It’s been a rough week to be a former Pro-Bowl running back.
First the Chargers said goodbye to one-time MVP LaDainian Tomlinson, leading to lots of tears and speculation on where LT would wind up next. Then, just a day later, the Philadelphia Eagles cut ties with Brian Westbrook, who will forever be remembered by Vikings fans as the guy whose long TD run knocked us out of the playoffs.
The LT speculation almost immediately centered around the Vikings, but in my estimation, such speculation is silly as LT is just not the right guy for our situation.
Brian Westbrook is a slightly different story.
Because Westbrook is a Philly guy, and Brad Childress is a Philly guy, the Vikings became Team A in all discussion of where Westbrook might end up next season. Whether Chilly really wants Westbrook is unknown, but given his track record of pursuing former Eagles, it makes sense to at least raise the possibility.
But does Westbrook really make sense for the Vikings? If the Purple were to lose Chester Taylor to free agency, could Westbrook step in as the new third-down back?
He knows the system – that’s good. He tends to suffer concussions – that’s bad.
The physical thing is really the main worry. Because, were Westbrook to come in, he would not only be our third-down back, he’d be our #2 running back, making him the guy who would have to start if Adrian Peterson were to get hurt. It’s the same issue I have with LT: I don’t want a #2 back who is a physical question mark, especially given AD’s reckless running style and fumbling tendencies.
And what if Westbrook himself got hurt, as he seems to every season? Then AD would have to be our third-down back, and we know how inadequate he is at certain skills related to that particular role, especially blocking.
The only really attractive thing about Westbrook is, if he were able to stay healthy, he still has pretty dynamic receiving and tackle-dodging skills. It’s hard not to drool at the thought of a refreshed and healthy Westbrook teaming with our other weapons.
The drool factor plus Chilly’s history with Eagles guys plus Westbrook’s familiarity with the system make him, in my mind, a marginally better option than LT. But, as far as I’m concerned, the main focus should be getting Chester Taylor signed, so this whole running back thing never becomes an issue.