In NFL, it's talent that makes winners

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 29, 2007 - 9:48 PM

The Vikings have been concerned with the character of the players on their roster. Their No. 1 concern should be getting the best players possible.

Yes, character is important in the NFL, but a lot of players have great character and can't play.

And a lot of coaches in the NFL get fired -- not because they aren't good coaches, but because they don't have good players and have to pass up some real athletes.

Mike Shanahan, the great coach of the Denver Broncos, knows he needs good players to win. He thought enough of Florida defensive tackle Marcus Thomas that he gave the Vikings a sixth- and seventh-round pick this year and a third-round selection in 2008 to take Thomas in the fourth round of the NFL draft Sunday, even though Thomas has had some personal problems in the past.

The 6-3, 314-pound Thomas played only five games for the eventual national champion Gators in 2006. He was first suspended for failing two marijuana tests, then kicked off for good in November for violating provisions of a contract he signed to stay with the team.

Apparently, Shanahan had Thomas visit Denver and was convinced that his bad days were behind him, and that if it had not been for Thomas' problems at Florida, he would have been a first-round choice.

I recall when Bud Grant first took over as Vikings coach, he and General Manager Jim Finks were in the process of going over the roster. Finks would point out some of the bad habits of a particular player and Grant would say, "Can he play?" If Finks said yes, Grant would answer, "That's what you hired me for."

I am convinced Brad Childress can handle any player with bad habits and turn the guy around, and furthermore, he would enjoy the challenge. And Childress, like other coaches, knows you win with talent.

But since the Love Boat incident on Lake Minnetonka, Vikings ownership has been overly nervous about adding players with any type of off-field problems. Rick Spielman, the team's vice president of player personnel, talked about all of the good players they eliminated from consideration this weekend because of their personal no-nos.

Thomas might have been a bigger asset to the Vikings than the draft choices they got from Denver. He must be pretty good if a great evaluator of talent such as Shanahan would give up three draft choices to get him.

Then there is Randy Moss, who, for those who believe he has lost it, ran a swift 4.3 40-yard dash in Florida last week when timed by the Packers and Patriots. New England gave up a fourth-round choice to Oakland for the great, great former Vikings receiver.

He passed his physical with flying colors and then agreed to redo his contract, with the Boston Globe reporting he will take a pay cut from the $9.25 million he was due this year to only $3 million.

"I've never been a selfish ballplayer. I've been selfish for winning, but as far as me getting the ball and me getting my numbers, I've never been selfish," Moss told reporters in the teleconference. "I understand that an organization pays me a certain amount of dollars to make things happen, and when things don't happen, of course I get mad. ... Hopefully, some things will work out, and I'm looking forward to this opportunity to showcase my real talent."

Yes, the Vikings have had trouble selling tickets and winning since Moss was traded to Oakland two years ago.

Bill Belichick will find a way to handle Moss just like Dennis Green did. Look for Moss to play a part in helping send the Patriots to another Super Bowl. When it gets down to the fans, the most important thing is "win, baby."

Will be healthy

Adrian Peterson, the Vikings' top choice in the draft, has passed all his physicals by team doctors, and there doesn't seem to be any doubt that the Oklahoma superstar running back will be able to perform once the season starts.

But Peterson did take a chance playing in Fiesta Bowl, when he ended up suffering a setback with his broken collarbone, an injury initially suffered in October against Iowa State, costing him the final seven games of the regular season.

"I was just anxious to get back on the field, I guess it's all about my character and the kind of player, you know, the drive that I had in me," Peterson said on his decision to play against Boise State in the Jan. 1 BCS game in Glendale, Ariz.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: C. Frias 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 16
San Francisco - WP: S. Romo 4 FINAL
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 9
Toronto - LP: J. Happ 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 6
Washington - LP: R. Detwiler 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 3
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 4 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 3
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 2
Cincinnati - LP: D. Corcino 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks 3
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Sale 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 0
Detroit - LP: D. Price 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson 8
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 0 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 2
Seattle 0 Bottom 6th Inning
LA Angels 0
Texas 0 Bottom 5th Inning
Oakland 0
Philadelphia 4 Top 5th Inning
San Diego 1
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you support Wednesday's decision to sideline Adrian Peterson again?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close