The latest drama at Winter Park was last week's dismissal of vice president of player personnel Fran Foley after only three months on the job. Foley's attorney, Jeffrey Kessler, said he plans to file a grievance with the NFL claming his client was unjustly fired and therefore is due the $1 million he would have made under his three-year contract.
Negotiations on a contract settlement — one wasn't reached — began only a day after Foley helped run his first draft as a member of the Vikings organization. The Vikings' work on draft weekend was widely criticized, but that didn't appear to be the main reason Foley was shown the door.
Foley's problems began last month when it was discovered he had embellished his resume, inflating the titles of several of his college coaching jobs when he was actually a graduate assistant. Foley, who had been the San Diego Chargers director of pro scouting before joining the Vikings, admitted to this April 21 but in a later interview with all-sports radio station KFAN said he had the backing of ownership.
The resume situation, however, was just one problem.
According to several reports, Foley's abrasive nature also caused problems within the front office. Coach Brad Childress was among the people Foley had disagreements with during his brief tenure.
Kessler, the principal lawyer for the NFL Players Association since 1989, told the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune that Foley's resume wasn't what got him fired. "(It) was some type of internal issue created by people that did not want Mr. Foley to have the job in the first place," he said.
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has refused to comment on the situation and the team only issued a one-sentence statement on its decision.
"Mr. Foley has been wrongfully terminated," Kessler said. "The Vikings are refusing to honor his contract, which we find shocking for a club who has taken such a major public stance on being ethical and having a code of conduct. It would seem to us that the code should being with honoring their contractual obligations."
It's expected NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue will preside over the arbitration hearing, but that could be months away.
It was not immediately clear if Wilf will hire a successor to Foley, who along with Childress and vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski was considered part of the Vikings' Triangle of Authority.
Scott Studwell, the Vikings' director of college scouting, and Jeff Robinson, the team's coordinator of pro personnel, could be candidates for a promotion. Both interviewed with Wilf for the job before Foley was named.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's going to be a good time because we get to play each other two times a year, if not more in the playoffs. It's nice. It's a rivalry we can always have going. Even though we played on the same team in college, we were kind of rivals because we competed against each other in so many things and tried to push each other. Now it's going to be an actual rivalry where we're playing each other and going for the win, so it will be fun." — First-round pick Chad Greenway when asked about playing former Iowa teammate and fellow linebacker Abdul Hodge, who was taken in the third round by the Green Bay Packers.