Minnesota Vikings Own the Name of Most Criminal NFL Team in Recent Years
Like the plundering Norwegians of old with the same name, the Minnesota Vikings have a dubious image among NFL teams. The gruff notoriety isn’t due to a vicious defense or no-holds-barred offense, but rather for having the biggest criminal record among teams in the league.
With Adrian Peterson getting arrested recently for an incident at a Texas nightclub, attention is being focused on the ever-growing rap sheet of Minnesota Vikings team members over the past several years.
In the past year and a half, the Vikings have had 10 player arrests – double that of the Detroit Lions, the next worst team in arrests. Among these arrests are Peterson’s recent Texas incident and Chris Cook’s Fall 2011 domestic abuse case. These 10 arrests add to an already lengthy criminal record for the team. Since 2000, the team has experienced 39 citations or arrests. Following the Vikings on the list of most legal offenses over the past 12 years are the Cincinnati Bengals with 37 offenses, Denver Broncos with 33 offenses, and Tennessee Titans with 30.
Legal issues for team members has been a steady problem in recent memory for the Vikings, but 2005 stands as the worst year of the bunch. In 2005; the famous “Love Boat” scandal led to charges for four players, Head Coach Mike Tice was given a $100,000 fine for scalping Super Bowl tickets, and running back Onterrio Smith introduced the world to the “Whizzinator” after a smuggling incident in an airport.
The Wilf family bought the team around this general time frame as well, promising a new era of accountability – which hasn’t gone exactly as planned, looking through the years. While the Vikings continue to have players with legal woes, the team feels they are doing what they can to combat issues. League spokesperson Brian McCarthy agreed with this thought, saying:
The Vikings are among league leaders in communicating with players about pitfalls. There’s complete buy-in with the Wilfs, coaches and players. Some teams, you only get one out of three. Because of the consistency of the organization, they’re looked at for guidance by other teams, and they’re transparent helping other clubs pattern other programs.
With the extra focus on player discipline after the Adrian Peterson incident, it will be interesting to see how things change behind the scenes for the team. The Vikings haven’t done much more than acknowledge the Peterson situation, but you can be sure discussions are happening about the growing problem for the team.