Another future Hall of Famer on the way?

The Vikings are considering the services of running back LaDainian Tomlinson, according to a report Monday. But how much does Tomlinson have left? We take a look at his declining numbers the last few years.

Are the Vikings collecting Hall of Famers? It would appear that might be the case, as, a year after signing Brett Favre, LaDainian Tomlinson might be next.

While nothing is official at this point, the rumor mill is buzzing that Tomlinson, not former Eagle Brian Westbrook, is on the Vikings' wish list as the replacement for Chester Taylor, according to the Star Tribune.

Just two years ago, the question being thrown around by NFL analysts was who is the greatest running back in the league – Tomlinson or Adrian Peterson? That question is no longer being asked, because many believe that L.T.'s days as a featured back are over. Now the question is how much gas does Tomlinson have left in the tank?

There is no questioning Tomlinson's ability. Over his nine-year career, he had 300 or more carries in each of the first seven seasons and, in those nine seasons, he has missed just three games due to injury. His ironman capability has never been argued, but what is a concern is the declining production he has seen over the last two seasons.

After rushing for 1,815 yards, averaging 5.2 yards a carry and scoring an NFL-record 28 touchdowns in 2006, all of Tomlinson's numbers have declined – from rushing attempts (315-292-223 over the last three years) to yards (1,474-1,110-730) to average per carry (4.7-3.8-3.3). But, much in the same way other great athletes' numbers have declined late in their career, the only real comparison that is made with Tomlinson is with his own numbers from earlier in his career.

Tomlinson was released last month by the Chargers due in large part to salary concerns. He was due a $2 million roster bonus this month and a $5 million base salary in 2010, which San Diego deemed too high a price to pay for lessening returns. Like Brett Favre a year ago, Tomlinson has remained publicly silent over his plans for 2010 and there are some questions as to whether he will be willing to accept a supporting role behind Peterson in the Vikings offense. But one thing seems to be clear – the Vikings are strongly considering making a push his way and, if they succeed, Vikings fans will get another chance to see a first-ballot Hall of Famer at work in the Metrodome. If he can come anywhere close to approaching the success Favre had in his first year as a Viking, it could be money well spent.


  • The trial between the NFL and Pat Williams and Kevin Williams got underway Monday with opening arguments from both sides concerning how the NFL handled its drug testing policy. The case is expected to last a week, and both of the Williamses are expected to take the stand today. Judge Gary Larson ruled Monday that Brad Childress can be called as a witness in the trial. The first day of the trial had numerous delays as attorneys for both sides continually objected over evidence that would or wouldn't be admissible during the trial. At one point Larson dressed down the Williamses' attorney, Peter Ginsberg, for arguing with the court. Only one witness took the stand Monday – Dr. John Lombardo, the administrator of the league's drug-testing policy.

  • The Vikings haven't had a kicking specialist on the team since the Gary Anderson days, but the signing of Rhys Lloyd to a two-year contract Monday might be the sign that says that is the route the Vikings will go in 2010. Although he's coming off a career year in terms of field goal percentage, Ryan Longwell doesn't have the best kickoff leg, while Lloyd has been able to get touchbacks on 30 percent of his kickoffs for the Carolina Panthers over the last two years – one of the highest percentages in the league.

  • The Vikings' interest in Phillip Buchanon is far from a done deal, but a lot of times when rumors like that get started, they do so for a good reason and Buchanon might be the insurance the Vikings need in the event Cedric Griffin isn't ready by the start of the 2010 season.

  • Former Viking Darren Sharper may have to wait to sign with a team. He underwent knee surgery last week, just two days before the start of free agency and, given his condition, would have a hard time passing any team's pre-signing physical at this point.

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