Lack of info leads to conspiracy theories

The Vikings don't like to talk publicly about injuries and contracts, so the lack of information leads to conspiracy theories that some of the team's biggest stars are looking for contract extensions more than they are in need of recovery from injury.

In a covert sport like football, where the truth is relative when it comes to things like disclosing injuries or contract negotiations, people are left to speculate about what is going on behind the scenes.

It was only a year after the fact that fans (and league officials) found out that Brett Favre had a biceps tendon issue and that he, then-head coach Eric Mangini and the Jets all knew about it and did nothing to report the injury. The same story has played itself out with every team, opening the door to conspiracy theories.

The Vikings find themselves being subject to the conspiracy theory as some are starting to openly question if some of the young Vikings offensive stars are looking for the "Favre treatment." While most conspiracy theories in the end don't hold water, there is always a kernel of truth that allows them to germinate and grow. When you look at the Vikings three-man bench team, it makes you wonder "what if?"

Adrian Peterson is said to be looking for a contract extension like the ones that have begun to be handed out to the draft class of 2007. While nobody has acknowledged that a contract had anything to do with it, A.D. missed significant portions of the offseason workout program, including the team's mandatory minicamp – making the term "mandatory" somewhat ironic. He has also sat out portions of training camp with a hamstring injury, which some also point at as a player other Favre looking for the "star treatment."

Sidney Rice hasn't taken a snap during training camp as he has been on the physically-unable-to-perform list since the start of camp with a hip injury that wasn't required to be reported by the Vikings, head coach Brad Childress or even Rice himself. But it was reported by Rice's agent, Drew Rosenhaus. As many players and coaches have given the "I'm not a doctor" answer to many injuries questions, Rosenhaus is many things, but a doctor he isn't. Some are claiming Rice is physically able to practice but hasn't because he wants his contract re-done. It's hard not to side with Rice, because the team's best receiver is the lowest paid among the veterans. Without the benefit of supporting evidence that Rice is actually too injured to play, the conspiracy types are able to run fast and loose with the facts and claim Rice's sidelining is contract related.

Third is Percy Harvin. He has been missing from training camp since the second day of practice. So covert is the Vikings attitude toward transparency with the media, that it took two days and multiple questions to even learn that the death in Harvin's family was his grandmother. Now Harvin has been subject to conspiracy theorists. He has a history of missing time in practice – from the rookie symposium to his rookie minicamp to days of practice during the week of the regular season with migraines. As of Monday, it was 10 days that Harvin has missed. While not contract-related (he's in just his second year), the conspiracy gang has been given more fodder that he is using his grief as an explanation to miss the grind of training camp.

Brad Childress put an end to that Tuesday when he admitted that Harvin is dealing with "some migraines.

Whether there may not be a grain of truth to any of the conspiracy theories, the subversive nature of the NFL giving out information has given rise to such conspiracy theories. The truth is out there. We just have to find it. What makes it difficult is that nobody is talking.

TUESDAY NOTES

  • The popular Madden video game went on sale at midnight Tuesday morning with lines waiting to get their geek fix as soon as possible. Early word is that America's love of football is going to be reflected in sales numbers, which some industry analysts are predicting will be the hottest selling opening in the history of the Madden series.

  • While the non-retirement of Favre has Vikings fans hopeful, it has also been reflected in the Vikings dropping back into the lowest odds among NFL teams. Prior to the speculation last week that Favre was retiring, the Vikings went from being the co-favorite in the NFC (according to the MGM Grand sports book) to fourth place, behind the Cowboys, Packers and Saints. With the feeling now that Favre is coming back, the Vikings Super Bowl odds dropped to 7:1, behind only Dallas (6:1) in the NFC and back ahead of the Packers (8:1) and the Saints (10:1).

  • Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, who was at Vikings practice over the weekend, reports that the Vikings are using a two-pronged attack to make sure Favre returns. First is to offer him a mammoth contract that could be worth as much as $20 million. The other is to have teammates inundate Favre with calls and text messages telling him how much he is loved and how much he is needed by teammates looking for a championship. Glazer postulates that the combo of money and love will be enough to get Favre to return for a 20th season.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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