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.