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.

* WR Terrell Owens was placed on injured reserve by the Adirondack Wildcats of the NBA -- the Non-Descript Basketball Association. No specific injury was listed, which could lead some to speculate what we did last week that his semi-pro foray into basketball was a ploy to get a Mossian contract from the 49ers. However, if you look at the numbers he posted, perhaps his injury was to his dignity.
* The Tampa Bay Bucs have told VU that they are eyeballing Keenan McCardell as a short-term answer to their problems at wide receiver. Several teams, including the Vikings, have expressed an interest in McCardell, but the Vikes won't get in a bidding war and apparently Tampa is willing to keep McCardell in Florida for a short-term, incentive-based contract.
* A couple of national sports outlets have included the Vikings as a team chasing after Baltimore nose tackle Sam Adams. Don't buy it. Unless he is willing to drop his asking price in half, the Vikes won't even sniff in his direction. Keep in mind that these same people said the Vikings were in the running for Jeremiah Trotter and VU was told (correctly) that his asking price was far too high for what they were willing to pay. If Adams is available in July for $2 million for one year, the Vikings will make a move. Otherwise, it's all smoke and mirrors.

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