Carter Ran Himself Out

Cris Carter will go into the Hall of Fame wearing a Vikes jersey. But, his exit from Minnesota is placed squarely on his shoulders.

As time goes by, more information on past events comes into focus. For example, those alive when JFK was shot believed what they were told when it was said Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone assassin. As time went by, however, a more sinister truth became apparent.

While this analogy doesn't equate with the Vikings and Cris Carter, the one commonality is that, as time continues to pass, more is being revealed by those within the organization about the circumstances leading to Carter's exit from the Vikings.

Until Carter began speaking of the Vikings in the past tense, both Red McCombs and new coach Mike Tice were willing to bring Carter back at "better than market value" to return to the Vikings to end his career.

But, in light of the events that led to his wanting to leave the team, Vikings officials have made it clear that Carter wasn't a positive influence in the locker room, but his ability to bring the best out of himself at crunch time (and others) was the best trait he brought to the table.

The Vikings have a much different look heading into the 2002 season and most close to the situation agree that this year may be a building process -- the playoffs are a goal, not a division title or home field advantage. Many inside the inner workings of the team wanted Carter to serve as a leadership influence, but, from weekend conversations with those who are in the know, VU was told Carter made his own bed and now is finding out where that got him.

From an initial rebuff from Green Bay to foiled attempts to latch on with the Eagles and Saints to cutting his own throat with both the Rams and Browns to his recent attempts to hook on with Miami, Carter finds himself a man every team in the NFL would want to have playing for them instead of against them, but a player few if any teams would want on their roster every day of the season.

Carter will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but, thanks to the perception (perhaps realistic) that he is poison in terms of team chemistry, Carter may have said his good-bye to the NFL before he was ready to do so. If he returns to the league, it will be simply as a mercenary in search of a Super Bowl ring, not someone who could help a franchise build a rapport in the locker room.

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