Vikings may be skittish about Greg Olsen calling Week 11 game

Getty Images

This weekend, FOX will enhance its broadcast of the Rams-Vikings game by adding Panthers tight end Greg Olsen to the two-man booth of Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis. The Vikings (and for that matter the Rams) may not be thrilled about that.

Paul Allen of KFAN and the Vikings Radio Network raised during my weekly visit to his show the question of whether the Vikings will be comfortable with the idea of a player from an upcoming opponent having access to practice, production meetings, etc. Nothing against Olsen, but the Vikings shouldn’t be thrilled with giving Olsen an inside look at team operations, only three weeks before his current team hosts the Vikings.

Conflicts of interest are hardly new in this setting; broadcasters (like Jon Gruden, the brother of Washington coach Jay Gruden, and Chris Spielman, the brother of Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman) routinely enjoy access to inside information regarding actual and potential opponents of a family member’s team. But this one is far more direct. Olsen is currently playing for the Panthers, and he’ll be privy to information that no team would want a member of another team to get.

Asked about the dynamic during a Monday press conference, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said, “I’m gonna let higher-ups than me handle that.”

It’s not just the Vikings that should be skittish about this. The Rams don’t play the Panthers during the regular season, but they possibly will meet in the postseason.

It may seem picky, but consider the extent to which teams go to protect their secrets. Indeed, Zimmer’s decision to say anything other than “I’m fine with it, it’s not an issue” suggests that it is. And it will be interesting to see what if anything Zimmer’s higher-ups do about it.

UPDATE 2:17 p.m. ET: FOX says that it will limit Olsen’s access in advance of the game, citing the Vikings’ concerns.

31 responses to “Vikings may be skittish about Greg Olsen calling Week 11 game

  1. First, you could add a potted plant to the booth and that would enhance a broadcast featuring Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis.

    Second, there is no way on earth that a current NFL player should have access to practices and inside information for a team that his team will be facing later in the year.

    If I were Spielman or Zimmer, I would insist that Olsen not have the same kind of access that the regular broadcasters get. I don’t think that’s too big of a demand.

  2. I’m just glad this isn’t a Patriots player. The world would FREAK if that were the case. No one would let that slide. But cuz it’s the panthers, there will be people who think this is no big deal it’s blown out of proportion

  3. While I am a Panthers fan, I don’t see any scenario in which this should be allowed. How is the NFL ok with this? I’m aware that Olsen has aspirations to go into broadcoasting when his playing career is over; but Fox should put him in the STUDIO, not in the booth. I imagine the NFL will put a stop to this within the next 24 hours.

  4. After hearing that particular duo call the last Viking’s game, you can understand the need for a third contributor. As likable as they are as people, the two added little to the game. Olsen could provide a veteran player’s perspective from the sidelines, but what kind of planning is this, when Olsen’s Panthers host the Vikings in Week 14?

  5. “I’m just glad this isn’t a Patriots player. The world would FREAK if that were the case. No one would let that slide. But cuz it’s the panthers, there will be people who think this is no big deal it’s blown out of proportion”

    That’s because the Panthers don’t have a documented history of cheating, like the Patriots do.

  6. Won’t really matter. Davis is one of those guys that has to say something after every play. Most of the time it’s delivered with the tone of smugness, that because he played college ball, though never Mae it to the pros, he can scold players on the field and generally talk down to the tv watchers as knowing more then everyone else.

  7. If Olsen were calling a Cowboys game, you could bet Jerry Jones would be threatening to sue the league.

  8. I wouldn’t be surprised if the league actually allows this to happen. To have a player on a current roster of a team that’s in the thick of a playoff race have inside access to 2 teams also in the playoff hunt is absolutely ludicrous in every sense. No other commissioner or league office in years past would EVER let this happen but Goodell proves time and time again why he is one of the worst commissioners in the history of major sports.

  9. Conflict of interest is common in this world and ‘most’ professionals recuse themselves before being told to. Olsen should be smart enough to say ‘No’.

    Whoever had this idea is a moron, as no way this is going to fly. There is no way he is going to be in on a production meeting. If given the green light anyway, I would definitely give my team the info. As a fellow teammate, I would expect it.

    PS: As per the broadcast team he is ‘helping’ out: I don’t care what round or obscure college you went to (Davis). I want the play diagnosed from an angle I can’t see. Or something.

    Anyone who follows the draft is ‘over it’, as in the round etc and anyone who does not follow it, does not care. Same goes for Mayock. Love you guys pre-draft but leave it there.

  10. Next week Julian Edelman will be calling the Steelers-Packers game for NBC. Imagine the RIOT that would start. Isn’t letting Olsen in the booth a conflict of sorts? Not a good idea…

  11. Its hard to believe that anyone thought this was a good idea. The Jon Gruden and Chris Spielman situation is different. If Jon or Chris shared information with their brothers it would be career suicide. Why would they risk their own careers just to advance their brothers’ careers?

  12. “Paul Allen of KFAN and the Vikings Radio Network raised during my weekly visit to his show the question of whether the Vikings will be comfortable with the idea of a player from an upcoming opponent having access to practice, production meetings, etc.”

    They should tell FOX where to stuff that idea. If they allow it to happen it would be incredibly stupid of them.

  13. edukator4 says:

    November 14, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    why is this game not getting game of the week status and fox’s number 1 team?
    i guess that saints redskins game is higher billing?

    It far and away is the “Game of the week” in the sense of importance to potential playoff seedings but the “Game of the week” in Fox’s world means we get to listen to Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. I will gladly listen to Burkhardt,Davis and Olson to avoid that torture.

  14. 3xapple says:
    November 14, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    That’s because the Panthers don’t have a documented history of cheating, like the Patriots do.
    ===========

    You mean like when the whole team was on PEDs and still lost the super bowl to the pats. That kind of “documented” cheating? Not to be confused with unsubstantiated claims and innuendo

  15. “That’s because the Panthers don’t have a documented history of cheating, like the Patriots do.”

    Actually they do. You might want to look up the history of your own team. In fact every single NFL teams has been caught doing something naughty in the last 10 years.

  16. Nice to see they’re limiting Olsen’s access to the Vikings prior to the game. Hopefully it’s limited to basically zero beyond what is available to the general public. They should also make those with access sign some sort of agreement they will not share information not available to the general public with Olsen as well.

    Better yet, put Olsen on another game where there aren’t any conflicts.

  17. It might seem “picky” ?! It doesn’t seem even a LITTLE BIT picky. This is one of the most hair brained, stupid ideas the NFL has had EVER, and that’s SAYING SOMTHING (the Ray Rice, AP on again off again fiasco, dictatorial leadership and 1 man judgement, glorifying kaep, spygate, etc). It couldn’t be more insane and I’d expect the Vikings ownership to bring the hammer down on this one.

  18. I’ve been reading PFT for 14 years.

    Vikings/Packers/Lions fans seem to go at it the most. Very passionate is a nice way to say it.

    Steelers fans are too busy going on the road but equally passionate but don’t have a division as loud as the NFC North.

    The Patriot fans are a bit sensitive, considering how lucky they are to have Belichick, Brady and co. I used to get ‘stuck’ going to the Jets/Patriots game every year as it is the only game my brother could not use for business purposes (season tickets).That was in the 1980’s. No one wanted them. So feel lucky and get over the cheating crap. Same goes for the accusers. It’s gone.

    NY Giant fans dislike the Neanderthal Jet fans, fly by night Cowboy fans and just don’t like Philly because it’s fun to not like Philly.

    I honestly think that in what has become the most passionate conference in football (vocal fan wise), I seriously doubt Olsen will be in the meetings. He shouldn’t even be doing the game. If I were Richardson (owner), I’d put the kibash on it right now. End of story.

  19. carolina should be the one’s worried. After witnessing the greatness of the Vikings organization, Olsen may pull a martellus bennett on over to Minnesota.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!