Artis Hicks: Vikings had a bounty program like the Saints’

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The NFL cracked down severely on the Saints and many of their players and coaches after an investigation revealed a bounty program with cash payouts to players who injured opponents. The game most frequently cited as an example of the Saints attempting to injure an opponent was the NFC Championship Game victory over the Vikings after the 2009 season.

Now a player who was on that Vikings team is saying Minnesota ran a similar bounty program.

Artis Hicks, an offensive lineman on the 2009 Vikings, told Jeff Pearlman, the author of a new Brett Favre biography, that the Vikings were doing the same thing that got the Saints busted.

“It was part of the culture,” Hicks said, in a book excerpt published by Deadspin. “I had coaches start a pot and all the veterans put in an extra $100, $200, and if you hurt someone special, you get the money. There was a bottom line, and I think we all bought in: you’re there to win, and if taking out the other team’s best player helps you win, hey, it’s nothing personal. Just business.”

Brad Childress was the head coach of the Vikings for Hicks’ entire four-year stint with the team. Childress informed the NFL after that NFC Championship Game that he had heard that the Saints had a bounty on Favre, and Childress testified in former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s appeals hearing on Bountygate. He has stayed quiet about the matter publicly, perhaps not wanting to say anything that could see him accused of hypocrisy, given Hicks’ accusation.

128 responses to “Artis Hicks: Vikings had a bounty program like the Saints’

  1. “Artis Hicks, an offensive lineman on the 2009 Vikings, told Jeff Pearlman, the author of a new Brett Favre biography”

    This sounds like something a person seeking to boost book sales would say.

  2. Artis Hicks wants to follow kapernick… stir up something to get attention. hicks is probably up to something…

  3. Ever notice how not one former Patriot player, disgruntled or not, has EVER come out WITH ANY cheating story? Wonder why.

  4. nycdf says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:02 PM
    The Vikings offered possum and beaver pelts as well as chicken wrangling lessons. It is Minneapolis.
    _______________

    Let me guess you’re from NYC? Been to both, would choose Minneapolis 100/100 times.

  5. …also, not one player injured in the 3 year so-called bounty period except for Reggie Bush and he played for the Saints lol

  6. Best way to sell a book? Spark controversy. And the media and that avalanche is about to start in about T-12hrs.

  7. Its like Kennedy and Marilyn.

    Things have been going on for a long time. Only now the walls have eyes and ears and a hogfaced lawyer.

  8. I never had much of an issue with the so-called “bounties.” But the Saints defense maybe played the dirtiest game I have ever witnessed. They had something like 13 late hits on Favre that should have been flagged. I guess it’s the refs faults for not putting a stop to it. But it was dirty af.

  9. sb44champs says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:07 PM

    …also, not one player injured in the 3 year so-called bounty period except for Reggie Bush and he played for the Saints lol
    _____

    I’ve never seen a guy as beat up as Favre was after that game.

  10. nycdf says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:02 PM
    The Vikings offered possum and beaver pelts as well as chicken wrangling lessons. It is Minneapolis.
    _______________

    Let me guess you’re from NYC? Been to both, would choose Minneapolis 100/100 times.

    _______________
    Because you wear beaver pelt shoes and hunt for your dinner by diving in the lake with a knife between your teeth. You know, like they do in Minn.

  11. Not saying I agree with it, but in a bottom-line business like the NFL, where competition is so fierce and teams will do anything to gain an edge, I’d be surprised if all teams weren’t doing something similar to the bounty system.

  12. “We had a bounty program too! And also violated the cap! We are a very serious football team here! Please pay attention to us!” — The Jets

  13. Do you even read bro?

    His mentioning of a bounty program is in Jeff Pearlman’s biography of Brett Favre.

  14. “Ever notice how not one former Patriot player, disgruntled or not, has EVER come out WITH ANY cheating story? Wonder why.”

    Because 1) there are too many cheating Pats stories to limit it to just one, and 2) former players know Belicheat would put out a hit on them if they spilled the beans.

  15. tedmurph says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:04 PM

    Ever notice how not one former Patriot player, disgruntled or not, has EVER come out WITH ANY cheating story? Wonder why.

    ———————————————————-

    Typical Pat fan denial. There have been several.

  16. Surprised it took PFT so long to pick up on this as it was on Bleacher Report yesterday!

    Thing is, why hasn’t Hicks given names of coaches and players who participated in this? I genuinely hope that the League investigates – I am a Vikings fan – and either clears or punishes the team.

    This may sound strange as if found guilty then the team will be fined or lose draft picks, but I would rather know if my team did this or not! As long as any coaches/players involved who now might be on other teams get punished along with the team.

    Hopefully though this is just an ex player wanting a few more minutes in the spotight and has said this just to sound relevant again.

  17. There were a ton of players who came out and said that similar programs were being run everywhere.

    Go look up “smash for cash” which was a NFL run bounty program.

    People really need to go back and watch that game again. The Vikes were going at Brees as much as the Saints were going after Farve, late hits as well.

    The big difference was that the Saints were trying to pick up the blitz and that the Vikes were running screens and such trying to take advantage of the constant blitzing. Go and look the reason there wasn’t more penalties for roughing the passer was that the Vikings and Farve were trying so hard to put points on the board than protect the QB.

  18. The only bounties should be on all knuckleheads who make inane comments on this site (and you can guess which team’s so-called “fans” take the lead in this).

  19. Coach can’t count to twelve. 5 (FIVE) turnovers. Farve does what he did best. Throw an interception in crunch time & now a BOUNTY!
    Minni-no-class Vikings..

  20. In Teddy We Trust says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:12 PM
    I’ve never seen a guy as beat up as Favre was after that game.
    /////////////////////////////////

    That wasn’t because of bounty hunting. That was because their O-line at the time was softer than the one they have now.

  21. purplepride11 says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:14 PM
    A no name player who wants to sell books …. this is funny. Players have came out and said they know nothing of this.
    ____________

    Tom Brady and his deflator friends “didn’t know anything about deflating balls either”

    It probably still goes on, but the Vikings fans that have used bounties as an excuse to lose can now take a seat.

  22. Some of these corrupt practices are not so uncommon, after all.

    from the aspiring politician’s campaign program to Watergate, Deflatgate and Bounty Gate.

    hmmmm you mean to say that these things ARE NOT ISOLATED INCIDENCES?

    Gee?

  23. Actually, just noticed that this book is a biography and not an autobiography.

    This is just trying to kick up some dust to improve book sales.

    I’ll wait for Favre’s official autobiographical account of this before I start getting concerned!

  24. Say it ain’t so. Shocking.

    Sarcasm.

    Young men. Driven to the peak of competitive success in a violent sport …

    Position Coaches … poorly paid, overworked, one bad season from being out of the NFL.

    But. Let’s be shocked.

  25. Favre took every snap, didn’t miss a play. Saints players were exonerated. Team got screwed. I don’t wish that BS on any team, even the Vikings and their whiny fans.

  26. rams dont have bounty system, but they take cheap shots and play dirty like they do… oops, i forgot their coach is jeff fisher. he cant coach them how to win so teaches them how to play dirty
    i wonder how much money burfict has made with all of his cheap shots

  27. Come on guys…

    Everyone knows that bounties have been part of the not only the NFL but football for a LONG time.

    I love how so many people that crucified the Saints for their scandal, are now like ” I barely remember this guy, he just said that because he wants to sell more books”

  28. lol, Brad Childress wouldn’t tolerate rookie hazing let alone a bounty program. He is the last coach in the NFL I’d even think of when it comes to bounty hunting…

  29. Most if not all of the gates aren’t limited to one team. Goodell only used them to make examples out of a team so the others would fall in line.

    Bounties.
    Taping signals.
    Bullying.
    Etc.

    I would include deflategate but apparently science only affects one team.

    Only a few teams have ever done those. Give me a break. None of it diminishes the ineptitude of the commissioner and the power trip he’s been on since taking over. He’s decided to make examples of all the borderline competitive advantages from all the teams while completely ignoring the fact that everything else is crumbling to dust. Pathetic excuse for a commish.

  30. “This isn’t Detroit man, this is the Super Bowl!” Turns out it wasn’t then and won’t be now. I’d take away their first round draft pick next year. Oh wait can’t do that…

  31. The saddest part of this story is that no one from the Vikings ever won the money because they played as soft as the Patriots do now !

  32. purplepride11 says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:14 PM

    A no name player who wants to sell books …. this is funny. Players have came out and said they know nothing of this.

    _______________________________

    Uhh… you guys know that Jeff Pearlman is the author and not Artis Hicks right?

  33. shaggytoodle says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:41 PM

    Come on guys…

    Everyone knows that bounties have been part of the not only the NFL but football for a LONG time.

    I love how so many people that crucified the Saints for their scandal, are now like ” I barely remember this guy, he just said that because he wants to sell more books”
    ——————————————————
    Its not a Auto-biography, its a biography, mean S%%% is made up not by the person but by an author, geez cant wait to hear a retraction but one of both parties on this one. Yea happened 7 years ago an many of players have come and gone and yet not a peep on the issue until a book comes out…get real, sounds like a fake smear campaign and slander

  34. 49tinakane says:
    Oct 26, 2016 5:08 PM
    =Yea happened 7 years ago an many of players have come and gone and yet not a peep on the issue until a book comes out…get real, sounds like a fake smear campaign and slander
    ______________

    Get real? Hicks claimed that the coach “SWORE Nick Barnett hurt AP intentionally” in the first game of the season, that was Rodgers debut, year and put a bounty out on Barnett in the second one.

    A person who played in that locker room, told an author about it and it turns up in a book, and it COULDN’T have a happened, yet a person can name Clay Matthews in an interview, retract the comments and he is GUILTY!!!

    What are they smearing, are they trying to get Chad Greenway suspended?

  35. “The NFL cracked down severely on the Saints and many of their players and coaches after an investigation revealed a bounty program with cash payouts to players who injured opponents.”
    ————————————-
    Except they never proved that even a single Saints player was rewarded for injuring another player. There were payouts for big plays — turnovers, big hits — which most teams had some form of. But there was never any evidence of cash for injuries.

    Not to mention the fact (per an L.A. Times study) that of the 32 teams, during the time of the supposed “bounty program” only opponents of the Chargers suffered fewer injuries than opponents of the Saints.

  36. What Saints bounty system? The one where not a shred of evidence ever surfaced? The one where Tagliabue reinstated every single suspended player because of a lack of any evidence at all? Oh yea, that one.

  37. sdakota says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:34 PM
    rams dont have bounty system, but they take cheap shots and play dirty like they do… oops, i forgot their coach is jeff fisher. he cant coach them how to win so teaches them how to play dirty
    i wonder how much money burfict has made with all of his cheap shots
    ——————–
    But the Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was the Saints D coordinator at the time. Dirtiest coach in history.

  38. tedmurph says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:04 PM
    Ever notice how not one former Patriot player, disgruntled or not, has EVER come out WITH ANY cheating story? Wonder why.

    No need – they keep getting caught!

  39. Yeah, but the Vikings weren’t a dominant team so it’s not important to punish them.
    —NFL League Office logic

  40. nycdf says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:02 PM
    The Vikings offered possum and beaver pelts as well as chicken wrangling lessons. It is Minneapolis.

    ——————————-

    Heck, if I had known that I would have done it myself!!

  41. stellarperformance says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:16 PM
    It’s probably true. Desperate teams do desperate things.
    —————————
    You mean like Matthews targeting Hoyer’s arm and your D targeting AP’s knee? Is that the desperation ur talking about Mister Area Code 218?

  42. This is just a BS charge because the Vikings are really good now. It’s what was done with the Patriots too. All the fans of lesser teams get resentfull of the success and so they make up any BS they can to try to diminish the accomplishment. They know it’s hopeless to win on the field so they try for something they think is victory posting bull in comments feeds. But if anything this validates for the Vikings that they are now one of the elite team, because now they got haters. (Dallas, you’re up next)

  43. Ok, the irrelevant Artis Hicks is obviously lying. The Saints took cheap shot after cheap shot in that game, so if the Vikings had a similar bounty in place, they would have took cheap shots on Brees.

    Especially given the importance of the game, and the fact that the Saints were already playing dirty. Nice try though Hicks, but please stick to sports as you are apparently to dumb to do anything else.

  44. I enjoy seeing the grammatically challenged call others out for being toooooooooooo dumb. (Just saying.)

  45. Sure they did fatboy. Didn’t get enough scratch in the pain killer suit? Regardless of the Saints having a bounty, it was the refs not calling the high/low hit on Favre that resulted in an INT. The phantom PI against Lieber. Stopped short on 4th & 1 called a first down when reply showed a fumble and the Saints lost yards. Dropped pass in OT called a catch. The refs were the real deciding factor in that game and AD’s inability to hold onto the ball. And Brett’s across the body throw. This isn’t Detroit man, it’s the Superbowl. The Vikings would have missed the kick anyway, the Saints would have blocked it. Longwell had a chickens leg.

  46. the saints were INTENTIONALLY causing injury. they were playing to injure on purpose. nothing here says the vikings did it intentionally. it just says IF a player got hurt, you got money. not saying it’s right, but there is a huge difference.

  47. Col Klink, aka, Brad Childress is a buffoon that failed at almost everything he tried so it is any surprise that this too failed?

    But this is the Vikings and Childress came within a 12th man of sending them into a 5th Superbowl where I am sure they would have lost and that is the tragedy, the fact that the Vikings could have pulled away of the Buffalo Bills at 4 Superbowl losses and could have been the only team that went 0-5 in Superbowls.

    SKOAL!

  48. nycdf says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:02 PM

    The Vikings offered possum and beaver pelts as well as chicken wrangling lessons. It is Minneapolis.

    In New York, it is rat pelts.

  49. Saints were crucified for it because everyone saw what Favre looked like after that game. Swollen ankles, cuts, black and blue everywhere. Chances are, had the Vikings won, Favre may not have been ready for the Super Bowl.

    NOBODY on New Orleans looked like that. If they had a Bounty system in MN, it was poorly administered, or non-existent.

    It was clear the Saints were out to injure because it was their only chance of winning.

  50. Teddy2Tready says:
    Oct 26, 2016 8:30 PM

    Saints were crucified for it because everyone saw what Favre looked like after that game. Swollen ankles, cuts, black and blue everywhere. Chances are, had the Vikings won, Favre may not have been ready for the Super Bowl.

    NOBODY on New Orleans looked like that. If they had a Bounty system in MN, it was poorly administered, or non-existent.

    It was clear the Saints were out to injure because it was their only chance of winning.
    ……………………………………………………………………………
    The problem with your theory is the Dramaqueens injured more players than the Saints did that year. Also, Favre said he would have been ready, had they won. On a final note, the Saints won with superior play. The 7 or 8 turnovers is why the Dramaqueens lost, not some imaginary Bountyfarce.

  51. whatjusthapped says:
    Oct 26, 2016 8:25 PM
    Col Klink, aka, Brad Childress is a buffoon that failed at almost everything he tried so it is any surprise that this too failed?
    ——————–
    Hey, remember when Col Klink got Favre, aka Mr. Packer, to come mop the floor with the Packers and the rest of the division? Favre looked good in purple and the jersey looks Stellar hanging in the HOF.

  52. taintedsaints2009 says:
    Oct 26, 2016 8:15 PM
    the saints were INTENTIONALLY causing injury. they were playing to injure on purpose. nothing here says the vikings did it intentionally. it just says IF a player got hurt, you got money. not saying it’s right, but there is a huge difference.
    ———————————————————
    Perhaps you could name a single player Goodell proved collected a bounty for hurting a player. Or a single player Goodell proved was hurt by the bounty. Or a single payout for hurting a player. We can wait. Perhaps you could explain why the Saints, over the Bountyfarce period had the second fewest personal fouls. 50,000 pages, 3000 defensive plays and he couldn’t come up with a single instance. Zero. Favre said he had no problem with how the Saints played. You simply don’t know what you’re talking about.

  53. ^^^Yup…the BEST player EVER to wear that putrid yellow and green is in the hall of fame.

    With a Vikings jersey.

    Eat it GB Choker fans! Haha!

  54. dip08 says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:01 PM
    “Artis Hicks, an offensive lineman on the 2009 Vikings, told Jeff Pearlman, the author of a new Brett Favre biography”

    This sounds like something a person seeking to boost book sales would say.
    ________________________________________
    3 of his 4 sports related books were top 100 sellers so I don’t think PR is what he needs. He has written about Barry Bonds, the 90s Cowboys, Showtime Lakers, and gets more inside info/interviews than many in the industry.

    Not sure if you are a Vikings fan, or just one of the people who loves to be negative all the time.

  55. This sounds like another Perlman tale in the making like his ‘Sweetness’ fairy tale. Accuracy and sources are always in question so I wouldn’t take anything written as fact…

  56. I don’t know if it’s true. But imagine in some regards it is. Just as it probably was on many teams.

    But those criticing a no name player, as I’ve heard a former player say. If you want to really know what’s going on ask the no names and short timers. They have nothing to lose or gain, the Stars have to much at stake to tell the truth on something like that.

  57. tacowrecker says:
    Oct 26, 2016 4:19 PM
    Not saying I agree with it, but in a bottom-line business like the NFL, where competition is so fierce and teams will do anything to gain an edge, I’d be surprised if all teams weren’t doing something similar to the bounty system.

    ———————

    Not all. The Bengals didn’t need a bounty program after Burfict said he’d do it for free.

  58. Bounty programs have been in the game of football since its inception….and it still in the game today….get over it…it will never stop

  59. Fortunately for the Vikings, only the good teams that could buck the charity…errr I mean PARITY party line are punished. They don’t punish nobodies.

  60. skol4life says:
    Hey, remember when Col Klink got Favre, aka Mr. Packer, to come mop the floor with the Packers and the rest of the division? Favre looked good in purple and the jersey looks Stellar hanging in the HOF.

    ————————————–
    Yes, I recall the Col Klink picked up him at the airport making him look like a bigger fool than he already was.

    Yes, Favre must have looked good in purple compared to the misfits the Vikings trotted out at Qb over the years but remind me again, how many NFC Championships (2 for Favre for the Packers) or Superbowls (1 for Favre with the Packers) did the Vikings win with Favre?

    That sums up the Viking legacy, the answer is ZERO

  61. kol4life says:
    Oct 26, 2016 8:52 PM
    Hey, remember when Col Klink got Favre, aka Mr. Packer, to come mop the floor with the Packers and the rest of the division? Favre looked good in purple and the jersey looks Stellar hanging in the HOF
    /////////////////////////////////////////

    If Favre hadn’t had his stellar career ended prematurely due to the soft Viking O-line, he may have lead them to a SuperBowl title. Wasted days and wasted nights.

  62. The farce that was supposed to be “Bountygate” was destroyed by Paul Tagliabue. Roger Goodell, in his infinite narcissism, pressed for player suspensions ( all thrown out after no evidence was discovered to support them ), and the only leverage Goodell had was to suspend Sean Payton…which he did. But the only “bounty” system ever confirmed was one that almost every team had which was throwing money into a hat for a critical hit. There was NO mass bounty conspiracy in New Orleans and this was proven in testimony before Paul Tagliabue. They even gave Brett Favre an opportunity to testify regarding any bounty related hits in the NFC Championship game and he gave a statement that there was none. So there….file Saints Bountygate in the bulls%*#t category. As a “System”…it never existed. Gregg Williams was the only one that ever signed anything admitting any participation in such a “scheme”…and that was because Goodell threatened to have him permanently expelled from the league. Williams folded, “ratted” out players who really had nothing to do with it…and the rest is history.

  63. I’d tend to believe this a bit more if Artis Hicks wasn’t an OL guard. It’s generally a defense that is purported to have a bounty system, no? And Leslie Frazier was the D coordinator. A more milquetoast personality would be hard to find in the ranks of professional football coaches. Interesting to see how this plays out.

  64. Everybody continues to miss (or never knew) the point–that large chunks of the bounty money was coming from OUTSIDE the locker room.
    THAT’S what Goodell was concerned with and because the guy was Payton’s buddy the coachh had to go.

  65. Well the proof is in the pudding. Name the dirty cheap shots and players injured by the Vikings during that time? now the Saints?
    No contest.

  66. Wow this is kinda sad for the vikings fans who hung their hat on the reason behind them losing was the “cheating” saints and their bounty system.
    Not only do you wonder why did they even ponder passing but you are also faced with the realization that your vikings also attempted to “cheat” like the saints but they sucked at that too.
    Of course that game had nothing to do with the multiple Adrian Peterson fumbles or that Brett Favre pick at the end.
    It does beg the question after all these years though:
    Why DO you even ponder passing?

  67. Nice false equivalency here with this story. The Saints game planned to take shots at Favre. Gregg Williams said it the Tuesday before the game. The Saints were lucky the Vikings had Klink as a coach. Brees is small with a bad shoulder. If the Vikings would have done the same thing to the Saints I think Brees is worse off than Favre was.

  68. ilovefoolsball says:
    Oct 27, 2016 10:23 AM

    Wow this is kinda sad for the vikings fans who hung their hat on the reason behind them losing was the “cheating” saints and their bounty system.
    ))))))))))))))))))))
    Actually you didn’t understand the Vikings fans perspective at all. It wasn’t the bounty the fans had a problem with. They didn’t like the dirtiness but that’s Williams. It was they way the refs called the game. They allowed illegal hits throughout the game. They also called a bogus PI on Leiber in OT to hand the Saints the win with FG position. Good win and Katrina story.

  69. Basically every defensive player contract boils down to hitting the opposing player.

    The thought of $500 extra for a hit compared to the $1,000,000+ contracts these players received doesn’t even make sense.

    It’s basically your buddy betting you a beer you cant beat them at fantasy, money is inconsequential at that point

  70. High schools, colleges & pro teams have programs where they collect bonuses for sacks, tackles, etc. Nothing new…except to crying Vikings’ fans because they thought the Super Bowl was a given….@ least that’s how the NFL billed it since Bret Farve got there. Farve Vs. Manning. Sorry the rug got pulled out from under u!!!! lol

  71. Wait. The VIKINGS had a bounty program? Saints fans will say give us our Lombardi Trophy…oh wait again. We already have that. Never mind.

  72. The Saints’ program wasn’t even paying out to injure opponents, it was for good, legal hits. Penalties in the game resulted in no payout. Illegal hits were not incentivized and any time the NFL tried to leak some payout evidence, it was very quickly debunked by people online who showed that “X payout to Roman Harper was not because Y player left the game with an injury because that player was injured by a member of his own team” or similar findings.

    But hey, let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good narrative.

  73. Bountygate was a sham, plain and simple. Goodell crippled a great team in a attempt to deter upcoming lawsuits for CTE!

  74. Saints were the least penalized team in the year of the supposed Bountygate scandal. But, lets not let facts get in the way.

  75. If this was true than the Vikings payouts would’ve been absolute ZERO. This story is complete BS. The Vikings defense didn’t injure one single player all year long nor were there any attempts.

    AND HOW WOULD AN OFFENSIVE LINESMAN BE WITNESS TO A DEFENSIVE BOUNTY?

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