Vikings notes: L.T. sees Jets as contenders

When LaDainian Tomlinson was choosing between the Jets and Vikings, he had two teams that went to their respective conference championship games vying for him. When L.T. made his choice, he said the Jets have a chance to win a championship. Does that mean the Vikings are less likely?

The Vikings' front office types that wined and dined former free-agent running back LaDainian Tomlinson couldn't have been too happy with his Tuesday conference call after he chose the New York Jets over Minnesota.

When asked about what sealed the deal with the Jets, he mentioned playing time and the excitement of coming to New York City. But, he also said he thought the Jets, who, like the Vikings, lost in the conference championship game after taking an early lead, had a chance to win a championship.

"It was pretty tough, but when it comes down to it, you've got to go with your gut feeling no matter what – you've just got to go with a feel and that's what I did," Tomlinson said. "I will tell you I've come here to win a championship and I believe this team has the ability to do it."

Many would contend the Vikings have a better shot given their success and the lack of truly dominant team in the NFC.

  • Tomlinson will have some veteran help with a Vikings connection. The Jets announced that they have re-signed Tony Richardson, a former Viking that Adrian Peterson credited with much of his early success. A.D.'s former mentor signed a one-year deal.

  • The scuttlebutt in Cincinnati is that the Bengals may again make a run at Vikings fullback Naufahu Tahi. Last year, the Bengals signed Tahi to an offer sheet only to have the Vikings match it. Tahi was tendered at a low enough level that if the Bengals were to sign him to an offer sheet and the Vikings don't match, Minnesota would receive no compensation.

  • Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana said Tuesday that he expects Brett Favre to return next year, saying, "He says he's not sure (about playing) because he doesn't want to go to training camp. He's smart. I'm sure he already has that agreement with them. Nine chances out of 10, they already know they've already had this conversation and they should let everybody know because they know he's going to come back."

  • In a strange twist of fate, Chester Taylor has gone from Adrian Peterson's backup to replacing Adrian Peterson. The second A.P. is the much lesser-known Peterson who played with the Bears from 2002-09. He wore No. 29 during his Bears career, the same number Taylor has worn with the Vikings and Ravens. The Bears announced they have given Taylor No. 29, which seems like a clear indication that Peterson, who is an unrestricted free agent, won't be coming back. If he didn't see the handwriting on the wall before, giving his number away to somebody else seems like a clear enough signal.

  • The Vikings may be a popular choice for the opening weekend's prime-time schedule. Many believe that the Vikings will open the season at New Orleans on the opening Thursday night game of Kickoff Weekend. However, if they don't they might be the guests of the Jets, who have been informed they will have one of the two Monday night games at home. Milking the Favre cred would only help ratings for the opener, as if the NFL needs any more help drawing fan support.

  • There will be a lot of NFL personnel types at the Florida Pro Day today, but they will be far from alone. Word out of Gainesville is that a crowd of 10,000 to 15,000 is expected to show up to watch their favorite Gators (including QB Tim Tebow) work out for the NFL. Don't be surprised to see a Percy Harvin sighting as well.

  • The first toe was put in the offer-sheet waters as the Eagles made Saints running back Mike Bell the first restricted free agent to be tendered an offer sheet of $1.7 million with $500,000 guaranteed. The Saints have seven days to match, but tendered Bell at such a low level that they won't receive any compensation if they don't re-sign him and the only options the Saints have is to match the offer or let him go to Philly. Not exactly the cannonball into the pool that was expected when the first offer sheets started getting handed out.

  • The trades just keep on coming. Last weekend we pointed out that nine trades of veteran players for draft picks had already taken place. That number reached 11 on Monday when defensive end Darryl Tapp was traded from the Seahawks to the Eagles Monday for DE Chris Clemons and a fourth-round draft pick. Tapp signed a contract extension with Philadelphia Tuesday after accepting his tender offer from Seattle, which allowed his rights to be traded.

  • The Bears snagged a cornerback off the free-agent market Tuesday, signing former Colt Tim Jennings. Jennings, a second-round draft pick four years ago, wasn't tendered a contract by the Colts and became an unrestricted free agent. His is the second Indianapolis cornerback to leave this offseason, joining Marlin Jackson, who signed with the Eagles last week.

  • NFL.com's Gil Brandt compiled a list of the top 75 undrafted free agents of all-time and four of them have a Vikings connection. Hall of Famer Warren Moon was rated No. 4, followed by John Randle at No. 12. Pat Williams was listed in the alphabetical listings from 26-50. Former player and head coach Mike Tice was included in the list of players 51-75.

  • Many have scoffed at the hiring of former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer by Tiger Woods to help with damage control of his tarnished image. But Fleischer has some experience in the area of sports public relations. He spent a month as a public relations consultant to the Packers in August 2008 after the team traded Favre to the Jets and there was considerable backlash from their fans. Maybe Tiger knows what he's doing … or maybe Aaron Rodgers' play helped out a little bit in soothing bitter Packers fans over the loss of No. 4.

  • You have to love Packers fans. A story on CBS News this week reported that one street sign in Green Bay gets stolen so often the city's public works crew has been forced to install higher street poles to make them harder to remove. The sign? Brett Favre Pass? Nope. Reggie White Way? Nah. Lombardi Avenue? Uh-uh. It's Mullet Pass. Good for you, Packer fans, who apparently enjoy another time-honored Midwest tradition aside from the Packers.


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