Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hindsight is 20/20: John Carlson

We use Newspaper archives to help us tell the story of the Vikings signing of John Carlson.

courtesy Pioneer Press
March 15, 2012

John Carlson was in Kansas City on Tuesday night, preparing for a visit with the Chiefs, when the Vikings placed a call that changed everything. The call was so persuasive, the former Seattle Seahawks tight end said, he left Kansas City and didn't meet with the Chiefs. The 6-foot-5, 251-pound Litchfield, Minn., native is returning home, signed to a five-year, $25-million deal with the Vikings worth $11 million guaranteed. "Rick (Spielman) came forward with a commitment no other team had shown, a level of interest that was unparalleled," Carlson said on a conference call Wednesday, March 14, with local media, referring to the Vikings general manager. Money wasn't the only commitment. Carlson said he noticed how the Vikings are "building something" with their offense and are dedicated to surrounding quarterback Christian Ponder with playmakers. During Carlson's Wednesday visit, several team executives and coaches told him how much the team wanted him. Now he'll have his chance to repay the team by becoming a well-rounded tight end who plays to his strengths as a pass catcher.

The Star Tribune summarizes the significance of Carlson's signing:

What is the significance of John Carlson’s arrival?......But when the Vikings made a mad rush at John Carlson on Tuesday night, expressing their interest and commitment in a way that caused the tight end to quickly leave Kansas City before a scheduled free agent meeting with the Chiefs there was plenty to digest. The Vikings had Carlson’s ear and he bolted from Kansas City to connect with the brass at Winter Park.
General manager Rick Spielman’s interest in landing Carlson shows the commitment that offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has expressed towards making tight ends a big part of the offense. It’s easy to envision Carlson and Kyle Rudolph operating together in two tight end sets next season, each able to put stress on opposing defenses with their pass-catching abilities.
Plus, the Vikings’ five-year commitment to Carlson also speaks to a bigger picture priority at Winter Park and that’s the hope to surround quarterback Christian Ponder with young playmakers that will be around for a while. The quest for continuity on offense is a major priority right now.
Carlson’s worth? We’ll need at least a full season maybe two to begin evaluating whether a deal worth a reported $25 million over five years was sensible. Yet on Wednesday, Carlson expressed his vision for how things will work out, excited about the core of playmakers in place – from Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin to Christian Ponder and Rudolph.
“My goal has always been to be a well-rounded player,” Carlson said. “Being able to contribute in the passing game, being able to stretch the field and make plays like that. But also I need to do the pass protecting that you need to do as an effective tight end in this league. I want to catch passes. That’s the fun part. But I’m also excited about doing a good job in the run game and protecting as well.”

Carlson's numbers through 9 weeks in 2012:

3 catches, 8 yards, 0 tds.

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