PFT- Artis Hicks, an offensive lineman on the 2009 Vikings, told Jeff Pearlman, the author of a new Brett Favre biography, that the Vikings were doing the same thing that got the Saints busted.
“It was part of the culture,” Hicks said, in a book excerpt published by Deadspin. “I had coaches start a pot and all the veterans put in an extra $100, $200, and if you hurt someone special, you get the money. There was a bottom line, and I think we all bought in: you’re there to win, and if taking out the other team’s best player helps you win, hey, it’s nothing personal. Just business.”
Brad Childress was the head coach of the Vikings for Hicks’ entire four-year stint with the team. Childress informed the NFL after that NFC Championship Game that he had heard that the Saints had a bounty on Favre, and Childress testified in former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s appeals hearing on Bountygate. He has stayed quiet about the matter publicly, perhaps not wanting to say anything that could see him accused of hypocrisy, given Hicks’ accusation.
Hey Vikings fans...
Seriously though, I'm going to do Artis Hicks a solid right here. I'm going to go ahead and retract his statement for him. I don't want to question his memory but clearly the Saints gave him so many "illegal" shots upside the head in the 2009 NFC Championship Game that he's still misremembering the stuff that took place in his own locker room. Surely the Vikings couldn't have been running a bounty program the exact same season that their Head Coach eventually went under oath and testified that the Saints were running an alleged bounty program. That simply can't be accurate. I don't know about you, but I don't remember Brad Childress being forced out of football for a year while a litany of his players were repeatedly defending their honor in court. As Sean Payton, Jonathon Vilma, and I remember it, that was the going rate for having non-contracted performance based incentives, no?
Plus, that would mean that the Saints didn't gain any sort of competitive advantage from (potentially) paying their players a couple hundred bucks to legally hit opposing players - within the constructs of the most violent sport on Earth - as hard as they possibly could. According to Vikings fans, the only reason the Saints won the Super Bowl that year was because of BountyGate so I have a hard time believing that the only thing that saved from their own BountyGate was an NFL-led investigation that was prompted by the bitterness and hypocrisy of the opposing head coach.
Do you how bad it would look if any of this were true? I mean, "part of the culture"? If it were just part of the culture then that would mean that the NFL intentionally targeted a championship team - for a league wide practice - just to make an example out of them. Wasn't Roger Goodell in power at that point? Would he really have comprised the sanctity of the game by making one franchise take the fall as his token act of upholding player safety? That would be a pretty deflating damnation, so I think we should see what Tom Brady thinks about the validity of it before we declare it fact.
If only for today, 'vindication' is spelled 'WHO DAT'.
Live look at Vikings nation...