Back in 2016, quarterback Colin Kaepernick was vilified and effectively run out of the NFL for taking a knee during the national anthem to speak out peaceful against racial injustice and police brutality. Flashing forward to 2020, racial tensions in the United States have flared up again due to the killing of an African-American man, George Floyd, by a Minneapolis police officer.
Former White House spokesman and NFL executive vice president Joe Lockhart wrote an opinion piece for CNN to admit that teams across the league were too frightened to sign Kaepernick. While he goes on a tangent to say he and his colleagues were wrong, Lockhart called upon the Minnesota Vikings to offer Kaepernick a contract.
"The situation in Minnesota right now offers a unique opportunity to deal with the symbols of racial injustice," writes Lockhart. "As a small, but important step, the owners of the Minnesota Vikings, Zygi and Mark Wilf, can send a strong message by offering Colin Kaepernick a contract to play with the Vikings. Bring him into camp, treat him like any of the other players given a chance to play the game they love.
"It will not solve the problem of blacks and police violence. But it will recognize the problem that Kaepernick powerfully raised, and perhaps show that, with courage, real progress can be made."
While Lockhart seems to have good intentions in his call to the Vikings to make this move, it's just not likely.
The Alliance of American Football and the XFL both heavily pursued Kaepernick to be the face of their leagues, but, the ex-signal caller reportedly asked for as much as $20 million per season. When looking at the Vikings' current cap situation, they only have $11 million in space.
If they were able to sign Kaepernick, he'd certainly fit into their zone-blocking scheme. Current Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak tried to trade for his services back in 2016 when he was the head coach of the Denver Broncos. Plus, Kaepernick would be a serviceable contingency plan if Kirk Cousins were to go down with injury.
But it's unknown if either side would have mutual interest. It's wishful thinking on Lockhart's part, to be sure. At the very least, the hope is that his essay can help this ongoing national conversation make meaningful progress.