Every Vikings fan has the memory of losing to the Saints in the NFC Championship game still fresh in their minds. The Saints dressed in all black uniforms seemed like the enemy more than the opposition. Many accused them of dirty play during and after the game. These cries from fans often come off as them deflecting from a heartbreaking loss. Usually, that is exactly what they are. However, for once the fans were right.

A recent report from the NFL was just released a statement that the Saints violated the “bounty rule” in 2009, 2010, and 2011(via ProFootballTalk.com). The players made a $50,000 fund that was created by the players that would reward $1,000 for a player being carted off the field and $1,500 for a game ending injury. Recall that Brett Favre was the victim of many late hits against New Orleans and one specific one that injured his ankle that he would eventually play through. Before the game Jonathan Vilma put $10,000 on a table and said it would go to whoever knocked out Favre. Also, Adrian Peterson entered the game coming off a high ankle sprain injury. He had some post game comments insinuating players trying to cause injury but, at the time, they didn’t gain much attention . Here is what he had to say:

“I came into the game kind of expecting that coming back from a high ankle sprain, guys are going to try to take their shots when we’re on the pile and try to twist it up and things like that. I felt like it kind of got overboard. I got up and kind of got in his face. Thank God I was able to keep my composure.”

Gregg Williams was the Saints’ defensive coordinator at the time has come out and offered an apology for his role and actions in the “Bountygate.” Here is the quote from Williams,

“I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the ‘pay for performance’ program while I was with the Saints, it was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”

Williams has in no way denied his involvement but it doesn’t stop at him. Sean Payton knew of it as well but also did nothing to stop it. The question now will be how swift and how severely will the NFL impose discipline. The NFL had a similar incident years back regarding “Spygate” and the New England Patriots. This situation has more strict rules against bounties and could potentially make the fines steeper for the Saints and the head coaches at the time. Vikings fans may feel they were cheated out of a chance at a Superbowl in 2010 and they may be right but, in the end, fines and discipline will never change the past.