The smoking gun was sideline film allegedly showing Hargrove, the former Saints defensive lineman saying, "Give me my money" following a hit on former Vikings quarterback Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC Championship Game. Saints defensive players were being told Favre may have a broken leg. The problem was two-fold – Hargrove didn't actually make the hit in question that would make him able to collect the bounty and the guy who did is front and center on the video.
There is growing support for the rumor that former Viking Remi Ayodele, who was the "high" in the high-low hit that injured Favre, is actually the one who said "give me my money." Several Saints players have told ProFootballTalk.com that they believe Ayodele was in fact the culprit in question.
Remi Ayodele celebrates his hit on Brett Favre.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ayodele's agent, Jordan Woy, said in an e-mail to PFT that Ayodele doesn't know who made the "give me my money" statement and claimed to not know the context of the statement.
Ayodele, despite being clearly the player who hit Favre in the head while he was simultaneously being hit low, was left off the list of players suspended by the league for their involvement in the Bountygate scandal. Ayodele was subsequently hired by the Vikings following the end of the lockout last year and was coy about his involvement in the injuring of Favre.
Whether the Vikings knew about Ayodele's involvement in the Bountygate scandal or not, the timing of Ayodele's release from the Vikings coincided with the day the Bountygate scandal first broke earlier this year. He and his agent have maintained his innocence, but the evidence appears to be more damning to him than to Hargrove.
It's unclear whether the new evidence against Ayodele will re-open the investigation or not. The NFL wants desperately for the scandal to go away, but it doesn't appear to be happening any time soon and, with Ayodele now front and center of the onslaught of finger-pointing, it has taken a new, unexpected twist that makes his tenure with the Vikings even more sinister.
Most people believe Ayodele's release had nothing to do with his alleged role in the Bountygate scandal. His release was more likely because he didn't perform adequately when he joined the Vikings and was never a good fit in the defense, but, in light of the new accusations, his release makes sense on more levels. Whether the Vikings realized his involvement or not, it's probably a good thing Ayodele is no longer with the Vikings because, as media skeptics break down the NFL's Zapruder film, it may have been Ayodele who is the man making the infamous "give me my money" remarks.
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.