In news that shouldn't surprise many of us, New Orleans has finally signed Darren Sharper after a couple weeks of playing footsie with each other. Terms of the deal are not yet available.
Darren has been at the forefront of Vikings fans' minds for his entire 12-year NFL career as a mainstay of the NFC Central/North. For the first eight years of his career, we loathed him twice a season while he was a member of the Packers. After the Packers thought he was washed up, we awkwardly welcomed our former enemy. Vikes fans quickly came around to Darren as he made the Pro Bowl in two of his four years with Minnesota. Keep making those MENSA-like personnel decisions Green Bay! I think Greg Jennings is just about washed up too, maybe you should send him over...
Anyways, seeing Sharper leave brings up a lot of the feelings I had when Matt Birk left a couple weeks ago. It was fairly obvious that Sharper was bound to leave us after the 2008 season, but I still held onto the hope that he might stick around. Heck, maybe at the very least he would retire and continue to make cheesy promos for Fox 9's postgame show! Alas, this wasn't the case. And just like with Birk, fans of his new team couldn't be happier, for good reason. Sharper may not be an elite-level safety anymore, he's still light years better than the other former Green Bay DB in New Orleans.
However, unlike Birk's departure, the Vikings are left with fewer questions at the position vacated by Sharper. Tyrell Johnson had a solid rookie year and Madieu Williams was impressive after missing the first part of the season due to injury. This made Sharper dispensable. If this offseason has taught us anything, it's that the NFL is just a business. Even if you are a crybaby quarterback that gets mad at your team for considering trading you. (No, I'm not sick of all this Jay Cutler talk at all, why do you ask?)
So Darren, just like I had to tell Matt a couple weeks ago: thanks for the great years you gave us, and good luck in the future, unless that future involves playing the Vikings.