension and the Vikings’ future plans

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 07:10

Andrew Krammer looks at the implications of Adrian Peterson’s six game suspension in the light of the Vikings’ planning for next season:

By April 15, the Minnesota Vikings had considerably narrowed down their NFL Draft prospects, had already signed their bulk of free agents and were well on their way to constructing the 2014 roster.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell essentially made the Vikings’ decision for them, if they were even strongly considering keeping Adrian Peterson after 2014 to begin with. On Tuesday, Goodell suspended Peterson for the remainder of the 2014 season (six games) without pay, adding he can’t be reinstated until April 15, 2015 — well into the Vikings’ preparations for the next season.

If Peterson has any chance of being on the Vikings’ 2015 roster, it won’t be as a suspended 30-year-old running back with a $15.5 million cap hit.

He’s likely donned the purple as one of the franchise’s all-time best players for the last time on Sept. 7, unless a few circumstances play out: (1) Arbitrator Shyam Das would need to rule in favor of the NFLPA this week, saying the NFL had no grounds to keep Peterson on the Commissioner’s/Exempt list after his Nov. 4 plea deal was accepted by a Texas judge. (2) The Vikings, who released a statement in support of Goodell’s decision, would have to then activate Peterson against the grain of public relations backlash that forced their own change of course on Sept. 17 to initially get him on the CE list and (3) if Peterson has any shot of winning an appeal, it’ll come with a neutral arbitrator hearing his appeal and not Goodell, as ESPN.com’s Ben Goessling pointed out.


I have no doubt Peterson will play in the NFL again, I don’t believe it will be for the Vikings after this mess was made worse with Goodell’s handling and the way Peterson has been used as a pawn in a battle between the league and its union.

The first benchmark to watch is the start of the new league year in the beginning of March. If they cut him by then, they’ll avoid paying a $250,000 workout bonus.

Put your proverbial money on that happening if Goodell upholds his own suspension (likely) and if the Vikings are ready to move on after paying Peterson $7 million in 2014 base salary for 75 rushing yards.

Update: At the Star Tribune, Jim Souhan enjoys the spectacle.

The most artfully-written jokes are those that contain the punch line in the premise.

Like this one:

Adrian Peterson thinks his punishment is too harsh.

Tuesday morning, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended the Vikings star for the rest of the season without pay, meaning Peterson will not play for the Vikings again this season, and perhaps not ever.

Peterson’s case is bound to become a quagmire of legal positioning, union rights, management overreach and the ongoing course corrections of one of the most powerful people in sports.

There is one matter that remains clear.

A powerful football player took a branch and beat a 4-year-old until the boy bled through large welts on his back, suffered defense wounds on his hands, and took at least one lash to his genitalia.

Peterson deserves no sympathy, and anyone arguing that he is being unfairly prevented from finishing the season with the Vikings hasn’t done enough reading between the legalistic lines.

Peterson chose to be a legal pawn instead of a football king.

He has chosen to spend the rest of the season as a symbol of Goodell’s arrogance rather than a standout football player.

Peterson could have found his way back to Winter Park this season. His path was cleared by a lenient Texas court. Had he displayed remorse over his acts, and sought counseling, and thrown himself at Goodell’s feet, the commissioner likely would have levied a lighter sentence, perhaps even a retroactive one.

Instead, Peterson played into Goodell’s hands, and Goodell must have cackled at the opportunity presented to allow him to display strength.

Peterson showed no real remorse. He did not promise to change his behavior. He chose to side with the NFLPA and his legal team in challenging Goodell’s power.

If Goodell didn’t have Peterson, he would have invented him.

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