Vikings defensive end Brian Robison strongly denied an accusation by former Vikings offensive lineman Artis Hicks that the team ran a bounty program similar to the NFL’s infamous “Bountygate” scandal that led to stiff punishment of the New Orleans Saints back in 2012.
“I haven’t heard of any bounty program since I got here [in 2007],” Robison said Thursday. “I’m very unaware of a bounty program. So I’m not going to sit here and talk about it all day. It is what it is.
“If Artis wants to say stuff like that, obviously he’s trying to bring attention on him. So what? At the end of the day, I’m unaware of any bounty program that has happened here in the time that I’ve been here.”
A significant portion of the Bountygate investigation centered on questionable hits on Vikings quarterback Brett Favre during the NFC Championship Game in January of 2010.
Hicks, who was on the team coached by Brad Childress, told Jeff Pearlman, the author of a new biography on Favre, that the Vikings had a similar program in which players were paid to injure opponents.
“It was part of the culture,” Hicks is quoted as saying. “I had coaches start a pot and all the veterans put in an extra $100, $200, and if you hurt someone special, you get the money. There was a bottom line, and I think we all bought in: You’re there to win, and if taking out the other team’s best player helps you win, hey, it’s nothing personal. Just business.”
Robison said he didn’t know about Hicks’ comments until Wednesday.
“I was very surprised,” he said. “Basically, the first thing [I said], in the car with my wife, was, ‘What the hell?’ It was very shocking to me.”
Childress told ESPN, “I have too much respect for the Wilf family [and] professional football to have anything to do with a bounty system. I’m going to let it stand at that.”
Five miss practice because of injuries
Running back Jerick McKinnon (ankle), safety Andrew Sendejo (ankle), receiver-kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson (concussion), punt returner Marcus Sherels (wrist) and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee) did not practice Thursday.
McKinnon, Sendejo, Sherels and Patterson were injured in Sunday’s loss at Philadelphia, while Floyd hasn’t played since the opener.
Limited in practice Thursday were linebacker Audie Cole (finger), left guard Alex Boone (shoulder, knee), tight end MyCole Pruitt (knee), receiver Jarius Wright (ankle) and guard Zac Kerin (hand).
Bradford: Everyone needs to speed it up
Quarterback Sam Bradford was asked if he feels he should have gotten rid of the ball quicker at Philadelphia on Sunday. The man who was hit 18 times, sacked six times and lost two of four fumbles said:
“Obviously there were times when I could have gotten the ball out quicker.”
“I think when you look at it, it’s all of us,” he said. “I’ve got to find a way to get the ball out. We’ve got to find different schemes to get it out [quicker]. We’ve got to get open out wide quicker. “And sometimes protection has got to be a little bit better. I think we all have a hand in it.
“This week, going out to practice, I think we all realize we have to do our jobs to solve the problems that showed up on Sunday.”