L.T. shunned Vikings for opportunity

LaDainian Tomlinson talked with the Minnesota media Wednesday and said he chose the Jets over the Vikings in free agency this year because he knew the Jets offense better and knew he had more chances when he wasn't competing with Adrian Peterson for playing time.

Monday's game with the Jets is going to have a ton of storylines, highlighted by the arrival of Randy Moss and the return of Brett Favre to the Jets and their raucous fans. If not for the kerfuffle created by Moss, one of the dominant storylines would center on LaDainian Tomlinson.

All but left for dead by the Chargers, L.T. was released and allowed to work out a contract with any team. Two teams immediately stepped to the front of the line – the Vikings and the Jets. The Vikings allegedly offered more total money and more guaranteed money, but Tomlinson chose the Jets. He hasn't regretted the decision, nor should he. Through four games, he has rushed 56 times for 321 yards – an impressive 6.1-yard average per carry – and scored three touchdowns, and is tied for second on the team with 12 receptions.

Tomlinson said the decision to choose the Jets over the Vikings had a lot to do with his comfort zone in the type of one-cut, between-the-tackles running game the Jets are known for.

"It just felt like I knew this offense," Tomlinson said. "I felt like coming to Minnesota would put me behind the 8-ball a little bit, because I would have had to learn the offense. That pretty much came down to my decision – one place I had been in the offense for nine years and the other place I would have been learning the offense for the first time."

Tomlinson is no stranger to dealing with the media, so his answer as to why he made his decision sounded a little too politically correct. When asked if going to the Jets, where he would be lined up alongside second-year man Shonn Greene, trumped the role he would had with the Vikings, where Adrian Peterson is viewed as Purple Jesus, Tomlinson admitted it played a part in his decision.

"I'm not going to lie to you guys, that was also a factor," Tomlinson said. "I knew that I would have a bigger role here because you got Adrian Peterson in the backfield there in Minnesota. My sense was when I came there they needed me more in a Chester Taylor-type role. When I came here to the Jets, I sensed that they needed me in a bigger role. Obviously, that was a no-brainer for me."

It would seem clear that Tomlinson made the right choice. As much as Vikings fans who are also fantasy football players could die happy with the unimaginable concept of having Favre, Tomlinson, Moss and Peterson on the same "reality football" team, even the most die-hard of Vikings fans would have to admit that L.T. made the right call for himself going to New York instead of Minnesota, and he will be the Vikings' problem on Monday night.


  • Unfortunately for him, even a Hall of Famer like Tomlinson couldn't avoid answering questions about Moss. When asked for his take on Moss heading to Minnesota from division rival New England, he said it was a classic "good news, bad news" situation.

    "It's good for us that he's leaving our division, but it's bad for us that we got to face him this week," Tomlinson said. "It's kind of a, ‘Man, we wish this would have happened a week later,' but, at the same time, we understand where the Vikings are and their situations and what they need to get accomplished. We've got to be ready to play, and obviously we know Moss very well over here and we got to make sure we're ready to play."

  • Cornerback Darrelle Revis, who went up against Moss in Week 2 and, for the most part, shut him down – save a highlight film-inspired one-handed TD catch – may have added some fuel to Moss' competitive fire. Prior to the game, Revis referred to Moss as "a slouch." When asked Wednesday if he thought Moss was indeed a slouch, Revis didn't back off.

    "He came out full force early in the game," Revis said. "In the second half, you could tell he was kind of putting his foot on the brake. But everybody knows that's Randy – sometimes he comes out and plays 100 percent, sometimes he doesn't."

    One can only imagine Moss will be giving 100 percent going up against Revis, who is said to be something less than 100 percent with an ailing hamstring.

  • Affable Jets coach Rex Ryan has had to deal with the mind games of Bill Belichick while with the Ravens and the Jets and, as such, has bought into the mind games. When asked about the timing of Belichick trading Moss – when the Patriots have a bye and the Jets play the Vikings at home on Monday Night Football, Ryan sounded like a guy who's drinking the conspiracy Kool-Aid.

    "I was hoping they would have waited a week," Ryan said. "They would've been much nicer. Clearly by them making the trade when they did, he'll play (against us) this week. There's no doubt about that. We just have to get ready to play him. I thought it was interesting, a little surprising. We knew we were going to have to play him another time, so it might as well be this week."

  • There may be some validity to the conspiracy argument. As it stood Tuesday morning, the Vikings were going into the new Meadowlands with a limp passing attack with more questions than answers. Twenty-four hours later, the Jets were on the defensive. If the Pats were going to trade Moss, could it come at any better time than when they are on their bye week tied for the division lead with New York and the Jets are playing at home against the team they're trading Moss to? Hmm.

  • Ryan may have conceded as much to the conspiracy theorists, saying, "I was kind of feeling pretty good and then, all of the sudden, ‘Hey, Minnesota just traded for (Moss).' I was like, Well, there goes sleeping well this week."

    Bravo, Dr. Belichick. You are the Dark Master.

  • TMZ got involved in Moss-a-palooza Wednesday when it reported accurately that, within five minutes of the trade being made official, the official Vikings website was selling Moss jerseys. The pertinent question should have been, why was the person who alerted TMZ at the Vikings website? To buy a new Moss jersey? They've changed since he was here before. Those are now known as "Vintage Randy" and sold for twice the price than the "new Randy" No. 84.

  • Ah, the bitterness! A Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on-line story about the Vikings acquiring Moss is accompanied with the infamous "moon shot" of Moss to those that have exposed themselves to the Vikings team bus over the years. Just when Packers fans thought they buried the ghost of Favre, their nightmare continues.

  • Jets linebacker Calvin Pace, who has been sidelined due to injury, expects to be ready to make his return Monday against the Vikings.

  • DE Jayme Mitchell was expecting to be sacrificial roster lamb for the arrival of Moss, but he was at Browns practice Wednesday after being traded to Cleveland for a draft pick. Word out of Cleveland is that part of the deal hinged on Mitchell being able to bring his custom-fitted shoulder pads with him. The bad news is that there is plenty of purple on them. Perhaps a bigger hurdle than getting new shoulder pads if figuring out his role in a 3-4 defense after playing in a 4-3 for the Vikings and not getting a lot of on-field reps.

    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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