Rusty Tillman has the credentials to be a special teams coach. He was a wildman in the Bill Bates mode as a player with the Redskins and spent many years in that capacity with the Seahawks, coaching current Vikings head coach Mike Tice.
But, when Tillman was announced as the Vikings new special teams coach Friday, all many fans wanted to know about was his quasi-famous run-in with Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura.
Tillman, whose last (professional?) coaching stint was in Vince McMahon's failed XFL for the New York/New Jersey Hitmen, had a classic run-in with Ventura -- who at the time was polishing his image as the walking equivalent to a Pillsbury Doughboy bobble head doll.
Desperate for ratings, McMahon tried to create a feud between Ventura and Tillman, a ploy Tillman wanted to avoid at all costs. Instead, Tillman wants to focus on improving the special teams, which some analysts have claimed cost the Vikings as many as five games last year.
Will he be able to avoid the talk of him and Governor Goofy? Hopefully it will be to discuss how the special teams have improved, not that they continue to be awful.
* The Vikings coaching staff returned to Minnesota Friday after spending the week looking at players during the Senior Bowl workouts in Mobile, Ala. The game will be played today and will feature several first- and second-round selections in April's draft.
* Former Vikings DE James Harris was ordered to pay $110,000 in back child support to his former wife and another Minnesota woman Friday. Harris, who had fought the charges initially, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor federal charges and was ordered to pay the women as part of his plea agreement.
Vikes Hire Tillman
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