Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Westbrook vs. Tomlinson for Minnesota
By Kevin Seifert
I suppose we can't suggest LaDainian Tomlinson as a possible replacement for Chester Taylor without also adding Brian Westbrook to the list.
Above all else, I believe Minnesota wants to re-sign Taylor before the free-agent market opens. But if Taylor decides to test his value elsewhere -- a respectable decision given the relatively few miles on his 31-year-old legs -- the Vikings will need a backup/third-down back behind Adrian Peterson.
Tomlinson, who has averaged almost 60 receptions per season in his career, would be one option. Westbrook, whom the Eagles informed would be released Tuesday, would be another.
Westbrook would have the advantage of familiarity with Vikings coach Brad Childress, his offensive coordinator in Philadelphia from 2002 to 2005. But he also comes with more medical baggage than Tomlinson, who has missed only three games in his career.
There is no doubt Childress has an affinity for early-decade Eagles players and staffers. He hired defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier in part because of his time in Philadelphia from 1999 to 2001. The Vikings' athletic training and strength/conditioning staffs were once based in Philadelphia, and the Vikings have signed several former Eagles players -- Billy McMullen, Artis Hicks, Koy Detmer, Todd Pinkston and Greg Lewis among them. In 2007, meanwhile, the Vikings pursued free agent quarterback A.J. Feeley.
I'm sure Childress would like to have a healthy Westbrook on his team. But does Westbrook have a clean bill of health? At this point, the answer is uncertain.