Souhan: Signing Michael Sam would have made perfect sense for Vikings

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 3, 2014 - 9:05 AM
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Defensive end Michael Sam cleared waivers Sunday after being cut by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday.

Photo: Lynne Sladky, Associated Press

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The Vikings can make the sports world a better place today.

They can power-wash the stain of Chris Kluwe’s allegations.

They can give a valuable coach a chance to redeem himself.

They can become admired as open-minded, big-hearted trailblazers.

They can acquire someone whose college history and style could give new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer another chess piece with which to scheme.

The price they would pay to accomplish all of these wonderful things?

They would have to talk Michael Sam out of signing with Dallas — the Cowboys reportedly are adding him to their practice squad Wednesday after he passes a physical — and bring him to Minnesota for its practice squad, a space usually rented by long-shots whose cleats rarely touch an NFL field.

For an organization with a history of embarrassing antics that has proved savvy in distancing itself from Kluwe’s scorched-earth claims, this is a bargain.

Last year, Missouri’s Sam became the surprise winner of the Southeastern Conference’s defensive player of the year award. He’s a somewhat undersized defensive end whose strength is rushing the passer.

Before the draft, Sam disclosed that he is gay. He had told his teammates before the season, and they were so “distracted,’’ to use a word coaches like to hide behind, Missouri went 12-2.

The St. Louis Rams chose Sam with a seventh-round pick in the draft. He appeared to perform well in the preseason, but the Rams cut him and did not sign him to their practice squad.

The Rams seem to have given Sam a fair chance. He projects to be a pass-rushing end in a 4-3 scheme, and the Rams play a 3-4.

There is a chance that Sam is not good enough to play in the NFL. There is no chance that the SEC defensive player of the year is less promising than every player on every practice squad in the NFL.

In a twist, NFL teams are avoiding signing Sam for the same reason the Vikings dumped Kluwe — because football coaches and executives hate it when fringe players receive more attention than their accomplishments warrant.

NFL teams aren’t necessarily homophobic. They are simple-minded. Each NFL team would rather see another team sign Sam, and hold the obligatory news conferences, and have their players asked about showering with an openly-gay man. (All NFL players already have showered with a gay man; they just haven’t been informed of that fact.)

This is where the Vikings can help the league, and themselves.

Kluwe painted the Vikings as a homophobic organization, making special teams coach Mike Priefer his primary target.

Kluwe placed a governor on Priefer’s career by revealing Priefer’s homophobic comments. If Sam proves good enough to win a job with the Vikings, Priefer would coach him on special teams, giving Priefer a chance to prove he has changed.

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Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston 2 Bottom 8th Inning
Pittsburgh 3
Toronto 2 Bottom 9th Inning
NY Yankees 2
Washington 6 Top 9th Inning
Miami 2
Los Angeles 0 Top 5th Inning
Chicago Cubs 2
Cleveland 0 Top 6th Inning
Houston 1
Milwaukee 2 Bottom 6th Inning
St. Louis 0
Arizona 2 Top 5th Inning
Colorado 1
Philadelphia 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
San Diego 1
Seattle - F. Hernandez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc
Tampa Bay 0 2nd Qtr 4:42
Atlanta 35
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 10 3rd Qtr 4:49
(20) Kansas State 7
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
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona 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
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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