It wasn't so long ago, that Dennis and Minnesota reached for a rookie that once passed through his mitts at Stanford. His name was Robert Smith. Early in Mr. Smith's Minnesota Viking career, we all can remembered that he a bit of the fumble bug. My immediate thought was, well it happens, and I personally was able to accept it. I was just excited to see such a great talent representing my team. Unfortunately for Mr. Smith, Dennis Green had a message to send. You just don't ever lay that egg on my carpet ... ever. Robert was then buried ... not on the depth chart, which did happen ... but rather on Dennis's list of, "we can't trust you to touch the ball chart". Robert Smith then disappeared from our scope. Denny Green's intolerance to fumbling was almost written in stone. It certainly was unwavering. This lesson was well learned as Robert's career numbers now reflect an outstanding fumbling percentage.
I remember Jim Kleinsasser going through the same ordeal. This phenom specimen full back caught a ball in the flat and then fumbled it. It was some time before he touched that egg again.
What was clear was that Dennis had a message that no one misunderstood. Teams that fumble lose games ... our team will not have a weak link. It doesn't matter who or what your are ... if you fumble that rock ... your not going to touch my ball. If and when I do give you another chance to carry that rock, you better have learned a bit of maturity and responsibility.
The lesson to be learned is that fumbling is something that most definitely can be controlled as it occurs due to poor decision making and/or a complete lack of concentration. On the later, Tikki Barber, rather late in his career, learned how to protect that ball and he changed almost overnight from "the label", to a ball carrier that no longer gave up that rock.
Some time ago, in one of Mewelde Moore's first interviews, he clearly stated his prime point of emphasis was taking care of the ball in regard to his personal intolerance to fumbling. That interview could of come across as his declaration that he was a fumbler but in fact it was his declaration to the league that he absolutely refused to fumble ever again. That declaration of maturity was my personal measuring stick as athletes say all sorts of things, but in fact, my observation of Mewelde's career in Minnesota stood behind his statement. This lesson was engrained deeply into his subconscious well before he ever became apart of the NFL.
After last year, Adrian Peterson acquired a bit of a label to go along with his list of heroic feats. Defenses are well aware that he's a player that has given up that rock from time to time. Defenses collectively as a group are well aware of it and there is intent to make him pay for his folly.
The Vikings pre-season opener versus the Seahawks was nationally broadcast on the NFL network. It was clear, the intent was to see the scope of the hand that we've been dealt by seeing as many perform as we can. For most, it was our first opportunity to get the pulse of our 2008 season. As for the defense, without Pat-the-Manster out there, we had little serious concern ... as the result was really not an actual gage. There were many positives as the kid and his cohorts looked quite special, but that went along with an incredible eye-opening-rift ... there were five balls that found their way to that carpet ... and up went the red flag.
The folly of Childress's intensity of his first camp is not the actual measuring stick ... as what is certain is that saving those veterans bodies for the season will pay off handsomely in the long run. So deal with it.
The red flag ... however ... is a gage to Childress's intolerance to immaturity ... the lack of concentration ... and poor decision making that manifests itself in the form of a fumble. Childress's intolerance, and its message, will manifest itself within a hardened hand ... and according to Denny's proven success in this regard, there is absolutely no room for wavering.
The Viking Ghost