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John McMullen. 14th October, 2005 - 5:21 pm

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You have to love the Minnesota Vikings.

And you have to wonder if the creators of ESPN?s Playmakers were watching Seinfeld one night and said to themselves - ?We can just leave a tape recorder in a Winter Park locker room and boom.......there?s a show.?

As a former beat writer for this wonderful, tortured organization, I truly miss the stories handed to me on a silver platter.

With the help of Jim Souhan at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, let?s look at the Police blotter - Shall We?
1986 - It all started here with my personal favorite. All Pro defensive tackle Keith Millard pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct at a Bloomington hotel. In a story the locals still love to recite, Millard told the police officers who responded to ?Go ahead and shoot? because "My arms are more powerful than your guns." Millard?s hilarious roid rage episode seemed to open up the flood gates.

1986-90 - Nine Vikings, including quarterback and ?leader? Tommy Kramer, were arrested for drunken driving while receiver Buster Rhymes was treated for cocaine dependency. (The level of Minnesota chemical dependency was such that the Hazelden Treatment Facility became famous. They now boast being ?The leader in alcohol and drug rehabilitation, education and recovery.?)

1988 - The Vikings signed and then released cornerback and convicted sex offender Mossy Cade after the public revolted. (Hey, Cade sure could cover.)

1995 - Running back Keith Henderson pleaded guilty to three counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

1995 - Quarterback Warren Moon, who had spent 20 years in pro football with a sterling reputation felt the curse of the Purple. First Moon reached an out-of-court settlement with a former cheerleader who alleged that he forced her to have sex with him and harassed her. (In Moon?s defense, I can tell you he denied the allegations and that the Vikings? cheerleaders are quite attractive.)

1995 - Moon also allegedly hit his wife in the head and choked her to the point where she almost passed out, according to police in Missouri City, Texas. (Moon had political aspirations in Texas and Washington before this incident. His wife did not press charges but the case went to trial anyway, Moon was found not guilty.)

1995 - The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the Vikings paid $150,000 to head off a sexual harassment suit against Vikings assistant coach Richard Solomon, then head coach Dennis Green?s best friend. (Green was later hit with a paternity and sexual harassment suit of his own.)

1999 - Safety Orlando Thomas was disciplined by the NFL after pleading no contest to the misdemeanor charge of simple battery on his wife.

2002 - Receiver Randy Moss knocked a traffic cop to the ground with his car, then was charged with drug possession (marijuana). He later reached an out-of-court settlement with the officer.

2002 - Two women claimed to be sexually assaulted at the team's Arctic Blast fundraiser. (Former Viking Ted Brown and then backup quarterback Todd Bouman were implicated. Brown recently reached a plea-bargain while Bouman was never charged with anything.)

2004 - Linebackers E.J. Henderson and Michael Nattiel and tight end Steve Farmer were arrested after officers said they saw the players assaulting a man outside the Tabu nightclub in Minneapolis. (I can tell you first hand that the gentleman hit by Nattiel was the only thing he hit all season.) And what a year 2005 has been:

2005 - Running back Onterrio Smith was suspended by the NFL for a year for violating the league's substance abuse policy, two months after being caught at an airport with The Original Whizzinator, a kit designed to circumvent drug tests.

2005 - Coach Mike Tice was fined by the NFL for scalping Super Bowl tickets.

2005 - Defensive tackle Kevin Williams was arrested on charges of domestic abuse.

2005 - Bryant McKinnie and another teammate were cited for fighting at a downtown Minneapolis gas station..

2005 - A number of Vikings chartered two boats (Fred Smoot and Mewelde Moore are the only two who have admitted being on the boats at this time) and allegedly engaged in such embarrassing and reckless fashion that the employees feared for their safety.

And that?s not all. Mr. Souhan forgot the levity that Kenny Mixon and former executive Mike Kelly brought to the table but I digress......

The point here is to cheer up Vikings fans - it could be worse.

This really does happen all over the NFL. It?s just that most cities don?t care. In puritanical Minnesota, it?s front-page news.

If Red McCombs was ever granted his wish and got to move the club to Los Angles, a drunken party boat on the way to Catalina with lap dances and oral sex would be on page 16c of the Los Angeles Times.

In my new home base of Philadelphia, the crew members would have asked for Donovan McNabb?s autograph while he was getting pleasured.

Remember Michael Irvin?s coke and hooker parties? Do you really think Dallas cares? They have three rings baby!
I mean look at Baltimore where they skip the pleasantries like DUI?s bar brawls, prostitution and rape and skip right to murder and drug running.

It?s time for Minnesota to join the rest of us in 2005.
These are NFL players............They are entitled..................Just ask them.

(And just a quick note...If you don?t understand sarcasm; please don?t respond to this article.)

-You can reach John McMullen at: jmcmullen1@comcast.net.