The 2009 Saints/Vikings NFC Championship doesn’t seem too far off in the minds of football fans even though it took place some seven years ago. One of the reasons why is the swirling allegations of ‘bounty gate’ stemming from that game that would forever change the history of the New Orleans Saints and the NFL landscape at the time.
The NFL punished the Saints with reckless abandon, fining the franchise and suspending coaches notably defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and head coach Sean Payton after an investigation revealed a premeditated bounty program with cash payouts to players who injured opponents.
Now a player who was on that very Vikings team is saying his Minnesota team ran essentially the same program.
Via Pro Football Talk –
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.