The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Vikings earn top mark in NFLPA player treatment survey

- By Phillip B. Wilson

INDIANAPOL­IS — The Minnesota Vikings treat their players best, according to a new NFL Players Associatio­n survey.

The Washington Commanders have a long way to go.

The report, released Wednesday during the league’s annual scouting combine, rated teams in eight categories — everything from meals and nutrition to training and travel — based on anonymous responses from about 1,300 players. The teams were ranked from 1 to 32.

The Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders were the top three teams while the bottom three were the Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals and Washington Commanders.

“Player health and safety is our top priority, and we continue to invest in our facilities, including a new practice field, new turf in the practice bubble and increased meeting room space,” a spokespers­on for the Commanders said. “We know there is more to do, and we regularly talk with our players about ways to improve their work environmen­t and the experience for their families.”

Results showed three teams don’t serve players dinner at their facilities and one of those, the Cincinnati Bengals, doesn’t provide supplement­s or phone-charging plugs in lockers. And last season, the Jacksonvil­le Jaguars dealt with a rat infestatio­n.

NFLPA president JC Tretter insisted the survey isn’t meant to shame teams. It’s intended to highlight teams that treat players and those that

need to improve by highlighti­ng the best practices and standards. Then, perhaps, teams will attempt to raise their standards.

“I think the recommenda­tions will be fairly clear when they read the reports,” Tretter said. “There’s not much lost in translatio­n.

“There are some really basic things where it’s like, ‘This shouldn’t be going on.’”

Teams were graded on treatment of families, food service/nutrition, weight room, strength coaches, training room, training staff, locker room and team travel.

The full report/rankings can be found on

Other findings include:

Six teams don’t fly players in first class.

Seven teams don’t arrange for players to have roommates on road trips.

Eighteen of 32 teams offer family rooms in stadiums where families can go with their children.

The Philadelph­ia Eagles offer a stadium family room just for coaches’ wives and children, not players’ wives.

“The reason we want

this to be reoccurrin­g is next year, there can be no claim of ignorance because we’ve brought the problem up and it would be even more telling if these issues continue,” Tretter said. “Then that’s a clear choice and there’s no claim of ignorance there.

“It’s going to be very clear what the next steps should be. If you’re unwilling to take those next steps, I think that tells us a lot going into the following year.”

The expectatio­n is for players who leave teams to be more forthright in future surveys.

It was important to release the survey results before free agency begins, he said, because how teams treat players could be a deciding factor when mulling two offers.

“Two offers being equal, this might get a player to say, ’My situation in Team X with the same offer is going to be better than Team Y,” Tretter said.

Not all the findings are negative. Seven of the top eights teams rated most efficient with players made the playoffs.

 ?? Michael Conroy/Associated Press ?? Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell speaks during a press conference at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapol­is on Wednesday.
Michael Conroy/Associated Press Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell speaks during a press conference at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapol­is on Wednesday.

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