The St. Paul Pioneer Press cited in a recent article that the Minnesota Vikings turned down an opportunity to star in HBO's Hard Knocks.
The hit series starred The New York Jets in 2010, a stunt that propelled the team into the media spotlight.
Then, second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez was just starting to develop into a franchise player for the organization. The show really helped the young star to get some media attention and gain the confidence to be a leader for that team.
With the 12th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected QB Christian Ponder, a player that they believe can be their Mark Sanchez.
Would the TV series have the same affect for Ponder?
I don't believe it would.
I would love to see my team on TV more times a week than I already do. I would love to get to know more about the players and coaches and have my team be the talk of the NFL (as if they already aren't).
As much as I would love to see that, I don't want to see it this year.
This year would be a horrible time to put the Vikings in that kind of spotlight.
With all of the issues from the new Stadium bill, players getting arrested and uncertainty about who the starting quarterback will be, the added distraction would simply be too much for this organization.
In 2010, the show exposed Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie for fathering at least nine children with eight different mothers in six states.
Vikings players like Everson Griffen and Chris Cook have been in the media the last few months for some troubling reasons. Players like that can't benefit from a continued spotlight. All they need is good coaching and to stay focused on one thing: football.
Neither of those things can be achieved if players are subjected to that kind of attention. In my mind, the level of coaching would suffer as well because the coaches would have to worry about their public image and not extra time given to their players.
The state couldn't benefit from this either. Minnesota was given a bad reputation after the Vikings "love boat" incident in regard to player relations. This kind of media attention could expose some things about Minnesota's beloved Vikings that may be better left unsaid.
In regard to Christian Ponder, I don't think he's ready for that kind of attention. The distractions of the program couldn't benefit Ponder at this time is his young career.
When Sanchez took the role, he already had a year of NFL experience under his belt. Sanchez was also coming out of USC, a very large media market. Ponder, on the other hand, is coming out of Florida State, a much smaller market with less media attention.
I think Ponder will need at least two years of NFL experience before he's ready to be in the NFL's spotlight at this magnitude.
By turning down this massive distraction, the Vikings management shows some great maturity and wise decision-making.
I think the Vikings are on the right path to being contenders once again.
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