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.