A new Tuesday feature on the ESPN.com NFL blog network.
There has been a natural connecting of the dots between Minnesota coach Brad Childress and free agent Brian Westbrook, his former player in Philadelphia. But initial reports suggest the Vikings are focusing at least their initial investigation on Tomlinson to replace departed backup tailback Chester Taylor.
Although Tomlinson has had some nagging injuries in recent years, he has missed only three games in his career and in general has been more durable than Westbrook.
You wouldn't want Tomlinson as your feature back for an extended period, an issue the Vikings wouldn't have to deal with if Peterson makes it through the season healthy. If he's willing, Tomlinson would be a natural to fill the third-down role Taylor excelled in. Here's a portion of Scouts Inc.'s evaluation of Tomlinson prior to free agency:
Tomlinson is a nine-year veteran who has been playing with diminishing skills over the past few seasons. He still has enough physical tools to contribute in the league but not an impact ball carrier as he was early in his career. ... As a receiver, Tomlinson has always had good hands and is one of the more natural receiving backs in the league. Health and durability are concerns at this point because he has a lot of mileage on him.