Burress: A shot in the dark


This is just way too tempting to resist.

As if the Minnesota Vikings veterans haven’t learned their lesson from the Brett Favre saga … now they move on to another retread veteran to boost them to a Super Bowl … Plaxico Burress.

With Vikings veterans chiming in this week … a topic today of our colleague Dan Zinski’s over at The Viking Age … it seems the players in Minnesota are chiming in with a chorus of “yeah mans” to their wants and needs to get former inmate Plaxico Burris into their camp.

I must begin with a joke that should be attributed to a friend – Matt Jordens: “We know that the Vikings and Plaxico Burress would be a perfect match – they both are really good at shooting themselves in the foot!”

Well, we know that it was the leg that Burris put a bullet through, but hey, it’s still a good joke and hits the right chord.

As a follower of the NFC North and an admitted fan of the Packers, even I can see where this would head if the Vikings brass followed suit and actually pursued and signed Burress … locker room dissention.

The Vikings have a core group of players already in the stable that make them competitive … of course, at this point the glaring hole in their roster is that of quarterback. With the drafting of Christian Ponder, the Vikings are seemingly looking toward the future – a player in which to build a team around. It would be easy for Ponder to hand off to Adrian Peterson, but that wouldn’t be the solution. The young quarterback is going to have to learn and grasp a complicated offensive system in a hurry … bringing Plaxico Burress into town for one or two years isn’t going to help him do that, nor will it help the team in the long run. Without a quarterback to get him the ball, Burress would quickly turn into a squawking complainer about not touching the ball enough, taking the rest of the team down with him.

Even still, at least two players, Peterson and Percy Harvin, have gone on record saying they would love to have Burress as a teammate.

First Peterson on ESPN’s Sports Nation:  “…love [Burress] to be a part of my team. He’s a guy – before he left the game for two years – he was one of the top receivers in the league. You look at [Michael] Vick, when he came out of [prison], how explosive he was. I’m sure [Burress] is going to be on fire and he’ll be ready to contribute to whatever team picks him up.”

Harvin was right behind Peterson in the vote of confidence category: “I think he’s one of the best receivers to play the game, “so I would love to have him and get the opportunity to learn from him as I did [Randy] Moss and some of the other veterans I’ve played with.”

Say what? Randy Moss? He was with the team for, what? like four games? And what did he learn from Moss? How to criticize the team and its caterer?

C’mon, Percy. You can do better than that? Talk about what Burress would bring to the team. Tell us how Burress would help the Vikings beat the Packers and Bears …

But Zinski, in his post sets the record straight and tells readers, like he should, that the Vikings must steer clear of this man.

"“The point here is, it’s easy for guys like Peterson, Harvin and Shiancoe to stump for the McNabbs and Burresses of the world, because in the end they won’t be held accountable for these personnel moves. Frazier, Rick Spielman and Zygi Wilf will be the ones taking the heat if more big name players flop in purple the way Bernard Berrian, Randy Moss and Brett Favre did in 2010,” Zinski said."

The Vikings blogger also understands the bigger picture and the team’s real needs. Zinski continues:

"“But Burress isn’t even really the issue here. The issue is this larger question of where the veterans’ heads are at going into the Frazier era. It certainly doesn’t seem like they’re remotely sold on the notion that a rookie QB can come in and lead them to immediate success. They may all be saying the right things about Ponder – how they’re behind him 100% and all of that – but their other words and actions seem to indicate a skepticism about the team’s current direction.”"

Team chemistry is as important to an NFL squad as the talent on the field. No question Burress will bring a great amount of skill to the position for whichever team he eventually signs with, but in today’s game that’s just not enough.

Again, Zinski nails the issue with this statement:

"“This could all be armchair psychologist nonsense on my part, but I think things are set up to become a rough, contentious mess in 2011. A rookie quarterback trying to prove himself on a team full of veterans who think they could win now with an experienced quarterback? Ponder had better play well early in the season or we could be in for another year of barking and sniping.”"

And so this should end any discussion about Burress heading to the Land of 10,000 Lakes … the issue should be dead or killed off as soon as possible.

If the Vikings have any hope of overtaking the Packers or the Bears – or even the Lions at this point – team officials need to look at the future and building the team from the inside … in fact, they might even look beyond the old, washed up veteran players they are considering and look at the models that have been built around the league – and namely that model that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have made just to the east of Minnesota in Green Bay, Wisconsin.