A New Attitude Coming in the Twin Cities

There seems to be a new attitude and confidence emitting from Winter Park this offseason, particularly when it comes to taking carefully calculated chances on players with red flags. For all that Wilf, Childress, and Spielman have seemed to improve the public’s image of the Vikings off-the-field behavior in recent years, it looks like something is brewing for better or worse.

Percy Harvin is receiving a lot of attention ever since the Vikings chose to make him their first round draft pick of 2009. He is thought to be a hot-headed, hard to coach player that has very little respect for authority.

He also tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Combine, even though he knew he’d be tested. While no real legal incidents happened during his time at Florida, Harvin had a few run-ins during his high school years, and it is also rumored that the Gators had to go to great lengths to cover up some not-so-great incidents that did happen during his college years.

Spielman and Childress feel that they did their due diligence and are confident that there are no worries about Harvin’s future as a Viking. Wilf also signed off on the draft choice.

Phil Loadholt has received much more positive attention when it comes to the Vikings draft class. However, he is not free from flaws of his own. Two of those flaws come from arrests related to drinking while driving and disorderly conduct. The Vikings have not really spoken to these arrests since drafting Loadholt.

Jamarca Sanford was the Vikings last pick of this weekend’s draft, and he also comes with an arrest record which includes stealing a car stereo, disorderly conduct, and failure to comply. Sanford told Childress he didn’t need to worry about that ever again and apparently Childress believed him.

Bryant McKinnie got a vote of confidence this weekend when the Vikings passed up a chance to draft Michael Oher, who possibly could’ve allowed the Vikings to trade McKinnie for good value and let Oher step into the left tackle spot.

About a year ago, after McKinnie got arrested for beating up a bouncer with a pole, many fans would’ve applauded a move of this sort, particularly when you consider they still could’ve taken Loadholt in the second and McKinnie’s giant contract would’ve been off of the Vikings books. However, a year after the arrest and multiple years after the Love Boat Scandal, fans and coaches seem content with Big Mac as their left tackle.

A very immediate worry for the Vikings is whether or not they will have to start the 2009 season with their top two defensive tackles, Pat and Kevin Williams. The Williams’ tested positive last season for StarCaps which is a water pill that can be used as a masking agent for steroids. Pat and Kevin looked to bring the issue outside the NFL, attempting to get a court to look at the case and repeal the suspensions, and a decision should be coming before the start of training camp.

Perhaps what gives the Vikings such confidence in bringing in players with checkered pasts is the way in which the Jared Allen trade has worked out thus far. Allen had been arrested multiple times for driving drunk, but the Vikings did their homework before trading a bunch of picks and shelling out a gigantic contract to obtain Allen, and so far so good.

However, one should be cautious when declaring the allen trade a success at this point. While he is a team, media, and fan favorite now in Minnesota, all it takes is one mistake from Allen and the whole thing begins to go south.

So when you throw all these guys onto the same field, in combination with others that aren’t exactly squeaky clean, what exactly are the Vikings looking to get? Well, a division title and a Super Bowl win is what the recipe is intended to cook up. However, one has to wonder when looking at the rap sheets above, if something else, something more dangerous and detrimental and embarrassing isn’t brewing at Winter Park.

For now, this offseason has been one of the best in recent memory as far as team image goes. Here’s hoping that’ll continue for a long, long time.

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