Chip Scoggins is a Star Tribune sports columnist. He has temporarily returned to cover the Minnesota Vikings. He had the beat from 2008-2011 after covering college football for five years. Chip has been with the Star Tribune since January 2000. He can be followed on twitter at @chipscoggins.Find Chip on Facebook.
Mark Craig has covered football and the NFL the past 20 years, including the Browns from 1991-95 and the Vikings and the NFL since 2003. Since 2008, Craig has served as one of the 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. He can be followed on Twitter at @markcraignfl.
Former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper has been named in a foreclosure lawsuit over his 9,867-square foot home in South Florida's Broward County, according to the South Florida Business Journal.
Culpepper, a former All-Pro who finished runner-up to Peyton Manning in the 2004 NFL MVP voting, also has a lawsuit against him for failure to pay home association dues in the gated community. According to the report, the house is not Culpepper's main residence.
In 2003, Culpepper signed a 10-year, $102 million deal with the Vikings. He didn't earn the entire $102 million, but did get a $16 million signing bonus and play through four of the 10 seasons.
A devastating knee injury at Carolina in 2005 changed his career forever. In 2006, he clashed with then-new coach Brad Childress and the Vikings over his rehab and his contract. He was traded to Miami before the season. The Dolphins restructured his contract and gave him a $7 million signing bonus.
Although Culpepper met his goal of returning from knee surgery for the start of the 2006 season, he played only four games and was released. He later played for Oakland and Detroit. His last NFL season was 2010 with the Lions.
So what are the odds that the Vikings will win Super Bowl XLVIII?
People who earn and protect their money against your wagers say 50-1. At least that's what the online sports book Bovada has the Vikings at as the first week of free agency winds to a close.
Those odds come in tied for 22nd in the 32-team league. They're also the longest of the four NFC North teams. The Packers are at 12-1, tied for fifth. The Bears are tied for 12th at 25-1, while the Lions are tied for 16th at 35-1.
The Broncos and 49ers are tied for first at 7-1. The Jaguars are last at 150-1.
And in Seattle, the trade for Percy Harvin moved the Seahawks from 12-1 to 10-1.
No word on how crazy one has to be to place a bet on the NFL, let alone a bet in March on who's going to win the Super Bowl in 11 months.
The NFL Combine officially gets underway Thursday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. And while the hype of the event will center mostly around the 40-yard dash times, bench press reps and shuttle runs of the more than 300 draft prospects invited to participate, some of the most significant action of the week occurs behind the scenes as NFL general managers and front office personnel meet with agents to begin discussing the approach of free agency.
At this stage, league rules state that teams are only allowed to talk with the agents of their own players. So with the Vikings needing to make decisions on 10 unrestricted free agents who are scheduled to hit the open market March 12, here’s our quick update on where we think things might be headed.
Today, we look at the team’s four defensive free agents. (And in case you missed it, here’s Monday’s look at the Vikings’ UFAs on offense.)
The preseason worries that Brinkley might be a major liability up the middle of the defense didn’t last long. After shaking off the rust in the preseason, Brinkley put his 2011 hip injury behind him and quickly flashed his strengths as a guy who can get downhill in a hurry and be a solid force against the run. His 117 tackles ranked third on the team behind Chad Greenway (191) and Harrison Smith (129). But it didn’t help that the 27-year-old Brinkley saw his effectiveness dip when he was asked to play extended snaps as the Vikings’ MLB in nickel packages. By season’s end Erin Henderson had reclaimed those responsibilities and Brinkley hadn’t lessened worries that he has deficiencies dropping in to coverage.
The likely move: In order to take the next step as a defense, the Vikings will need to find a number 2 linebacker who can fully complement Greenway. And they certainly need to find a guy who can have maximum productivity playing every down. So now, with Brinkley, Henderson and Marvin Mitchell all nearing free agency, the team faces the risk of losing three of its top four linebackers from 2012. It’s unlikely all three players will get away. In fact, it would not be a surprise if at least two of them are back. But the Vikings will also assess what could be available for them in free agency and the draft. In other words: the final decision on Brinkley depends on several other moving parts.
Déjà vu. Henderson was an unrestricted free agent last year, too. But it took 10 days after the market opened for him to re-sign with the Vikings. Henderson was peeved at that time that he hadn’t been offered a bigger pay day – by anyone. But the Vikings did the right thing in allowing the market to set the appropriate price. What resulted was a one-year deal with a base salary of $1.45 million. Henderson hoped to then have a big 2012 season and land a much, much bigger deal. So here we are again. Who knows how much last year’s foray into free agency has altered Henderson’s mindset? But he best be realistic with what he’s worth as he seeks out his best opportunity.
The likely move: Henderson’s 2012 stats: 112 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, three sacks and a forced fumble. He was solid overall. But Patrick Willis he is not. And he still suffers from moments when, in his own words, his eyes get too big and he tries to make plays that either aren’t his to make or just aren’t there. (See: the 5-yard touchdown catch Green Bay’s Greg Jennings made in Week 17 with Henderson inexplicably releasing Jennings to run uncovered into the end zone.) As we mentioned, Henderson is one of three Viking linebackers headed for free agency. So all three of their situations will in some way be intertwined. Brinkley and Henderson are both represented by Sportstars, Inc., which theoretically should eliminate some of the guesswork on that side of things for how the Vikings are viewing the pecking order. Right now, Brinkley may get the edge as a better bargain. But it’s also quite possible Henderson is brought back.
One of the surprise contributors of 2012 should see his hard work and high energy rewarded. After losing his starting job as a safety in training camp, Sanford returned to that role in Week 4 after Mistral Raymond dislocated his ankle. And the 27-year-old Sanford started the rest of the way – though he did finish the season sharing time with Raymond. He’s still a bit small (5-foot-10, 200 pounds) and sometimes deficient in pass coverage. But Sanford compensates for his handicaps with his work ethic.
The likely move: The Vikings’ long-term plan seems to be for Raymond to emerge full-time as the second starting safety alongside Harrison Smith. But Sanford’s value as dependable depth should not be taken for granted. While he may never ascend to be a major playmaker, he’s exactly the kind of player the Vikings coaching staff and front office wants to build around. He’s unselfish, he’s low maintenance, he’s passionate and he’s willing to invest to get better. Add into the equation that he’s always been a terrific special teams player and there has to be a spot open for Sanford to come back. In fact, safety and running back are probably the two positions the Vikings could afford to leave untouched as they transition from 2012 into 2013.
With Henderson sidelined by a concussion in September, Mitchell started twice and aided solid defensive performances in wins over the 49ers and Lions. He was also a dependable contributor on special teams. It’s no secret that the Vikings depth at linebacker right now is average at best. With Brinkley, Henderson and Mitchell all approaching free agency, that leaves Chad Greenway, Tyrone McKenzie, Larry Dean and Audie Cole as the only linebackers signed for 2013.
The likely move: Of all the Vikings UFAs, Mitchell’s case shouldn’t draw much more than a shrug and an “Hey, either way” reaction. Like offensive lineman Joe Berger, if he returns great. And if he doesn’t, his spot shouldn’t be difficult to fill. Mitchell would love to come back if it’s the right situation. And he seemed to fit in well within the locker room in 2012. Henderson and Brinkley will be the first pieces of the linebacker puzzle that need to be figured out. But Mitchell would be an easy guy to keep in the mix.
Adrian Peterson's MVP season looks a bit more incredible now that the abdominal injury he played through in December proved serious enough to require surgery.
The Vikings released this statement this morning: Adrian Peterson had a surgical procedure done today by Dr. William Meyers, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Meyers was able to successfully repair Adrian’s abdominal core muscle injury (sports hernia). We expect a speedy recovery with no long-term concerns.
Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards last season, eight short of the NFL record set by Eric Dickerson (2,105 in 1984). He was named the league's MVP on Saturday night in New Orleans, slightly more than a year after having major surgery on his left knee. Peterson was also named the league's offensive player of the year, and was first-team All-Pro.
And ... he played in the Pro Bowl in Hawaii on Jan. 27, although sparingly.
Now, it turns out, Peterson may have been pushing through severe pain for the Vikings' final six regular season games. In an interview Thursday afternoon with ESPN's Josina Anderson, Peterson said he suffered the sports hernia injury some time during the Vikings' 34-24 home win over the Lions on Nov. 11.
"I didn't know the extent I was hurt then," Peterson told ESPN. "I just remember getting twisted up pretty bad in an awkward position. ... "That next day I felt very uncomfortable in my groin and abdominal area. I thought to myself I'll just wait until I recover but I never did."
The Vikings played it safe with Peterson down the stretch of the season, repeatedly holding him out of practice in December and tailoring their approach so that he'd be as healthy as possible for game days.
"I knew I wasn't really practicing at all," Peterson said Thursday. "I wasn't able to lift because of the strain that it would put on those muscles on an upper- or lower-body workout. That was too much. It was mind over matter. It was just about doing what I had to do to push myself every week. My body was sore from the game and the sports hernia every Monday, so I did what I had to do to recover and get my body right.
"I just played through the pain. I ran on adrenaline."
Leading up to the Vikings' 36-22 victory in St. Louis on Dec. 16 -- a game in which Peterson ran for 212 yards -- he went on the injury report with what was being labeled an abdominal injury. Following his explosion against the Rams, Peterson was then listed as having an abdominal/groin issue which he said was "just normal wear and tear. I've been dealing with it the past couple of weeks. I've been doing the things I need to do as far as resting and conditioning and working out. It's all about that push to Sunday. I'll be ready to roll."
In Week 16, against Houston, Peterson carried 25 times for 86 yards. During that game, he said, the pain from the sports hernia reached its maximum.
"That was probably the worse I felt. That was the first time that I really doubted myself and questioned whether I would be able to continue the season. The pain was a 10 on a scale of 10."
Peterson rebounded in the season finale against Green Bay with 199 yards to challenge Dickerson's record and push the Vikings into the playoffs with a thrilling 37-34 win. The Vikings lost to the Packers on Jan. 5 in the wild-card playoff round 24-10 as Peterson had 99 yards rushing.
Recovery time on sports hernia surgery varies, since the seriousness of the injury varies wildly. But Peterson said his post-operative recovery time would be about 3-4 weeks.
Vikings teammate Geoff Schwartz (@GeoffSchwartz76) tweeted Thursday morning: "It's quite amazing. He's a beast. I made it 3 days in camp w/that injury before I needed surgery."
According to sportsmedicine.about.com: The typical sports hernia occurs when the muscle layer of abdominal wall in one specific area becomes thin relative to the other areas. This may result in a tear or strain in one of the abdominal muscles or the fascia of the abdominal wall. When that happens, the underlying internal organs, particularly the intestines, push up against the muscular wall and can cause significant pain. A sports hernia rarely causes any visible bulge in the muscle wall, so it is often overlooked for some time before it is diagnosed. The most common symptom of a sports hernia is a dull, aching pain in the lower abdomen or groin that gradually increases in severity. This pain generally increases with exercise or activities such as running or weight lifting.
At least three other Vikings have had surgery in the past couple of weeks. Defensive end Jared Allen had a torn labrum in his left shoulder repaired, punter Chris Kluwe had a meniscus tear in his left (non-kicking) knee fixed and center John Sullivan had a microfracture procedure on his left knee. All of those players played through their injuries this past season, none missing a game.
Cris Carter is one of 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The committee, which includes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune, meets Saturday in New Orleans. The inductees will be announced around 5 p.m. Saturday.
The committee can induct no more than five modern-era players from a pretty impressive list. There are also two senior candidates, and the 46-member selection committee votes thumbs up or thumbs down on those two. (Important to remember: the senior candidates do not compete with the modern candidates. In years past, people have been critical of senior candidates getting in "ahead" of players like Carter, but they are in two separate categories. A senior player being selected does not take the spot of a modern era candidate.)
What do you think about Carter's chances? Here is the list of finalists and, as always, it's pretty impressive.
MODERN ERA CANDIDATES
Larry Allen: Guard for the Cowboys (1994-2005) and 49ers (2006-07). First team All-Pro seven consecutive seasons. Played every offensive line position except center. On NFL all-decade team of the 1990s and 2000s. Super Bowl XXX champion.
Jerome Bettis: Running back for the Rams (1993-95) and Steelers (1996-2005). Rookie of the Year in 1993 when he was second in the league in rushing. Led the Steelers in rushing eight seasons. Fifth in career rushing yards (13,662) when he retired. Two-time All-Pro, six-time Pro Bowler.
Tim Brown: Receiver and return man for the Raiders (1988-2003) and Bucs (2004). Led NFL in receptions in 1997. When he retired, his 14,934 receiving yards were second in NFL history, 1,094 catches were third and 100 TD catches were tied for third. Had four return TDs. Nine-time Pro Bowler.
Cris Carter: Receiver for the Eagles (1987-89), Vikings (1990-2001) and Dolphins (2002). Had more than 1,000 receiving yards in eight consecutive seasons. Set then-NFL record with 122 catches in 1994. Ranked second in receptions (1,101) and receiving TDs (130) when he retired. Eight-time Pro Bowler.
Edward DeBartolo Jr: Owner, 49ers (1977-2000). From 1981-98 team averaged 13 victories per season. Won 13 division titles and won five Super Bowls. Served on realignment and expansion committees.
Kevin Greene: Linebacker/defensive end for Rams (1985-92), Steelers (1993-95), 49ers (1997), Panthers (1996, 1998-99). First-team All-Pro with three different teams. His 160 sacks were third in NFL history when he retired. Had 26 fumble recoveries and five interceptions.
Charles Haley: Defensive end/linebacker for 49ers (1986-91, 1999) and Cowboys (1992-96). Only player in NFL history to be on five Super Bowl champions. Had 100 career sacks. Two-time NFC defensive player of the year. All-Pro at both positions.
Art Modell: Owner, Browns (1961-95) and Ravens (1996-2011). Won NFL championship in 1964 and Super Bowl XXXV. NFL president during NFL-AFL merger. Integral in getting NFL television deals. Died last September at age 87.
Jonathan Ogden: Offensive tackle for Ravens (1996-2007). Super Bowl XXXV champion. All-Pro six times, made Pro Bowl 11 times. Dominant left tackle in run-blocking and pass protection for 177 games.
Bill Parcells: Coach for Giants (1983-90), Patriots (1993-96), Jets (1997-99) and Cowboys (2003-06). Regular season record was 172-130-1, postseason was 11-8. Won Super Bowl XXV with Giants, took Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI. Two-time NFL coach of the year.
Andre Reed: Receiver for Bills (1985-99) and Redskins (2000). His 951 catches were third in NFL history when he retired. Seven-time Pro Bowl player, had 85 catches for 1,229 yards in postseason. Helped Bills to four Super Bowls, but they lost all four.
Warren Sapp: Defensive tackle for Bucs (1995-2003) and Raiders (2004-07). Despite playing on interior line, had 96.5 career sacks. 1999 NFL defensive player of the year. Won Super Bowl XXXVII. First-team All-Pro from 1999-2002, made seven Pro Bowls.
Will Shields: Guard for Chiefs (1993-2006). Never missed a game in 14 seasons. Chiefs were in playoffs six times during his career. Chosen for 12 consecutive Pro Bowls, was first-team All-Pro three teams and second team four times.
Michael Strahan: Defensive ends for Giants (1993-2007). Had 141.5 sacks in 15 seasons. Was first-team All-Pro five times. Set single-season sack record (22.5 in 2001). Won Super Bowl XLII in his final game.
Aeneas Williams: Defensive back for Cardinals (1991-2000) and Rams (2001-04). Played cornerback for 12 seasons and safety for two. Made Pro Bowl at both positions, eight times overall. Had 55 interceptions, 807 yards and nine touchdowns.
Curley Culp: Senior candidate. Defensive tackle for Chiefs (1968-74), Oilers (1974-80) and Lions (1980-81). Won Super Bowl IV. NFL defensive player of the year in 1975. Six-time Pro Bowler.
Dave Robinson: Senior candidate. Linebacker for Packers (1963-72) and Redskins (1973-74). Won three consecutive NFL championships (1965-67) and two Super Bowls. Had 27 interceptions, was chosen for three Pro Bowls.
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