Deadspin has an excerpt from a new biography of Brett Favre and the book asserts (as the Deadspin headline reads):
Brett Favre's Vikings Had A "Bounty" Program Too
Former Viking Ben Leber, who was on the team at the time, tweeted this:On September 8, 2008, a year before Brett Favre would join the organization, the Minnesota Vikings traveled to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers. Aside from being Aaron Rodgers’s debut as a starter, the game was noteworthy for its physicality and aggressiveness. In the first half alone, the teams combined for 12 penalties for 86 yards. It was a sloppy, messy, nasty affair, and in the days and weeks following the Packers’ 24–19 win, Minnesota’s coaches stewed. After watching the tape, they were convinced that Nick Barnett, Green Bay’s outstanding linebacker, had gone out of his way to injure Adrian Peterson, the Vikings halfback.
The rival franchises played again nine weeks later, and three days before kickoff a Minnesota coach stood up in a team meeting, mentioned Barnett by name, and said, “I will give $500 to anyone who takes this #### out of the game.”
This was hardly a shocking move in the Vikings’ locker room, where piles of money were regularly collected—then distributed as rewards—for injuring opposing stars. “It was part of the culture,” said Artis Hicks, a Minnesota offensive lineman. “I had coaches start a pot and all the veterans put in an extra $100, $200, and if you hurt someone special, you get the money. There was a bottom line, and I think we all bought in: you’re there to win, and if taking out the other team’s best player helps you win, hey, it’s nothing personal. Just business.”
Although the Barnett affair occurred in 2008, Hicks insists the Vikings were no different a year later, when Brett Favre was quarterback. He recalled no one on the team complaining, nobody arguing with the approach. “This isn’t a game or culture for the fainthearted,” Hicks said. “You bleed, you suffer, you sacrifice, and if need be, you try and knock people out. It’s the NFL.”
Ben Leber @nacholeber
To refute the rumor, I never heard of any bounty program existing within #Vikings locker room. We had incentives for big plays, not injuries