Cornerback Karl Paymah signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday and took the opportunity to criticize Minnesota on his way out, just as he did Denver when he left there for the Vikings.
After four years with the Broncos, Paymah came to the Vikings full of bluster and confidence and talking of competing for a starting job.
"I've got the size and speed to make an impact right away," he said after signing with the Vikings last year. "(Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier) expresses interest in me as far as my speed and covering the faster guys like (Devin) Hester and the bigger guys like (Calvin) Johnson in Detroit. Those guys like that, that's what I'm here for."
Less than a year later, the Vikings made no offer to the restricted free agent, allowing him to leave without any interest in having the right of first refusal. He was the only restricted free agent to which the Vikings made no offer. Paymah finished the 2009 season with 14 tackles and four passes defensed in 12 games played, including two starts.
But by the end of the 2009 season, he was inactive for the final four regular-season games and both playoff contests. The Vikings were content to use Benny Sapp and rookie Asher Allen over Paymah.
Now he claims he knew all along his time with the Vikings would be limited.
"I knew all along it was going to be a short time in Minnesota. I knew about the city and everything, but as far as growing as a player and what I needed at that time, I felt like it would be a great fit," he said.
Asked why he knew it would be a short stay, he referenced the Minnesota winters.
"I mean, that's pretty much self-explanatory. They have a great team, a great situation, but everything else, for most people, they would try to get out of. It's negative-40 (degrees), not really pleasant. As far as the team, it was a great situation, but it's not somewhere you want to stay for a long period of time."
"… I was there, I experienced it all. I didn't think it was possible, really. It was really like a myth to me. It's like one of those things where you know it's going to hurt, but you kind of want to feel it just to say you did it. It was something like that. One day I was stuck outside my house for about 10 minutes and I felt like I was going to die. Ten minutes and you get frostbite. It's a whole different ballgame out there."
Interestingly, last year he said he received nothing but positive reviews about Minnesota.
"I talked to everybody – everybody that's in my phone book. Everybody that's somehow connected to Tampa or Minnesota and friends and family, everybody," he said in April. "I heard nothing but good things about Minnesota and the people out here – the city and staff, nothing but good things."
Paymah's comments shouldn't be a surprise, though. He was critical of Denver's approach under new head coach Josh McDaniels last year as well and critical of the coaching he received under the previous coaching staff there, saying he got by on raw talent alone.
Once he was in Minnesota, he had nothing but praise for the Vikings.
"It's a good thing. You guys have got a good thing over here," he said last year. "It makes football fun again, to tell you the truth, because Denver, probably the last two or three years, you just wanted to go in and get up out of there. It was really your job, but it feels like high school again, where you want to come out and just fly around and make plays and you've got the confidence of your coaches and everybody. It's not really a business here. It's just really a family atmosphere and I'm looking forward to thriving in that system."
His "thriving" only lasted 12 games before he made inactive at the end of the season.
But when it came time to choose a new team for 2010, he said it was between Minnesota and San Francisco, and being a California guy he saw no need to check weather.com before joining the 49ers.
"I just had to check the CommonSense.com from being raised in California. It's a pretty simple decision," he said.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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