Bouman Wanted for Questioning

Just as the Vikings began to contemplate the pros and cons of Todd Bouman's future with the team, he has been the first player publicly mentioned by investigators in last week's alleged sexual assault at the Arctic Blast charity event.

Heading into the offseason, the Vikings were facing a tough decision on backup QB Todd Bouman. That decision -- whether to pay him a $1 million roster bonus, trade him or release him -- took a new twist Friday when investigators went public that they want to speak with Bouman about an alleged sexual assault that took place last weekend.

The alleged victim was seen by several witnesses conversing with Bouman in the hot tub area of the hotel where the incident is claimed to have taken place. While investigators refuse to state that Bouman is a suspect, instead they wish to talk to him perhaps more as a witness to who else may have been involved, the damage may already have been done.

The 6 p.m. local newscasts were filled with video of Bouman linking him to the events and newspaper accounts were prominently displayed in Minnesota newspapers. In St. Cloud, Minn., where Bouman played his college football, the story was on the top of Page 1 -- above stories about planned terrorist attacks in coming days by Al Queda members in the U.S.

While investigators continue to say Bouman isn't the center of their search or being viewed as a suspect, in some circles in the ridiculously ironic and non-existent "court of public opinion," he has already been branded. Whether or not he is completely exhonorated won't make much of a difference. The damage to Bouman and his family has already been done and, in the process, could adversely affect the Vikings' ability to make a trade for him or some teams' interest in signing him if he becomes a free agent.

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