LaDainian Tomlinson Has Been Cut. Some Think the Vikings Should Grab Him.

LaDainian Tomlinson, a former NFL MVP and likely Hall-of-Famer, is now a former member of the San Diego Chargers.

Finances were partly responsible for the decision to cut Tomlinson.  The Charges would’ve owed him a $2 million bonus had he remained on the roster into March, and the team decided the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Of course, had Tomlinson’s performance been up to snuff, the money would not have been so big an issue.  Unfortunately, Tomlinson is coming off the worst year of his career statistically, and another season in which injuries hampered him.

Oft-injured running backs with quickly declining numbers do not stick around long enough to collect bonuses.

Tomlinson now finds himself on the open market, in a year when, barring some unforeseen series of events, teams will be operating without a salary cap, and therefore might be willing to spend some money on depth.

It’s doubtful anyone would think of Tomlinson as a #1-type back at this point, but he could be a solid complementary player on a team that already possesses a workhorse runner.

Provided that team is interested in a faded one-time MVP whose toughness and desire have been questioned throughout his career.

As it happens, the Vikings are one team that could, if things break a certain way, be in the market for a #2 running back.

Chester Taylor is set to become a free agent this off-season too, and could have a lot of suitors, considering his skills and lack of mileage.  Should the Vikings lose Taylor, the logic goes, they might see Tomlinson as a nice #2 behind Adrian Peterson.

Some of the problems with Tomlinson have already been outlined above.  He’s old.  He’s way on the downside.  And, even when he was at his peak, there were questions about whether he was gritty and gutty enough to carry a team to the championship.

Obviously, if the Vikings were to sign Tomlinson, they would not be asking him to carry them anywhere.  They would only expect him to fill the same role Chester Taylor has the last few seasons – basically, to be a third-down back, a receiver out of the backfield and a fill-in for AD.

Of course, one thing you must take into consideration with any #2 player is, will he be able to step in for the #1 guy should the #1 guy get hurt or otherwise miss time.

To put it plainly:  Should Peterson become injured or have to be benched due to fumbling problems, would Tomlinson be a guy you felt a lot of confidence in as the #1 back?

Maybe, for a game or two, Tomlinson could fill in.  But considering his injury history, I don’t know that I would feel very safe having him in there.

Chester Taylor, on the other hand, is a guy I have a lot of confidence in.  At this point, Taylor is a better player than Tomlinson, and a more reliable player – and, as a bonus, he already knows the offense.

Obviously, if Taylor leaves, you have no choice but to fill that need, and perhaps Tomlinson would fit the mold.  But to me Taylor should still be option #1 as the #2 back, with guys like LT as contingency plans only.

In the end, any Viking fan who pines for Tomlinson is probably responding more to his fame than the reality of what he is as a player anymore.  Some people love splashy moves.  But other people try to take a more practical approach.

I could live with LT, I suppose, if I had to.  But I certainly wouldn’t think of him as some potential big-time player who would significantly help Brett Favre and the gang make another run at a championship.

And anyone who thinks LT should move in for AD just because AD coughed the ball up a few times – well, I don’t know what to say about that, except that you need serious psychiatric help.

Next Vikings Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 77 Sep12:00at St. Louis RamsBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Adrian Peterson Brett Favre Chester Taylor Ladainian Tomlinson Minnesota Vikings

  • Mike

    I hope Chester stays, but money will likely take him to a Vikings enemy – the Lions or Bears or Seahawks. Get LT, maybe he can teach AD about hanging on to the ball.

  • Pat

    Sign Him, Trade Peterson (Walker) and build for the future

  • Pingback: Rumour Mill Tuesday – LT, CT, Randy and other random buzzcocks. « Minnesota Vikings UK Blog

  • 3rdStoneFromTheSun

    LT is washed up

  • Mike

    The Star Tribune asks:
    Are the Vikings a fit for Westbrook?
    Coach Brad Childress was with the Eagles from 1999 to 2005 and became the offensive coordinator the same year that Westbrook joined the team.
    He knows the WCO.

  • Gene

    I would rather have the fumbling AP on my squad than to have him elsewhere and getting a ring…He will be fine with either Taylor or Tomlinson as the number 2.

  • SH28

    Rick Spielman says the draft will be really strong draft because of a heavy infusion of talented juniors. That is very good news for the Vikings and the rest of the teams with late picks. The Vikes should be able to find some solid help at safety. The secondary proved to be the weakest area of an otherwise superior defense. Secondary is considered one of the deepest areas of the draft, and one safety prospect whom the Vikings could land in the first round is Taylor Mays of USC.

    I could go along with that!

  • Mike

    My priority would be Chester, Westbrook and LT in that order because they have 1300, 1700 and 3400 total touches (rushes plus catches) over their careers, respectively, and all three are 30 years old.

  • Jason

    I’m not sure I’d bring anyone in if Taylor left. Certainly not LT or Westbrook, given their injury history. Maybe I’m naive, but perhaps it’s time to develop Ian Johnstone from the practice squad, or their 3rd RB (whom I can’t recall right now).

  • Jim

    We would have had home field advantage if AD could just hold on to the fuckin ball. We would have been in the super bowl if AD could just hold on to the fuckin ball.

    And Danzinski is still a douche bag.

  • SH28

    “The best four teams in the NFL can’t sign unrestricted free agents unless they lose them, so the Vikings will concentrate on the draft” to fill their positional needs especially in the secondary at cornerback and/or safety and the offensive line.