After losing Chester Taylor to the Chicago Bears, the Vikings turned their attention to a Hall of Fame running back.
LaDainian Tomlinson, who was cut by the San Diego Chargers last month, made his first free agent visit this week when he met with the Vikings. Tomlinson spent about 24 hours with the Vikings and then flew to the Jets for another visit. He spent Thursday night and Friday night in New York, but there has been no announcement of his signing as of 7 a.m. Saturday.
During his Minnesota visit, coach Brad Childress and vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman were among a contingent of team officials who dined with Tomlinson at a Minneapolis steakhouse on Wednesday and then continued meetings on Thursday.
Tomlinson is eighth all-time in NFL history with 12,490 yards and was the league's MVP in 2006. But with plenty of tread on his tires, the soon-to-be 31-year old said he would have no problem with assuming Taylor's third-down role and playing behind Adrian Peterson.
"I don't," have a problem with it," Tomlinson said. "I know I can catch the ball really well out of the backfield, can run routes and that's something that I've always looked for as I got older in my career. Being able to fall back on that. Not having to carry the ball as much.
"I think that's what was lost in San Diego because I was the only guy that could really carry the ball 20 times. So my third-down role was reduced. So now I'm looking for that. It's something I can do and I can fit in well."
Tomlinson is a different play than Taylor was in that he's not as good of blocker but is probably an even better receiver. Last season, marked the first time in his career he did not rush for 1,000 yards and finished with career lows in rushing yards (730), carries (223) and receptions (20).
In other words, less might be more for Tomlinson when it comes to playing time.
"You're going to utilize his strengths," Childress said. "He's a plus in how he looks at the run and he's a plus in terms of being not just a decoy in the pass game. He's one of those guys who has been split all over the formation and been productive all over the formation. Until you really coach a guy, you can see him on tape and you see, yeah, he can do this and he can do this. Kind of like I told you about Adrian, the first time we put the ball in his hands. When you see him in our offense and then you let your mind go a little bit in terms of how you want to get him touches."
According to a report out of New York, Tomlinson would also be a backup to Shonn Greene there, but New York holds the advantage of familiar system and familiar coach in offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who was with Tomlinson in San Diego as well.
L.T. stays another night in N.Y.
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