If the NFL will be doing anything about allegations that the Vikings had a bounty program in 2009, the NFL isn’t saying so.
The NFL has informed PFT that it has no comment about the allegation made by former Vikings offensive lineman Artis Hicks in the new Brett Favre biography from Jeff Pearlman. (The Vikings have denied the allegations, as has former Vikings head coach Brad Childress.)
Despite the league’s official silence, a full-blown investigation would be a surprise. The league showed no inclination to investigate claims of other bounty programs that emerged in 2012, after the Saints were whacked for allegedly offering cash to players for incapacitating opponents in games like the 2009 NFC championship, against Favre and the Vikings.
Various other players claimed that former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams used a bounty program at his past stops, which included Washington, Buffalo, and Tennessee. Faced with a rabbit hole that could have displayed a more widespread cultural phenomenon, the league instead plugged it with cement, hammered the Saints, and scared everyone else straight.
And for good reason. Faced with then-mushrooming concussion litigation, the last thing the league needed was proof that more if not most if not all teams offered a reward for knocking a player out, perhaps in more ways than one.
Of course, now that the concussion litigation is settled (almost), perhaps the league could choose to make an example out of the Vikings, in the same way it chose to make an example out of the Saints.
Ultimately, isn’t that what these issues always come back to? The league, arm with the ability to investigate and discipline most if not all teams for potential violations ranging from the real to the ridiculous to the sublime, can and will do whatever it wants, whenever it wants.
Given the mere passage of time, it would be a surprise if the league decides to reach back seven years for proof of a bounty program in Minnesota when it opted to apply tunnel vision at the time these accounts emerged. Regardless, if the league decides that it wants to pursue this matter aggressively, it can and, as recent history tells us, it will.