Tight end Rhett Ellison left the Vikings organization and signed a deal with the Giants last week. While the player cited his new team’s winning culture, his father indicated that he left Minnesota for other reasons.
Riki Ellison, a former NFL linebacker, sent out a Facebook post on Saturday night that blasted the Vikings for a “mentality of physical practices.” He noted that the number of free agent departures indicates “toxic leadership.”
“Do (free agents) think this program is going in the right direction and a Super Bowl contender or are they in a position to be another start-up, starting up from scratch?’’ the elder Ellison later told Chris Tomasson of TwinCities.com. “That’s why you see your veterans are leaving because they have to look at the future. They should be able to retain anybody they want.
“There is something going on, from my perspective. Why would people be leaving a brand-new facility (U.S. Bank Stadium)? They got the best facility in the world. … That’s just not a normal thing to happen.’’
So far this offseason, the Vikings have seen the departure of tackle Matt Kalil, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, wide receiver Charles Johnson, punter Jeff Locke, and linebacker Audie Cole with Jacksonville.
Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…
- At one point, the Redskins may have had interest in free agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, tweets ESPN.com’s John Keim. The market has been pretty quiet for the former second-rounder, who we ranked as the second-best free agent interior lineman. The team met with free agent lineman Bennie Logan last week.
- Buccaneers wideout Mike Evans was excited about the team’s acquisition of receiver DeSean Jackson, and general manager Jason Licht made it clear to the player that his payday was coming (via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times on Twitter). “We have until May,” Licht said of the player’s impending fifth-year option. “Mike Evans hopefully is going to be here a long time.”
- The Cardinals have been prioritizing compensatory picks when it comes to “losing and signing new free agents,” tweets Mike Jurecki of FoxSports910, adding that the organization is looking to build via the draft. Nick Korte of OverTheCap.com predicts the team will get three extra picks following the departures of Calais Campbell, Tony Jefferson, and Marcus Cooper.