Notebook: Shiancoe downplays feud

TE Visanthe Shiancoe and Saints safety Darren Sharper had a good time with their trash talk this spring, but Shiancoe grew uncomfortable with the subject this week. However, a couple of Vikings stressed the importance of Sharper to the Saints defense.

Visanthe Shiancoe had fun with his Twitter trash-talking session with former Vikings safety Darren Sharper this spring, but now that the game is just days away and Sharper isn't playing, Shiancoe is downplaying the talk.

"It was all fun and games, but at the same time we knew what was going to happen when we got out there on the field. We don't got to talk about that no more. It's already over," Shiancoe said. "Not happening. He's not going to be on the field anyway. There's going to be somebody in his place, so he might have to take the brunt of that."

Sharper is out for at least the first six weeks of the season because of offseason microfracture surgery on his knee.

Shiancoe and Sharper had lockers next to each other in Minnesota when they were teammates in 2007 and 2008, and both have outgoing personalities. When Sharper tweeted "X marks the spot" after Brett Favre had ankle surgery in late May, Shiancoe shot back and the two were off on a escalating back-and-forth for anyone with Internet access to read.

"I like a little trash talk, it adds a little flavor to the game," Shiancoe said.

But now that Sharper isn't playing, and what is believed to be a message from Vikings coach Brad Childress to cool it, the trash talk was brought to a screeching halt this summer. Shiancoe is hoping that Sharper's absence on the field will accelerate the Vikings' offensive productivity even further.

"I do miss him as a teammate. I do. … There's really nobody else to talk trash to. I'm going to let my play talk for me," Shiancoe said, acknowledging Sharper's experience could be missed in the Saints secondary.

"With a guy like that? Great player. Pro Bowl player. Been playing at a high level for a long time, of course that's going to affect their defense a little bit."

Receiver Bernard Berrian said Sharper's absence does leave some experience missing from the Saints defense.

In his first season with the Saints, Sharper had 71 tackles (the most for him since 2003 with the Packers) and nine interceptions (tying career highs from 2005 with the Vikings and 2000 with the Packers).

"Sharper's a very smart player, ties up a lot of things and makes a lot of plays back there. Definitely, he creates turnovers and takes a bit hit when he can get it," Berrian said. "With him (not) being out there, it's a tremendous help for us."


Wednesday marked the day that the Vikings and Saints had to declared the probability of their injured players suiting up for Thursday night's game. Center John Sullivan is listed as probable, meaning he's a "virtual certainty" top play.

The Vikings are apparently still holding out hope that Cedric Griffin (knee) can play on Thursday night. Griffin is one of two Vikings listed as questionable on Wednesday's injury report, joining RB Toby Gerhart (knee).

Griffin's inclusion in the game, although it still seems unlikely given his limited participation during the week, would be a boost to a secondary that is without rookie CB Chris Cook (knee), who has been ruled out. DT Jimmy Kennedy (knee) is also out.

In addition to Sullivan (calf), QB Brett Favre (ankle) and S Jamarca Sanford (ankle) are probable.

For the Saints, RB Chris Ivory (knee) and LB Stanley Arnoux (ankle) are out. T Zach Strief (knee) is questionable.

Most of the Saints' injured players, including starting LB Jonathan Vilma (groin) and starting CB Tracy Porter (knee), are probable. That list also includes S Pierson Prioleau (knee), DT Anthony Hargrove (knee), TE Jimmy Graham (ankle) and WR Marques Colston (kidney).


  • Defending Super Bowl champions have a tough time repeating, and Saints QB Drew acknowledged that. "It's going to be difficult to repeat, but we embrace that challenge. We're in the business of winning and we have an opportunity to create a legacy here that's not just about one championship," he said. "We see what we have here and it's something that can be really special."

  • The Vikings play eight games this year against NFL playoff teams from 2009, which is tied for the highest in the league. However, the Vikings only have the 15th-ranked 2010 schedule when it comes to the winning percentage (.504) of their opponents from 2009.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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