A Look At What Tomlinson Could Provide

Posted by cjsiewert on March 10, 2010 – 7:10 pm

When reports surfaced that free agent RB LaDainian Tomlinson would visit the Vikings this week, many people chimed in on whether or not the 2006 NFL MVP would be a good fit in Minnesota.

Considering that a lot of speculation has been circulating throughout different media outlets on the LT issue, I wanted to use this space to offer an objective opinion on the positives and negatives of the 9-year veteran joining the Vikings roster, if he does indeed agree to a deal in Minnesota

– A good receiver out of the backfield: Tomlinson has posted over 50 receptions every season of his career except for last year, including a mind-blowing 100 receptions in 2003 with 725 yards receiving and 4 TDs.

– Sustainability issues: Tomlinson has carried the ball 2,880 times during his career.  Will the wear and tear on his body after nearly 3,000 carries limit his productivity in Year 10 of his career? In 2009, LT had a career-low in rushing attempts (223) and yards (730).

– Tough workload may be alleviated by secondary role: With the Vikings making it clear that Adrian Peterson will be their #1 back, Tomlinson would be able to keep his legs fresh by coming in for certain situations, such as obvious passing downs and 3rd down scenarios.

– Ego: Just last year Tomlinson proclaimed that he was a better back than Peterson because of his all-around capabilities. In a matter of just a couple of seasons, Tomlinson could go from the best RB in the NFL to not even being the best RB on his team.

– Mentor for Peterson: With 9 years of experience running the ball, Tomlinson could provide veteran leadership for Peterson and also for youngsters Ian Johnson, James Johnson and Albert Young.

Certainly, there are many more factors that will come into play during the Vikings talk with Tomlinson, but it will be interesting to see how team officials weigh-out the positives and negatives.

Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 39 Comments »

Childress, Spielman Talk Tomlinson

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 10, 2010 – 5:53 pm

Many times when a free agent visits with a prospective NFL team, said team doesn’t allow said free agent to leave the building without a contract. With free agent RB LaDainian Tomlinson visiting the Vikings this week, some are under the assumption that the Vikings and Tomlinson won’t part ways until a deal has been reached.

But both Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress and VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman, while speaking with reporters at Wednesday’s University of Minnesota pro day, didn’t sound as if they were operating under such an assumption. While they are no doubt interested in the idea of adding Tomlinson to their roster (which is why they’re visiting with him), they’re just as insistent that they do their homework before making a decision.

“We’re just going through our process,” Spielman explained. “He was a guy out there that we felt was a viable option and we’ll go ahead and have him come in; we’ll visit with him and just see where things are. It’s just a normal process that we go through.”

Among the topics that will likely be addressed during Tomlinson’s visit, aside from money and length of contract, are surely Tomlinson’s specific role in the Vikings offense and as a veteran on a team that went 12-4 last year along the way to the NFC Championship Game.

“I think probably he’s coming in and touching and tasting us, and we’re doing the same thing to see where his mind’s at,” Childress, who talked to Tomlinson on Wednesday, said. “It’s a little bit of both. Does the situation fit him? I’m sure he wants to know what our vision is for him. And then our sense for him. Will he fit? From a mindset standpoint, from a physical standpoint, from a system standpoint.”

Childress indicated that part of the Vikings decision-making process as it relates to Tomlinson is to turn to resources who might be familiar with the 5-time Pro Bowler, such as LB Ben Leber (a teammate of LT’s in San Diego), G Steve Hutchinson (who shares an agent with LT) and also Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner.

Both Childress and Spielman commented on Wednesday that LT has gas remaining in the tank, even after a 9-year career in San Diego that saw him carry the ball 2,880 times. If both sides like what they here this week while meeting with one another, LT may be driving the rock with Peterson for the Vikings in 2010.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 12 Comments »

Spielman Speaks At Minnesota Pro Day

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 10, 2010 – 2:29 pm

Greetings. Back at Winter Park after spending the morning at the University of Minnesota’s pro day, an event that featured more athletes than I expected and also a significant contingent of representatives from teams across the NFL.

As we stated earlier today, the NFL Scouting Combine is now fully in the rear view mirror and that means that colleges and universities across the country will be holding their pro days. At these pro days workouts, much of the on-field work is the same as the on-field work the players do at the Combine. A big difference between the pro days and the Combine, though, is that the pro days give players who weren’t invited to the Combine – or who didn’t workout at the Combine – a chance to work out in front of NFL coaches and scouts.

In addition, NFL coaches and scouts are also cross-checking some of the information they’ve already gathered on the players they’ve already seen.

“It verifies the numbers that we’re looking at,” Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman told reporters today. “Some of these kids were at the Combine…trying to see if they improve their numbers from the Combine. The guys that didn’t go to the Combine, you get an opportunity to see them and we brought a lot of our coaches down as well to put those guys through drills.”

But like the Combine, these pro days aren’t just about how the players perform on the field.

“When you get to these schools – because I’ll be out the next couple weeks at a lot of these pro days -this is when you get an opportunity to grab the coaches when they’re not as stressed or time constrained as during the season,” Spielman explained. “So you get an opportunity to visit with them. You get an opportunity to visit with the kids again one more time.”

Once the pro days are complete, NFL coaches and personnel departments will sift through the information and numbers to continue their evaluation of this year’s draft class. While the importance of the Combine and pro days should not be overlooked, Spielman also referenced another important aspect to evaluating a draft class.

“Again, they’re coming out here to perform and try to improve their numbers,” Spielman said, “but it’s always going to come down to what you’ve seen on tape in the fall.”

We have more information to share with your from today’s pro day at the University of Minnesota, including comments from Spielman and Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress about Gophers WR Eric Decker, LaDainian Tomlinson’s scheduled visit to Winter Park tomorrow and more Vikings issues. So stay tuned…

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 1 Comment »

Heading To University Of Minnesota Pro Day

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 10, 2010 – 7:54 am

With the NFL Scouting Combine now fully in the rear view mirror, the time has come for college football programs across the country to hold their annual “pro days.”

Pro days are basically another chance for the incoming draft class to show NFL coaches and scouts that they have what it takes to play at the next level. Many of the workouts and drills the athletes participate in are similar to those that are held at the Combine, the difference is that the athletes are working out in a familiar environment with familiar coaches and teammates.

Generally, athletes are expected to perform better at their pro days than they did at the Combine, although some players will parlay a strong Combine performance with another impressive outing at their pro day.

Anyway, the University of Minnesota will hold its pro day today and I’ll be heading to campus in a few minutes to check it out. I’ll have a report later today when I return to Winter Park.

In the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter – @VikingsFootball. If I have any special notes or observations during today’s event I’ll be tweeting.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 5 Comments »