Will The Vikings Attend Colin Kaepernick's Workout?

Photo: Colin Kaepernick

Vikings Should Be Developing Starting QB Talent

I have never understood why the Vikings do not use second- or third-round draft picks on quarterbacks for the purposes of having positional talent that doesn’t require the depth of development that a late-round QB pick or an undrafted free agent would.

That’s been the Vikings MO for developing quarterbacks but it hasn’t really worked out, has it? Even when you draft your potential franchise quarterback, as the Vikings tried to do with Teddy Bridgewater, why not take a shot at a third-rounder as an insurance policy?

If your starting quarterback gets injured, you’ve got potential starter quality already on the roster as a backup. If your starter remains healthy, you’ve got potential trade bait to turn into greater future return (See Patriots, Jimmy Garappolo and Jacoby Brissett).

Look no further than Kirk Cousins himself, a fourth-round pick in the very same draft that Washington picked Robert Griffin III with the second overall selection.

And given how uneven Kirk Cousin’s performances have been as the quarterback of the Vikings and given his well-documented struggles in big games (Dallas not withstanding), why not pick a QB in the third round next year?

Or the team could upgrade at the position earlier than that.

Is Kaepernick Workout An NFL Publicity Stunt?

The NFL has announced it will host a workout for heretofor blacklisted quarterback Colin Kaepernick this Saturday so representatives of individual teams can assess his fitness for a roster spot.

Will the Vikings have representatives present? Kaepernick would be an obvious upgrade over Sean Mannion.

However, there are many reasons to believe this workout is merely a publicity stunt to give the league cover to bat away allegations that Kaepernick has been blacklisted.

Slate‘s Jeremy Stahl makes that argument persuasively with these four points:

  1. Colin Kaepernick only learned about the proposed workout on Tuesday
  2. The league rejected a request to move the workout from this Saturday to a Tuesday to make it easier for team head coaches and GMs to attend
  3. The league gave Kaepernick two hours to respond to the offer
  4. Teams received no advance notice of the workout

Mike Zimmer was asked if he was surpised the league scheduled a workout for Kaepernick this Saturday.

“Am I surprised? Honestly, I didn’t know about it until Rick [Spielman] came in and told me today, so I didn’t know anything about it.”

Vikings Head Coach, Mike Zimmer

Zimmer was asked if he checked his email because the announcement about Kaepernick’s workout was delivered to teams from the league via email:

“Well, I didn’t read all the way down. That’s what I told Rick. I said, ‘I didn’t even see it.’ And he said, ‘Well, it was at the bottom of the transactions,’ or whatever. I said, ‘I didn’t read it all the way down.’”

Vikings Head Coach, Mike Zimmer

So it appears the league buried the announcement at the very bottom of a routine email addressing transactions around the league. If you want to draw as little attention as possible to Kaepernick’s workout, this is definitely a way to do that.

And based on that and the fact that Vikings staff will be busy perparing for the Broncos on Saturday, I’m guessing the Vikings will not be evaluating Colin Kaepernick.

The Reason Colin Kaepernick Is Unemployed

It is worthwhile to remember that Colin Kaepernick was widely villified for kneeling during the performance of the national anthem before 49ers games in protest to well-documented cases of the killing of unarmed black Americans by uniformed police officers.

His protest was hijacked for political gain by Republicans generally and Trump in particular and twisted into an act of disrespect for the flag and the military. It was not.

But make no mistake, that act of protest is what has cost Kaepernick his job.

Forced Patiotism

Photo: National Anthem Performance Before Minnesota vs Washington Game
National Anthem Performance Before Minnesota vs Washington Game

I have never really liked the fact that the national anthem is played before sports teams and, in particular, that the crowd is expected to remove their hats and put their hand on their heart during its performance.

It feels like forced patriotism to me and forced patriotism is no patriotism at all.

I recently attended a Vikings game with an African American friend of mine, who quietly slipped out from our seats to the concessions area at the start of the national anthem.

I get it, understand, and don’t blame him at all. While I remain stainding during the performance of the national anthem, I manifest my discomfort with the forced patriotism by not putting my hand on my heart.

While it is now clear that overt acts of protest will cost you your job if you’re an NFL player, I have noticed that many African American Vikings players do the same as I do, which is, I suspect, their own subtle act of protest.

Take a look at the photo at the top of this section. Of the Vikings players for whom you can see both arms, I count eleven black players for whom both arms are either at their sides, or clasped together in front or behind their body. Eight African American players appear to have thier hand on their heart.

Conversely, all of the white players pictured (five of them) have their hands on their heart. But then, they don’t have anyting to protest, do they?

Here’s the question: Why play the national anthem at sporting events at all? There is nothing remotely patriotic about sporting events, so there isn’t even any rationale for the performance in this context.