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Artis Hicks Now Says He Never Mentioned “Bounty” Program

After reportedly saying that the 2009 Minnesota Vikings had a “bounty” program, he’s now declaring that he said no such thing.

Minnesota Vikings 2008 Headshots Photo by Getty Images

Earlier this week, we mentioned the story about former Minnesota Vikings’ offensive lineman Artis Hicks telling author Jeff Pearlman that the 2009 Vikings had a “bounty” program in place. According to Pearlman, who had included the tidbit in his biography of Brett Favre, Hicks told him that Vikings coaches had organized a program that paid players for injuring opposing players.

However, in an interview with Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Hicks now claims that he said no such thing and that Pearlman had misinterpreted his comments.

“No, I never told him any specifics,” Hicks said. “I never named names, I never said … Only thing I told him as far as specifics was I had been part of a meeting where players were amongst ourselves as part of a unit. We kind of felt like the last time we played the team, they kind of did some dirty things to our running back or quarterback. When we played them again later in the year it was, ‘Hey, when you get a chance to get this guy, dinner is on me.’ That was as detailed as I got. Again, it was never any specifics on what team I was with or anything like that.”

. . .

“Coaches didn’t know about things like that,” Hicks said. “A lot of it happens within the locker room. If there was a game and you were with your guys and you felt a guy dove at your knees or tried to hurt you, next time you played them, coaches don’t have to get involved in that. Players take it on themselves.

After Hicks’ remarks went public, numerous people that would have been connected with such a thing were quick to deny anything of the sort. They included current Vikings’ defensive end Brian Robison, former Vikings’ linebacker Ben Leber, and even former head coach Brad Childress. Hicks told Krammer that Childress is someone he had the utmost respect for and that he did everything “by the book” when he was the Vikings’ head coach.

Hicks went so far as to say that he didn’t even tell Pearlman which team he was with when these meetings occurred, so it’s entirely possible that these things didn’t even happen when Hicks was with the Vikings. He also played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, and Washington Redskins over the course of his NFL career.

So, as we said in the post earlier this week, if the Vikings did have something like that going on, it was simply amongst the players themselves. It certainly doesn’t appear that it’s anything that was signed off on by a member of the coaching staff, the head coach himself, or the general manager like what we saw from the cheating Saints. I guess if anyone was getting their hopes up about that sort of thing, Hicks’ new revelations should be enough to get them to relax a little bit.