Former Vikings TE’s father says ‘toxic leadership’ has players leaving Minnesota
Former Vikings tight end Rhett Ellison signed with the Giants in free agency this week, and his father says the leadership in Minnesota is the reason his son and other players are choosing to leave town.
Riki Ellison, who was an NFL linebacker for 10 seasons and won three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, ripped the Vikings in a tweet on Saturday.
exodus of their draft picks out of the Minnesota Vikings in free agency – with a new stadium, new facility – statement on toxic leadership
— Riki Ellison (@RikiEllison) March 12, 2017
As Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press noted, Riki Ellison also criticized the team in a Facebook post for the “mentality of physical practices” which he says resulted in “hurt players on the offensive line and burn out the desire of the defense to play hard.” He piled on even further in a phone interview with Tomasson.
“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?” Ellison asked. “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.”
The Vikings have yet to re-sign any of their own free agents, and Rhett Ellison is one of six players to leave so far this offseason. In his Facebook post, Riki Ellison said the team imploded during the bye week after starting out 5-0 last year. He added that offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s decision to leave in the middle of the season was a major “red-flag indicator.”
“Why would one of the best offensive coordinators walk out (after) they’re 5-0, and the best team in the NFL?” Riki Ellison wrote. “Something happened in that (bye) week.”
Turner’s decision to resign so abruptly was certainly a head-scratcher, and we know one of the best players in Vikings history is not feeling the love from the team. While Riki Ellison may be exaggerating a bit, his son spent five seasons in Minnesota and has a very good idea of what has been going on behind closed doors.