The thought crossed my mind for maybe a second. When word came down that Rolando McClain would be waived by the Raiders. For maybe just a second I thought, I wonder if the Vikings… But then I cut myself off. No way, I thought to myself. Not this incredible head case. Sure he has talent and sure the Vikes have a hole in the linebacker corps. But Rolando McClain?
But now I have to wonder again. Because on Friday the same idea was raised to Tom Pelissero on Twitter. A follower asked him about McClain and surprisingly Pelissero did not outright dismiss the notion. Pelissero went on to say:
McClain is still only 23 years old, has 38 NFL starts under his belt. Gets kicked around a lot but there’s a reason he was a top-10 pick.
To be clear: I don’t think Vikings sign him. But someone will.
It’s true McClain has problems. He has been arrested multiple times and he ended last season suspended after conduct detrimental to the team. But it’s also true that McClain has a ton of talent and in the right scheme with the right support system could flourish. In Minnesota he’d have the support of some pretty solid defensive coaches including Alan Williams, Fred Pagac and Mike Singletary. Not to mention Leslie Frazier himself.
I know the Vikings coaching staff failed with headcase Percy Harvin but I think there were special circumstances there. Harvin’s issues were mostly with quarterback Christian Ponder, who came in after Percy had already established himself as an alpha dog. Harvin couldn’t coexist with Popgun Ponder and one of the two had to go. The NFL being the NFL, the Vikings chose the QB over the WR. McClain would be different. He would be coming in looking for a second chance. He would be joining a youngish roster yes, but one with a pretty strong veteran backbone. I think – maybe – it could work with McClain.
Of course you would be signing him to a very small “show me” sort of contract. So there wouldn’t be a ton of money at stake. I’m still not predicting this, but I think the possibility has to be considered. And if it worked out you would have yourself a heck of a football player and a much stronger defense.