Vikings stadium: Minneapolis moves forward on development

The city of Minneapolis, developer Ryan Cos. and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority will negotiate terms of a proposed $400 million mixed-use development that would complement a new Vikings stadium planned for the city’s downtown.

The Vikings Prove-It Series: Everson Griffen

We’re back with another installment in our Vikings Prove-It series, in which  we take a closer look at a player facing a pivotal 2013 season. Up next: Everson Griffen.

The Vikings have a sea change looming on their defensive line, with five players set to hit free agency after the season. And while it’s still possible they bring back all of their longtime fixtures, like Jared Allen, Brian Robison and Kevin Williams, the team’s m.o. in recent years has been to reward younger players more than to retain older ones.

Enter Griffen, who is in the final year of his rookie contract and will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. The Vikings had toyed with him as a linebacker before deciding to keep him on the defensive line, and Griffen responded with easily the best year of his career. He played both defensive end and defensive tackle, recording a career-high eight sacks, and dropped into pass coverage to pick off Sam Bradford for a Week 15 touchdown against St. Louis. Griffen also had a sack and a hurry in the Vikings’ playoff game in Green Bay, and following a trying year for him personally — his mother Sabrina Scott died while visiting Griffen in October — Griffen became a father in January when his fiancee gave birth to the couple’s first child.

Now, Griffen will try to provide the kind of encore that shows he can be an every-down lineman. He doesn’t have the build the Vikings typically covet in defensive ends (he’s only 6-foot-3 and weights 262 pounds), but Gtiffen’s sub-4.5 40 and his ability to get to the quarterback from either the left or right side — he had four sacks from each spot in 2012, according to Pro Football Focus — gives him more ways to prove his worth.

If he can get to the quarterback from the inside on passing downs, Griffen could team with Allen, Robison and rookie Sharrif Floyd to give the Vikings a fierce nickel pass rush. But the key for Griffen to show he’s a complete player could come in running situations; he wasn’t asked to play on running downs much last year, and might not find himself on the field much on first and second down this season. But he held up well against the run toward the end of the season when both Robison and Allen were battling shoulder injuries, and played a season-high 20 run snaps in the playoff game, according to Pro Football Focus. The fact that Griffen can play so many spots means that he’ll be the first man up if either Allen or Robison gets hurt.

Another year like last season, and the 25-year-old might be one of the linemen the Vikings decide to keep.

Greg Jennings on his quarterbacks, once again

Greg Jennings has spent much of his first offseason with the Vikings talking about Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, which makes for great theater but doesn’t necessarily serve our interests here unless it involves Christian Ponder. That’s what made some of Jennings’ comments on ESPN’s “First Take” so interesting this morning — Jennings essentially said that one of the big differences between his Packers quarterbacks and Ponder was the receivers they had to work with. And while he said people should have questions about Ponder going into his third season, he also called for more patience with the third-year starter.

“Every quarterback, you’ve got to give him time (to develop),” Jennings said. “Tell me this, right now: Brett Favre, receivers around him. Aaron Rodgers, receivers around him. Christian Ponder, receivers around him.”

The follow-up question, from Stephen A. Smith, was a pointed one: “So you do understand what you’re saying? Because basically, I can look at you, and if there are any struggles, I can sit there, and you’re telling me I don’t need to look at Christian Ponder? I need to look at you?”

That’s the question I had on my mind, too, and in some ways, what Jennings is doing is shrewd (even if he’s leaving out the fact that Ponder had Percy Harvin for most of his first two seasons). The receiver has proven himself in the NFL, and by the nature of his position, he’s going to be under less scrutiny than Ponder.

But in some ways, Jennings also crystallized Ponder’s situation in his third year as a starter, and the one the Vikings were trying in part to create with their offseason moves. They gave Jennings a five-year deal and drafted Cordarrelle Patterson in an effort to balance out their offense and upgrade the receiving corps, yes, but they also removed the alibi that Ponder doesn’t have enough receivers to work with.

No one is expecting Patterson to replicate Harvin’s game in his first season, but with Jennings, Jarius Wright, a healthy Jerome Simpson and Patterson, Ponder should have a more dynamic group of receivers than he did last season. If he can’t produce in his third year as a starter, when he theoretically should have a better supporting cast, it could help the Vikings determine whether they should move forward with Ponder or go in a different direction after this season. As much as the Jennings and Patterson moves were made to upgrade the Vikings’ group of receivers, they’ll also help inform the Vikings on what might be their ‘ most pivotal decision over the next two years.

Back to what Jennings said: “He (Ponder) has always been (in) a position where the stress and the pressure was on him, and he really didn’t have the help around him to take that load off, outside of  ’All Day’ (Adrian Peterson). That’s it.”

Then, there was some Favre-vs.-Rodgers talk, during which Jennings said, “You give respect when you get respect,” and brought up the well-worn incident when  Rodgers said, “Who?” when asked about Jennings signing with the Vikings.  “I know I’m messing with him,” Jennings said of Rodgers. “He got a little sensitive when I try to push him.”

Finally, there was some more very interesting stuff on Ponder and the Vikings as a whole:

“At some point, you’ve got to do something for yourself, so that whole, ‘Man, he’s always had great quarterbacks,’ throw that out the window now. If LeBron would’ve went somewhere where there was no one else, it wouldn’t have been a big deal if he went somewhere where he had no Dwayne Wade or Chris Bosh.”

“I expect nothing but greatness (with the Vikings this year). When you see what they were able to do last year, with the guys they had on that team, great guys, but it goes beyond that. It goes to the coaching, and guys actually believing in one another. You saw a team that believed in one another, that felt like they could get it done, that was disappointed when they lost to us (the Packers) in that playoff game. So when I’m there now, I look at an organization, a group of guys that had that hunger, that had that desire. Now again, you can say whatever you want to say, but I was in that locker room with my guys in Green Bay. That same hunger — I’m not saying we weren’t hungry (after 2010), but the year we won (the Super Bowl), you couldn’t walk in that locker room and feel like these guys weren’t going to do something special.”

“I’ll put it like this: You should have questions about the quarterback (Ponder).”

But when Skip Bayless asked Jennings what he would do if Ponder makes the Pro Bowl, the receiver promised to bring Ponder back to ESPN so he could face his critics first-hand.

To close this up: Some of it is accentuated for the sake of TV debate, but it’s clear, once again, that Jennings wanted to go somewhere he would unquestionably be the No. 1 receiver. He’s taking a risk in doing that, but the decision paid off financially, and he also seems aware of what it could do for his legacy if he’s able to win apart from Favre and Rodgers. He had enough perspective to acknowledge that Ponder isn’t at the point  his previous quarterbacks were, but Jennings  is also staking the rest of his prime on Ponder, which means Jennings’ faith in the quarterback is more than just lip service.

If Ponder and Jennings can team up for a few big seasons in Minnesota, it will help them both put a number of questions to bed.

The whole ESPN segment is about nine minutes, and you can watch it here, along with Kevin Seifert’s take on some of the comments.

The Vikings Prove-It Series: Chris Cook

We’re back with another installment in our Vikings Prove-It series, in which  we take a closer look at a player facing a pivotal 2013 season. Up next: Chris Cook.

Cook makes a return trip to this series, after coming into last year’s training camp months after being acquitted of domestic violence charges. He’s long past that and seems to have cleaned things up off the field — he spent his offseason taking classes toward his anthropology degree at the University of Virginia — but the stakes are probably higher for Cook on the field than they’ve ever been.

For the first time since 2003, the Vikings won’t have Antoine Winfield in their secondary. That means Cook, in just his fourth season, is the most established cornerback on the roster, and Frazier told Cook this spring that he expects more leadership out of the 25-year-old. Cook now has a chance to set the tone for the Vikings’ secondary if he can stay on the field. He missed six games because of a broken arm last season and has played just 22 games in his three seasons. The Vikings could add more press coverage to their defense with rookie Xavier Rhodes joining Cook this season, but at least early in the season, the majority of the tough matchups figure to fall to Cook.

He got beat down the sideline for the Jaguars’ last-minute touchdown in Week 1, but Cook did some of his finest work three weeks later against Detroit, when he helped contain Calvin Johnson in the Vikings’ 20-13 win. The Vikings’ safety duo of Harrison Smith and Jamarca Sanford were also key pieces of the strategy against Johnson that day, but it was Cook covering the All-Pro wideout most of the time. He’s got the size (6-foot-2, 212 pounds) to handle dynamic receivers like Johnson and Brandon Marshall, and Cook seems to want those matchups. He helped bottle up Larry Fitzgerald in the Vikings’ win over Arizona last season, too, and though the Cardinals were playing with a backup quarterback that day, Cook should be able to look back on those performances as evidence he can get the job done.

There’s a big payday awaiting Cook if he can turn in a solid year. He is an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the market for reliable 6-foot-2 corners is rarely anything but robust. Cook has yet to record his first NFL interception, but there are ripe opportunities for him if he can make some big plays this season.

The Vikings Prove-It Series: Jerome Simpson

We’re back with another installment in our Vikings Prove-It series, where we take a closer look at a player facing a pivotal 2013 season. Up next: Jerome Simpson.

When the Vikings signed Jerome Simpson to a one-year deal in April 2012, shortly after the NFL announced Simpson would serve a three-game suspension for a drug-related arrest, the team knew it would be waiting a while for the receiver to turn potential into production.

Simpson is back for 2013 on another one-year deal, and to some extent, the Vikings are still waiting on him.

His first year with the Vikings was a disappointing one, during which Simpson was plagued by a back injury and caught just 26 passes in 12 games. He’ll get a second chance to show he’s the big-play threat the Vikings expected him to be at split end last season, but Simpson probably will have more competition than he did last year.

Cordarrelle Patterson has been working at split end all spring, and the Vikings believe the first-round pick could be a rare type of playmaker once he learns the offense. They also will have Greg Jennings at flanker, and considering most of the passes targeted for Simpson came once Percy Harvin was out for the year, it remains to be seen how much he’ll get the ball once Ponder has a full set of receivers.

Simpson’s best chances likely will come on the sideline routes that he didn’t connect on with Ponder after catching passes of 27 and 33 yards in his first four games. His 33-yard reception against Tampa Bay, during which Simpson beat E.J Biggers on an inside move and worked back toward the sideline before leaping over Biggers to catch Christian Ponder’s pass, was Simpson’s only reception that traveled more than 20 yards in the air. Simpson’s injury limited his ability to push off and gain a step on defenders for much of the season — the issue first surfaced in October, and coach Leslie Frazier said it was still affecting Simpson in December.

If Simpson is healthy, he’ll need to show he’s regained the ability to separate from defenders. He made a number of impressive catches during OTAs and mini-camp, hauling in one notable deep ball from Ponder, but we saw that in training camp and the preseason last year, t0o (remember his catch against Buffalo?). Regular-season results are what Simpson needs, and what will ultimately put his career on more solid footing.

“Of course I have something to prove, because that wasn’t my best year,” Simpson said. “I feel like if I just stay 100 percent, I’ll have an amazing year and I can get that longevity contract.”

The Vikings Prove-It Series: Erin Henderson

We’re back with another installment in our Vikings Prove-It series, where we take a closer look at a player facing a pivotal 2013 season. Up next: Erin Henderson.

In an offseason that’s been light on controversy, Erin Henderson’s possible position switch — he’d been asked to play middle linebacker, then he might have had to fight off Brian Urlacher, then the job was his, then the Vikings signed Desmond Bishop — has passed for a juicy subplot.

There might not be much mystery in what the Vikings will do at linebacker if Bishop can prove he’s recovered from a torn hamstring; he could start at middle linebacker after excelling as an inside linebacker in Green Bay’s 3-4 defense, while Henderson could stay at the weak-side linebacker spot he’s manned for the better part of two years.

That move is the most logical one if Bishop is healthy, but Henderson has made it clear he wants the middle linebacker job, firmly stating, “I’m playing the ‘Mike,’” in his last interview of mini-camp. But to secure that spot, and to convince the Vikings to put Bishop or someone else at weak-side linebacker, Henderson would first have to show he can be better in pass coverage than he’s been in the past.

Pro Football Focus ranked him the league’s third-worst outside linebacker against the pass last season, and Henderson struggled at times, both as the middle linebacker in the Vikings’ nickel defense and at his normal spot in the base defense. As Henderson put it this offseason, part of his issue was his tendency to overpursue, to head toward the ball and occasionally lose track of his gap responsibility on the weak side. He’d have more freedom as the middle linebacker, of course, but as Henderson said, the majority of the game is played in the nickel these days, anyway. That means he’s already had something of an extended audition for the job, but in a part of his game that wasn’t exemplary last season.

Kyle Rudolph also burned Henderson for a big gain on a seam route during OTAs this spring, and as a middle linebacker in a Cover-2 defense, Henderson would be regularly asked to take away that route. But coach Leslie Frazier said he liked what he’d seen from Henderson in pass coverage during OTAs and mini-camp, and Bishop hasn’t been a strong coverage linebacker over the years. It’s certainly possible that Henderson retains the role he had last season, starting at the weak-side linebacker spot in base and moving to middle linebacker in the nickel. In any case, pass coverage is a big key to his improvement this season.

He’s got a new two-year contract, and in a linebacking group filled with questions about injuries (Bishop), youth (Gerald Hodges, Audie Cole) or both (Michael Mauti), Henderson does give the Vikings something of a known entity. But if Henderson is to get the job he wants — the middle linebacker spot — he’ll have to earn it.

“I have a chance to play ‘Mike’ now,” he said last month. “I don’t see why I would let it slip out of my hands or let it go any other way.”

The Vikings Prove-It Series: Letroy Guion

We’re back with another installment in our Vikings Prove-It series, where we take a closer look at a player facing a pivotal 2013 season. Up next: Letroy Guion.

When the Vikings took Letroy Guion in the fifth round of the 2008 draft, they envisioned him as an eventual replacement for Pat Williams at nose tackle, and they gave Guion a three-year, $9 million deal before last season, showing their faith in him before making him the starter for the first time in 2012.

Guion came into the season leaner and more motivated, and showed how disruptive he could be in a Week 4 win over the Detroit Lions. But he struggled with turf toe for much of the season, missed the second game against the Lions and had to contend with Fred Evans for playing time in the second half of the year. Pro Football Focus ranked Guion last among the 85 defensive tackles who played at least 25 percent of their team’s snaps in 2012, and his playing time could be constrained further in 2013 by Evans in the Vikings’ base defense and Sharrif Floyd in the nickel.

He also is facing a big year from a financial perspective; only $2.5 million of Guion’s $9 million was guaranteed, and $1.5 million of that was tied up in his signing bonus. Guion made $1 million in base salary last season, so the Vikings presumable have no guaranteed money left to pay him — and even if the guaranteed money were to come this season, there wouldn’t be any for Guion in the final year of his deal. That means it’ll be incumbent upon Guion to prove his worth at a spot where the Vikings got used to excellence, particularly against the run.

It will be against the run where Guion has his best chance to make an impact, though he showed flashes of pass-rushing ability toward the end of the season, particularly in the playoff game against Green Bay. But he was too easily moved aside at the point of attack last season, and his ability to be stout against the run will bear watching in training camp and the preseason.

If Guion is healthy and up to the challenge, the Vikings could still see their faith in him rewarded. But if he’s not, there are plenty of other players who could combine to reduce Guion’s role in 2013.

The Vikings Prove-It series returns — starting with John Carlson

A happy July 1 to everyone out there — I’m back at it this week after taking some time off last week, and will be ramping up the blog as we get closer to the start of training camp in Mankato on July 25.

And the fact that it’s July 1 means the Vikings will be on the field before the end of this month. So, to get things started, we’re rolling out an expanded edition of our Vikings Prove-It series; my predecessor Jeremy Fowler rolled this out on the blog last summer, and I’m taking it a step further by highlighting 10 players who are heading into pivotal years with the Vikings. These could be players heading into a contract year, fighting for a starting job, trying to rebound from a disappointing season or working to show their breakout performance in 2012 wasn’t a fluke.

As a whole, one could argue, the Vikings are entering a “prove-it” season as a team, with heightened expectations coming on the heels of a surprising 10-6 season. There are certainly plenty of players who are wrapped up in that, and we’ll attempt to look at a large number of them in the final weeks before training camp.

We’ll start today with tight end John Carlson, who was signed to a five-year, $25 million deal last March as part of what the Vikings planned to be a dynamic two-tight end set with Kyle Rudolph. Well, Carlson hurt his knee in training camp, sustained the fourth concussion of his career last October, took a back seat in the offense as Rudolph blossomed into a complete tight end and posted career lows in virtually every statistical category. Carlson restructured his contract this March, taking a pay cut just before the start of free agency, and even the St. Cloud native recently referred to the 2012 season as a “debacle.”

Coach Leslie Frazier reserved some of his highest praise this offseason for Rudolph, who rarely left the field last season and is working to become a more complete player after winning Pro Bowl MVP honors in February. That might not leave a lot of room for Carlson, especially with the number of other run-blocking options the Vikings like to put on the field. Pro Bowl fullback Jerome Felton got a new contract in March after playing 37.6 percent of the Vikings’ offensive snaps, and tight end Rhett Ellison actually found his way onto the field for six more snaps than Carlson did last season, making his mark as a blocking tight end late in the season. That, coupled with the fact the Vikings could play more multiple-receiver sets after adding Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson, might mean Carlson has to fight even for audition time.

His strength in the NFL, though, has always been as a tight end who could work the middle of the field, and if Carlson can show he’s fully healthy for the first time in two years, he might be able to carve out a bigger role in the Vikings’ offense. How the Vikings use Carlson in training camp and preseason games will be especially interesting to watch, after he was targeted with just 16 passes (and only five longer than 10 yards) last season.

If Carlson can’t establish a niche this season, though, his time with the Vikings could be reaching its end. Carlson’s base salaries in the final three years of his deal are not guaranteed, meaning the Vikings would only be on the hook for the final $3 million of his signing bonus if they cut him after this season. He will be 30 next May, and his chances of holding a prominent role, with the Vikings or any other team, could be significantly reduced if Carlson can’t turn it around this season.

He’s still with the Vikings, though, with the chance to earn all of his original salary back through incentives. Frazier said this spring he still hopes to get Carlson more involved in the downfield passing game, and Carlson knows 2013 is an important year for him. It could determine whether he gets another shot with his home-state team in 2014.

“You need to prove it to yourself and to your teammate and coaches,” Carlson said last month. “That’s what matters to me. I’m here to try to prove to myself and my teammates and coaches. More so than that, I’m here to contribute to this team, and that is proving to myself that I belong here.”

The latest from Greg Jennings on Aaron Rodgers, Christian Ponder and Brett Favre

There will eventually be a time where Greg Jennings and Aaron Rodgers stop getting asked about each other. For now, though, the Vikings receiver and the Packers quarterback continue to either joke back and forth through the media or trade low-level barbs wrapped in gentle humor.

It started earlier this offseason, when Jennings signed with the Vikings and Rodgers got asked about the receiver’s departure at the Wisconsin Sports Awards. Rodgers replied, “Who?” adding, “There must be some Vikings fans in here” when he got a few jeers from the crowd.

Then, Jennings referred to Rodgers as “the guy they have now” when talking to our own Bob Sansevere last week about playing with Rodgers and Favre.

And today, when he got asked about both quarterbacks, as well as Christian Ponder, in a wide-ranging session with reporters, here’s what Jennings had to say;

On Ponder: “I love him. I love his personality, I love his demeanor on the field. The one thing we talk about, and I’ve shared with him more than anything, is the trust factor. Because he has everything he needs…the skill sets, he has it. It’s just about trusting the other guy, whether the other guy. It’s just about trusting that we’re going to be where he’s knowing that we should be, and us trusting that he’s going to have the ball where we know it should be. That’s the one thing that kind of takes that split second off our timing. Other than that, once we develop that trust, and that comfort, the sky’s the limit.”

On how Ponder compares to Favre: “With Favre, it was a little different. You came in, and it was like, you jump on board. You get there and you make it happen. That was a special situation that I ran into.”

On Rodgers (said with a smile): “Who?

Number 12, yeah. Number 12, he had a chance to develop. He’s extremely smart. Like, brilliant. He’s just thinking about how he can beat you the next time while he’s beating you the first time. That’s just the way his mind works. He sees something and it’s like it’s stored in a memory bank. And he remembers it once he’s seen it. And he’s checking at the line and he’s going to put you in the best situation to be successful. He’s a good quarterback. He had great receivers to throw to. He had no choice but to be a great quarterback. I’m joking.
But Christian, I’m excited. He’s a great quarterback. He’s going to shock people.”
This, too, must be taken into account — Jennings from March 15, after he signed with the Vikings: “I haven’t had all the success that I’ve had alone. It’s been because of guys like Brett and Aaron. And the James Joneses, Jordy Nelsons of the world that have been able to take some weight and that pressure off myself. So we’re helpers, one unto another. We help each other be successful. We help each other grow. We help each other thrive.”
Wait — he didn’t mention Donald Driver?!
There certainly might be a frosty relationship between Jennings and Rodgers — consider Jennings’ sister’s lively Twitter critique of the quarterback during the Vikings’ dramatic 37-34 win over the Packers on Dec. 30 — but both players are coy enough with the media to do this kind of thing while having some fun. We’ll give Rodgers, via Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin,the final word on this with a cautionary tale about sarcasm in print:”I think sometimes, as I’ve found out, humor doesn’t always come through a text message or a Tweet or an interview at times. I think it’s hard, unless somebody puts a note in there about it being said in a joking way, it’s hard to have humor come through a story. I have a lot of respect for Greg, and we had a lot of great times together, made a lot of plays. He had three really huge catches in the Super Bowl and a lot of wins here. So I know there’s a lot of mutual respect and I don’t take an umbrage from anything he said.”
So there. It’s all in good fun, we think. Talk to you tomorrow.

Erin Henderson’s status as Vikings’ MLB might not be solidified

From that day in April, where he told reporters he’d been asked to prepare to play middle linebacker, to yesterday, when Erin Henderson sternly declared, “I’m playing the ‘Mike,’ ” there’s been little doubt about where the linebacker wants to be this season.

But the problem for Henderson appears to be what it’s been all offseason: that the Vikings don’t seem as resolute about the idea of him at middle linebacker as he does.

Coach Leslie Frazier has stopped just short of saying Henderson is the starter all offseason, as the team drafted Penn State linebackers Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti and weighed the options on a lean free agent market. The reality is, Henderson is probably the best middle linebacker option on the Vikings’ roster right now — as Frazier tacitly admitted last week when he said Henderson would get most of the first-team snaps in training camp unless Michael Mauti or Audie Cole did enough to unseat him — but that’s something quite different from saying he’s got the position locked down.

It’s rare for a player like former Green Bay Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop, who played near a Pro Bowl level in 2010 and 2011, to hit the open market in June. And it would seem odd for a team in the Vikings’ position not to take a look at Bishop and see if he is recovered from the torn hamstring that ended his 2012 season after the Packers’ first preseason game. Pro Football Focus had Bishop rated as the fifth-best inside linebacker in the league in 2010 — when he had three sacks from the middle of the Packers’ 3-4 defense in just 713 snaps — and while coverage lapses and penalties dropped him to 20th in 2012, Bishop again showed his playmaking ability, with five sacks in 853 snaps. That sack total tied Bishop for second in the league among middle linebackers, and it’s a reminder that Bishop has enough ability to attract attention even when he’s coming off a season-ending injury.

If he’s healthy, Bishop would bring some nastiness to the middle of the Vikings’ defense, where he and Harrison Smith could make things uncomfortable for running backs and tight ends. As much as Henderson wants the increased responsibility of running the Vikings’ defense from the middle linebacker spot, it also seems logical they would move him back to a position where he’s started for two seasons, add Bishop to their defense and start the season with three experienced linebackers, rather than one new starter and another at a different position.

Bishop, of course, would have to show the Vikings he’s healthy. He would have to adjust to playing middle linebacker behind a four-man front instead of the three- (or often two-) man lines the Packers used. And the Vikings — who are $7.1 million under the cap with three first-round picks to sign — would have to fit Bishop into their financial picture.

The idea of bringing him in for a workout, though, seems like a sensible football practice, regardless of how Henderson feels about it. Henderson seemed to admit that himself on Tuesday, saying, “I hope it goes well for him — that the Vikings like what they see, welcome him with open arms. (I’m) not sure what it’s about. I’m just employee No. 50, baby.”

At the moment, he’s the employee best-suited to play middle linebacker for the Vikings. But Henderson might not be the ideal solution — or at the very least, he might have to prove he is by beating Bishop and others out for the spot.

“You have to welcome guys like (Bishop) with open arms,” linebacker Chad Greenway said. “He’s a very talented player. He’s proven that in his career. If that’s the direction of the organization, that’s the direction we go as a locker room.”