I’m not surprised that Rob Brzezinski, the Vikings’ chief negotiator, got into it with Adrian Peterson’s agent at an Indianapolis restaurant last Friday. Brzezinski can get a little riled up when things aren’t going his way.
That’s based on a run-in that Brzezinski and I had on Jan. 14, 2001, during the afternoon’s football entertainment at Giants Stadium.
The Vikings entered that NFC Championship Game as 2-point favorites to reach the Super Bowl.
The final score was Giants 41, Vikings 0. It wasn’t that close as the Giants led 34-0 at halftime, and then pumped the brakes throughout the second half.
The Minnesota media contingent was taking up 20-25 seats on the far left side of the Giants Stadium press box.
Today, we would’ve exchanged snarky comments on Twitter. That wonderful means of communication was not yet available, so we were stuck with barking out one-line insults to friends and colleagues 10 or 15 seats away.
As the score mounted, the barks were more frequent, and so were the howls of laughter. It kind of turned into a competition: Would my one-liner on Wasswa Serwanga’s ineptitude top your one-liner on Randy Moss’ complete indifference?
Unfortunately, the Vikings' team officials had taken roost above us in the second row of the press box, as was their custom. They did some of the usual cheering early, before being struck silent first by shock and then by embarrassment.
During a timeout, I crossed paths with Brzezinski and he expressed his unhappiness with my participation in the guffaws aimed at the Vikings. He laid a few choice words on me, and I said something such as, “You should be mad at your team, not us,’’ meaning the Twin Cities sports writers.
And then we told one another to perform an anatomically difficult act and went back to our seats.
Brzezinski has gone more into the background in recent years, but he’s still the guy trying to guard the bank vault against the players for the Wilfs, as he did for Red McCombs.
So, I can see Ben Dogra, the agent, carrying around the idea the Vikings should honor Peterson’s contract in full, and Brzezinski having a distinctly different idea on what the disgraced running back should be paid in 2015, and a few snide remarks turning into an ugly exchange.
My guess is Rob B. still doesn’t have much of a sense of humor when it comes to the Vikings. I mean, he sat there for more than three hours during 41-doughnut and I never heard as much as a chuckle out of him.
How was that possible? I still get a smile every time I think about Denny Green and his ego walking off the field together after that one.