Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:
When defensive tackle Christian Ballard left the team in August, dealing with what coach Leslie Frazier called a "personal issue," there was plenty of speculation about what was going on with the third-year player. Ballard wasn't going to be a fixture on the Vikings' defensive line, but he was expected to add some depth to the group, and his abrupt departure made him a source of curiosity for a couple weeks before the start of the season.
Now, Ballard has decided to explain why he left, telling USA Today that the NFL "wasn't fun for me."
"I can always treat my wife better, treat my son better, be a better brother, be a better son," Ballard told USA Today. "But I know right now from being out of the NFL that it's a lot easier to focus on those things because I have time. I'm not wrapped up in this whole other lifestyle. I'm not saying that I left the NFL (and) now everything is just fine. It's not. There's still a lot of lot of things I've got to work on – obviously – as being a husband and a father."
According to the story, Ballard and his wife were arrested last Thursday following a domestic dispute, but the defensive tackle says he's trying to turn his life around, finishing his undergraduate degree with hopes of pursuing a graduate art and music program.
If Ballard decides to return to the NFL -- which he tells USA Today he hasn't ruled out -- the Vikings would control his rights for another two years. They could use another rotational player on their defensive line. But from the story, Ballard sounds at peace with his decision to leave football, at least for now.
Here are today's other Vikings stories of note:
We looked at Cordarrelle Patterson's curious absence from the Vikings' offense, in light of how much the team gave up to draft him last April and how much it seems they could have used one of the picks they dealt on a middle linebacker.
The Vikings made no money in the first year of the e-pulltab scheme through which they initially planned to finance their new stadium, Jean Hopfensperger of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
One fan apparently feels strongly enough about the need for a new Vikings quarterback -- and the role that dilemma should play in our national legislative process -- that he's petitioning the White House to bench Christian Ponder, according to Derek Wetmore of 1500ESPN.com.