Vikings runner Adrian Peterson was arrested recently, which counts as one of the true summer blockbuster pieces of NFL news. Peterson is considered one of the NFL good guys, a player with a big smile and solid rep. Yes, that was a stunner, but the fact a Viking was arrested shouldn't be.
Yet it is the Vikings that are the current arrest champs. The Lions have had six arrests so far this year but there were none reported the year before. Minnesota has 10 arrests since the start of 2011 and is jumping ahead of the competition like a champion sprinter in a 100 meter race. The Vikings have surpassed the Bengals with 39 arrests versus Cincy's 37 since the start of 2000. The numbers were first compiled by the St. Paul Pioneer Press and TheBigLead.com site and I've since verified them.
This is, in many ways, a remarkable statistic. The Vikings have mostly escaped the type of scrutiny and mocking that both the Bengals and Lions have endured. Why this is, I don't know. Vikings arrests have flown under the radar nationally while the media has focused on the Lions and Bengals. In fact, my guess is that few people knew the Vikings had such a troubling record.
And why is this? I've asked scouts and other team executives and no one can say for sure. The best answer seems to be the Vikings have the same issues as the Lions and Bengals. They've made some questionable draft and free agent signings, meaning some of their picks and signings had red flags, so it's no stunner the team later had issues with those same players.
Like, for example, wide receiver Randy Moss, when he was arrested for an altercation with a meter maid. It was well known Moss was a jackass and becoming a bigger one. The Vikings took a chance and got burned (as would other teams after that).
Another theory is that in certain NFL towns, police pay more attention to NFL players than others. The proponents of this theory point to the fact the Vikings have significant amounts of alcohol-related arrests during this stretch (14), meaning they're being more closely watched by law enforcement (so goes the theory). Who knows if this is true. Though I would say if that is accurate, and players are being caught driving drunk, then they should get punished.
The larger point remains is that the Vikings are the league's new bad boys. Not the Bengals. Not the Lions.