The Vikings Are The Most Dysfunctional NFL Franchise Of This Century
Now, this century is only about 15 years old, so there's plenty of time for another team to take up the mantle, but it must be said: So far, the Vikings appear to be the most dysfunctional NFL team since 2000.
When you think dysfunctional, you probably think things like "worst," and that distinction probably belongs to a team like the Browns, or Bills, or Raiders. Maybe it means the team whose off-the-field antics overshadow their on-field play -- and I might offer up the Jets for that one. How about teams who brought shame to the league with outrageous scandals, like the Dolphins' (Richie Incognito) or the Patriots (Aaron Hernandez, Spygate, being kind of annoyingly good all the time). Anyway, you probably don't think of the Vikings here.
But it's the Vikings. It's totally the Vikings.
First of all, consider that the Vikings have had 46 arrests since 2000 -- the most of any time -- according to USA Today's arrest tracker. That includes Adrian Peterson beating his son with a switch; Jerome Felton getting a DUI at the drive-thru lane at McDonalds; Everson Griffen being drunk in public in Hollywood; Daunte Culpepper and several others for the "Love Boat"; and Randy Moss "pushing" a cop with his car -- a car with marijuana in it.
But it's not just the sheer number of arrests, and the scandals (remember when the Vikings begged ancient Brett Favre out of retirement, and then had to deal with the whole "he sent his photos of his penis to a woman who was not his wife" thing?) It's the timing of them. Tom Pelissero has an excellent article running down how the Vikings have derailed themselves over the years. The issues include, but are not limited to:
-Then-coach Mike Tice scalping his own Super Bowl tickets in 2005.
-Onterrio Smith getting stopped at the airport with "The Whizzinator" (a fake penis device that was supposed to help in beat a drug test) also in 2005.
-Don't forget about Culpepper, Fred Smoot and the Love Boat that year either.
-Personnel director Fran Foley was terminated for embellishing his resume in 2006.
-This entire section on the 2010 season:
It might be sending three veterans to Mississippi to talk Brett Favre into playing a 20th NFL season, which ended up crumbling into a mess of injuries and allegations the legendary quarterback texted a photo of his penis to a former New York Jets employee.
It might be Percy Harvin passing out and leaving the practice field in an ambulance, Randy Moss chiding a locker-room caterer's food, the roof of the stadium collapsing in a snowstorm or a snowstorm that never happened moving a game in Philadelphia to a Tuesday night.
All those things happened in 2010 — a season that also saw coach Brad Childress lose his job one year after signing a contract extension and two weeks after a confrontation with Harvin, who had it out two years later with Childress' successor, Leslie Frazier, and ended up getting traded.
-Remember when the Vikings started Josh Freeman, two week after signing him, in a Monday night game even though he didn't know the offense in 2013?
-There was Chris Kluwe destroying the organization's brass for the homophobic comments made by special teams coach Mike Priefer, and the ensuing cover up.
-Now, Peterson has been put on the exempt list while he deals with his legal troubles, and wide receiver Jerome Simpson was cut just days before his three-game suspension ended -- because he got pulled over again, this time with a limited license, weed and an open bottle in his car.
As Pelissero notes, this would all be worth it if the Vikings had a Super Bowl win since 1976 to show for all this trouble. But they don't. Every time the team has a resurgence and makes the playoffs, or even makes noise during the regular season, some issue comes along and pulls the bottom out from under them.
Dysfunction isn't just about losing, or having legal issues, or having bad luck. It's when all three of these things combine. It's when you have a superstar nicknamed "Purple Jesus" who is arrested for leaving bloody lacerations on his 4-year-old. It's when you have players that could be great if they loved playing football as much as they love smoking weed. It's making the playoffs, only for the starting QB to suffer a triceps injury before kickoff.
So it's ironic that the Vikings spent so much of their big, explanatory press conference this week saying how they wanted to "get things right" with AP. Guys, things haven't been right with your franchise for years. Don't think we haven't noticed.
Photo via Getty
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