Could Todd Lowber be the next Sidd Finch?
Twenty years ago, Sports Illustrated ran an April Fool's story written by George Plimpton about a backwoods pitcher who could throw 168 miles per hour and had opted to sign with the New York Mets. It turned out to be an April Fool's Day hoax.
Some Vikings fans might be wondering if Todd Lowber fits in that same category. Lowber, signed by the Vikings earlier this week, has been building some of the same type of laudatory credentials that Plimpton needed the make the Finch story believable.
Need size? Lowber is 6-3. Need leaping ability? Lowber, according to trainer Jim Garrett, can jump 42½ inches – more than anyone did at the Combine. So he's 6-3 and can jump three-and-a-half feet straight up in the air standing flat-footed. How about speed? You kidding?
According to a print report in a Pennsylvania newspaper, Lowber worked out for six teams and ran the 40-yard dash four times. What were his clocked times? 4.11 seconds, 4.21, 4.28 and 4.30. Even that last time would make him one of the fastest players ever in the NFL. If that 4.11 time is accurate, he could be the fastest of all time.
Will Lowber turn out to be a football player? The last time the Vikings tried to bring in a guy who had never played the game, it was a failed experiment when WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar couldn't cut it. But Lowber has already begun to spin a yarn that would make Paul Bunyan jealous.
Sidd Finch wasn't real. Lowber is. But is he "for real?" We'll find that out soon enough.
* The Andy Reid paranoia tree has a new branch in Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Much in the same way the Vikings' openness toward the media was shut off when Brad Childress came over from the Eagles, so it would seem did the same openness when Tomlin went to the Steelers. At his first minicamp, Tomlin banned photographers from filming practice. All they were able to get were players running laps and stretching.
"Sometimes a picture is worth 1,000 words," Tomlin said. "Some people are going to be in some compromising positions that maybe they don't want to see them themselves in."
Or perhaps he's trying to avoid a mini-camp scenario of giving other teams a mini-camp competitive advantage.
* Giants G.M. Jerry Reese explained why, like the Vikings, the Giants didn't get involved heavily in free agency. Citing the huge increases in the salary cap over the last two years, Reese said "the money was out of control" and mid-level players were getting franchise-player type money. Perhaps that is why the Vikings have played it cool this year as well, hoping the situation will die down and that teams won't always be paying backup tackles $5 million a year and $10 million up front.
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