In what some are calling a risky move to the Memorial Blood Centers in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Vikings announced this week that they have signed Vlad Ducasse, aka, Vlad the Impaler re-incarnate, to play football on their offensive line.
Vlad, allegedly dead since 1477, has been flying under the radar in – of all places – New York City, after he was drafted by the New York Jets in 2010. Having grown in size since his death over 500 years ago, Vlad proved to be a heavyweight for the Jets offensive line, even if didn't quite grasp the nuances of a modern world. Things like "blocking" and "no neck biting" and "stop letting your quarterback get sacked" were all foreign concepts to him, but apparently weren't problems enough to deter the Vikings from signing the "Son of the Dragon" to a one-year deal.
Will this move prove to be boom or bust for the Vikings? We investigate.
Anytime a team signs a football player who has struggled to beat out a rookie for a full time starting position along an offensive line as poor as the Jets' has been, the move may be regarded as a poor one. However, there are certainly benefits someone like Vlad brings to any football team, including the Vikings.
First, someone as old as Vlad clearly brings a wealth of experience to the team. Having survived (for the most part) through the tumultuous times of the 1400's in Transylvania certainly means he knows how to survive in the trenches. He also brings with him a certain amount of intimidation when he's facing off against a defensive linemen. When you have a long, storied history and back story involving the Order of the Dragon, being infamous for impaling your enemies with spears, and being the inspiration for a blood lusting vampiric creature, it's pretty easy to make some people nervous.
Also, Vlad has an enormous fan base of young adult fantasy readers, infatuated with all things vampires, werewolves, and more. So expect tickets to Vikings games next year harder to come by.
Vlad brings all these talents, and more, to the Vikings with this signing. So why didn't it work out in New York?
First, Vlad just wasn't very good as an offensive linemen in New York. He was highly penalized while playing for the Jets, which may have been because his millennium long travels from Europe to Haiti, where Vlad was re-incarnated as Vlad Ducasse, left him facing several different language barriers. Perhaps that is why he was never able to understand why he was being called for penalties; because no one could properly explain things to him.
Remember, when Vlad was last successfully active in the 1400's, impalings and imprisonments and torture were all very common place. Now, in today's NFL, something as simple as name calling can get someone a penalty. Vlad simply needs someone to explain these restrictions to him, so he can understand the challenges he now faces. Never one to back down from an army of 12,000 men, Vlad would welcome this challenge, as well.
Overall, Vlad isn't expected to be a team changer or anything, but rather provide some quality depth to an offensive line that doesn't have any. Bringing starting experience in the NFL and a tenacious ability to kill people, Vlad Ducasse might be exactly what the Vikings need.