Early in free agency, tight end Rhett Ellison signed a 4-year, $18 million deal to move on from the Minnesota Vikings to the New York Giants after five seasons in purple. You would think that would be the last we hear about him, and it might be.
His father, on the other hand, is apparently a different story.
Riki Ellison, a former NFL player and Rhett Ellison’s father, took to social media on Sunday and declared that the Vikings had “toxic leadership.” He subsequently deleted that tweet, but Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press caught it and mentioned it in the story linked above.
(Sorry the picture isn’t great. . .I had the tweet open in Tweetdeck and it got deleted, so this was the best I can do.)
When Tomasson asked Ellison further about what he meant, he elaborated.
“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?’’ said Riki Ellison, chairman and founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance outside Washington. “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.’’
I’m not entirely sure whether or not they had free agency or a salary cap in the NFL in Riki Ellison’s day, but it doesn’t appear he’s entirely familiar with how it works. I’m guessing that the Vikings probably can retain just about anyone they want. However, the Vikings had priorities with what they wanted to do in free agency and who they wanted to keep or get rid of or whatever. Riki’s son apparently wasn’t on the “keep” list, and it seems he’s a bit salty about it.
Never mind the fact that Rhett Ellison expected to go undrafted and reportedly broke down when the Vikings spent a fourth-round selection on him in 2012, or that they brought him back for 2016 after a nasty knee injury in the 2015 season finale left him rehabbing until just before the start of Training Camp. I mean, this isn’t even “what have you done for me lately,” because lately the Vikings have done quite a bit for Rhett Ellison, or at least it would appear on the surface.
Ellison the Elder made news last offseason as well, when he crafted a FaceBook post declaring that his son was “moving on” from Minnesota, and then had to take it down when Rhett Ellison came back to the Vikings on a one-year deal.
I’m really not sure where Riki Ellison is getting this from, but there certainly haven’t been any sort of rumblings like these from anyone that actually spends time in the Vikings’ locker room or at Winter Park or anything like that. Until then, we can probably break out the salt shaker as far as things like this are concerned.
I like Rhett Ellison, the player. I really do. I thought he did a pretty good job in his role as a blocking tight end, occasional fullback, and occasional pass catcher in his five years with Minnesota. He’s obviously found a situation that he likes in New York, and hopefully things work out for him there. And, with any luck, this will be the last time we have to talk about Riki Ellison, too.