It’s been a pretty slow news day in Vikings land, especially compared to the onslaught of news that has been inundating our collective psyche/hive-mind the past few days/week or two as Vikings fans. However, as I was about to shut down my PC and turn on Netflix and struggle to stay conscious, I noticed a story from ESPN’s Ben Goessling that popped up about half an hour ago, who is perhaps the most respected Vikings writers there is, after me, of course.
He noted something that is super obvious but worth noting anyway, that Minnesota Viking co-owner Mark Wilf (The younger one, that doesn’t resemble Wario) said that he and the team’s leadership (Toxic or otherwise (That’s a joke, I don’t believe that narrative for a second)) spoke with now former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson during the free agency period and that Peterson will be remembered as “one of the greatest Vikings of all time”.
I can’t disagree with that assessment of Peterson, as much as I think (Speaking of toxic) he tarnished his reputation over the past few seasons. I mean, think about it, this guy was literally referred to as ‘Purple Jesus’ up until 2014, there were websites dedicated to that name… Now he’s essentially the Purple Judas, or at the very least the Purple D-Bag (That’s a biblical term, isn’t it?). Put can you imagine your URL referring to Purple Jesus? That’s like your site being named purplePTSD.com after the Vikings win the Super Bowl, at home, next season…
Apparently the Vikings owners met with Peterson before they declined to pick up his $18 million dollar contract and also talked to him on the phone during the free agency period. Which is essentially what I already said above, but Goessling’s article brings this up twice so I’m not sure if they’re separate incidences or the same ones… Either way, I think it’s becoming clear that I didn’t go to journalism school, and also that the fact that the Wilf’s have been in contact with Peterson (Either once or twice, or would it be four times?), this off-season could be speculated as the team showing some interest in bringing back the 32 year old running back (Especially considering the fact that he’s still available and is fighting reports about his salary demands on social media like the NFL version of Donald Trump). However, considering the past tense language that Wilf is using I highly, highly doubt that that’s what the team is looking to do. Especially after signing Latavius Murray a week or two ago.
Initially it looked like Murray would, essentially, be the type of running back that could really play all three downs for the Vikes. At least that’s the feeling that a lot of fans had when reacting to the move. I really did feel the same way, as I didn’t have a ton of direct knowledge about Murray, I was more operating off of hearsay and some of the stats that I had come across as a writer (Specifically his top three to four pass blocking ability). Although, in talking to purplePTSD.com’s Senior Writer Luke Braun on the purpleJOURNAL podcast the past few weeks, he is convinced (and partially convinced me) that the Vikings are going to need to add another running back before the season starts, most likely through the draft. The partial part comes in when we broke down what type of running back the team should bring in, as I also agree that we need a third back. Mr. Braun believes that the team needs a “Thumper” type running back to compensate for Latavius Murray’s inability to really completely handle that role (Sorry, Luke, if I’m butchering your take, when you talk I’m typically playing Mine Sweeper) at least at a level near Adrian Peterson. Personally, I think that the Vikings are in the market for a more versatile, not necessarily gadget back, but more Swiss Army knife type of running back, ie Joe Mixon of Oklahoma or Curtis Samuel of Ohio State (Who is a WR/RB/KR hybrid beast). A back that can catch passes out of the backfield, can block and can break long runs from time to time while also being flexible enough to return kicks. While runners like Leonard Fournette are the best pure runners, Mixon is considered (by some) the best all-around running back in this years draft, which is DEEEEEEP when it comes to backs and “thanks” to his off the field horror, he should be available when the Vikings pick at 48, as some teams are removing him from their draft board based on the punch he threw back in 2014.
The fact that the Vikings brass (Both general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer) skipped Alabama’s pro-day to watch Mixon in person at Oklahoma’s pro-day would speak volumes by itself. However, there’s more (I know this isn’t breaking news, but bare with me), as Mixon reportedly left the practice facility with coach Zimmer after his drills and official 4.5 (and unofficial 4.43) 40 yard dash(es). From that it looks like the Vikings have a lot of interest in the baggage carrying back. However, there’s a theory out there that how public everything was for a team that prides itself on Bill Belichick level secretive moves, shows that that the entire exercise of watching men exercise was essentially a whole lot of subterfuge (Which Luke believes, IIRC, again, corret me if I’m wrong below, man!) to throw teams off of whatever scent the Vikes have?
Assuming that it was genuine, though, which I’m trying to figure out if I believe or just really hope, it looks like the Vikings are looking for the rich man’s Jerick McKinnon perhaps in Joe Mixon to go with the rich man’s Matt Asiata in Latavius Murray. I really don’t think that the Vikes would skip a team like Alabama’s pro-day, considering the thought in the NFL is that Alabama has pro-ready players, especially on defense, to confuse … Other teams? About what they’re going to do with their second round pick? Seems like a lot of work for something no one cares about, like when I post this article. Personally, I could see good old one-eyed Zimmer taking Mixon out of the building to go for a walk in an attempt to judge Mixon’s character and genuine personality/thoughts on that night in 2014. So, I really am starting to believe that we will replace Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson with Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon. Both who rocked misdemeanors. I feel like we’re trapped in a time loop…
…So, again, Peterson’s days as a Viking are over and it’s been relatively interesting to see the lack of sadness Vikings fans have been showing, as well. It’s so dissimilar to, for example, Randy Moss’ (Dual) boot(s) from the team. While social media wasn’t as prevalent back when Moss was traded after the 2004 season, there still was a lot of passion and a huge divide between fans when it came to Moss’ release and people’s reactions on MySpace and America Online reflected that in blazing fast 56k modem speeds. With Peterson, especially considering that fact that he hardly played last season, it just seems like the right time, and while some people are bringing up his child abuse charge while ripping him on social media, for the most part it’s just another news story and not necessarily something that is emotional. So, I’m sure as time progresses and people begin to forget about that child abuse charge and how Peterson handled it (Spoiler Alert: He handled like he handled the ball in the 2009 NFC Championship game) and instead remember the good feelings that he brought to us and that magical 2012 season… People will finally end up agreeing with Mark Wilf, that Peterson definitely is one of the best Vikings of all time (On the field, anyway) and by then he’ll get a standing ovation as he enters the Vikings Ring of Honor.
So long, AP. Your on the field play will be missed. Oh and I told one of our new writers that I talked smack about him in this article, so…
I tried to add your avatar to the page but it wasn’t listed anywhere, so… In your face?