Damaged Goods?

The Vikings will make a huge investment this week to get Adrian Peterson signed. Over the last three years, the Vikings have had three straight first-round draft picks that have missed all or major portions of seasons with injuries. They're hoping (as is everyone else) that the streak stops at three and Peterson doesn't become the latest in a growing list of red-flag injury players.

When the Vikings took Adrian Peterson in the first round of the draft, some Vikings fans responded by saying, "Here we go again." The tag on Peterson was that, if he didn't have injury problems, odds are he wouldn't have made it past the Browns at No. 3 on draft day and that, even if he had, someone would have traded up to get him.

But nobody did. With reports that Peterson might need a corrective plate inserted into his collarbone/shoulder area, some teams were frightened off – and rightfully so. But for the Vikings, taking players with injury histories in the first round of the draft isn't unusual.

In 2004, the Vikings took DE Kenechi Udeze with the 20th pick in the draft. The thinking at the time was that Udeze would have been a top-10 pick if not for injuries. The Vikings weren't as concerned and took Udeze. He missed almost all of his second season due to injury and didn't record a sack in 16 games last year.

In 2005, the Vikings took Erasmus James with the 18th overall pick. Again, he was viewed as a top-10 talent, but injuries prevented him from going that high as many teams passed on him despite a leaguewide need for pass-rushing DEs. The Vikings were undeterred and took James, who missed almost all of his second season due to injuries.

In 2006, the team took Chad Greenway with the 17th overall selection and, while he had no injury history to speak of, he was injured in the first preseason game of the season and missed all of the 2006 season.

While the regime is different and the medical staff is somewhat different, Peterson's injury history doesn't involve the RB killers at draft time – knees, ankles, etc. He is simply the latest in a long line of first-rounders that have missed time in college with injuries and carry the unflattering tag of being injury-prone to the NFL.

Will Peterson buck the recent trend? The Vikings sure hope so because they have a lot invested in him being a franchise player. But, like those that preceded him, the Vikings have taken on players with injury baggage and at times paid a heavy price for it. The team has been assured that Peterson's previous injuries should have no bearing on his future success, but we've heard that song and dance before. For many fans, seeing will be required before believing is allowed.

* Former Vikings Carl Eller and Jeff Siemon were among 11 inductees enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in a ceremony at South Bend, Ind. Among the other inductees were Emmitt Smith, Bruce Smith, Mike Rozier, Charlie Ward and coach Bobby Bowden.
* Mike Tomlin has promised that the Steelers training camp is going to be tough, acknowledging that it might not set well with veterans who don't care for training camp to begin with. Sound familiar?
* Thanks to taking on his Vikings contract when they traded for Daunte Culpepper, it turns out that the Dolphins paid Pepp approximately $100,000 per completion during his stay.

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