Lone lineman was getting familiar with QBs

Skill position players weren't the only ones working out at IMG earlier this month. Center Brandon Fusco attended to get familiar with quarterbacks Christian Ponder and Joe Webb, and the playbook. See what Fusco had to say about the experience.

The Vikings' workouts at IMG Academies in Florida drew some media attention because of Christian Ponder and Joe Webb's involvements, but they weren't alone.

Also attending were tight end Kyle Rudolph and receivers Emmanuel Arceneaux and Greg Camarillo, along with quarterback Rhett Bomar. But lost among all the skill-position players was one lone lineman, rookie center Brandon Fusco.

"I thought it would be a good idea to come down and meet some of the teammates, to know the guys and learn the plays," Fusco said.

Normally, Fusco would have been splitting his time between training near Pittsburgh and spending organized team activities and minicamps in Minnesota. The lockout, however, has forced players to take some unusual action. Back in Pennsylvania, Fusco took on an additional job doing landscaping just to make ends meet until he can sign his first NFL contract and start tasting NFL money, even if it is at the sixth-round level.

While receivers ran routes and quarterbacks worked on the playbook progressions with IMG director of football Chris Weinke, Fusco used his week off from landscaping to get used to snapping the ball to Ponder, Webb and Bomar.

"Today was the first time I got the playbook. It was interesting. Some were similar to college, some weren't," he said early in that week of workouts. "I'm learning the progression and learning to adapt to them real quick. With our team not knowing the plays now that there's a new offensive coordinator, I feel like I get an extra edge over the other guys. I'm liking this."

However, like most other rookies, he isn't so fond of the lockout that is keeping him from getting hands-on instruction from new Vikings offensive line coach Jeff Davidson.

"It's frustrating with this lockout. Hopefully it's all solved soon," said Fusco, who played for Slippery Rock and more than held his own at the NFL Scouting Combine. "It's difficult not knowing your coaches as much as you want to right now and learn the playbook with them and communicate with your whole team. It's difficult right now. It really was frustrating."

Like the others, Fusco was invited to IMG by Ponder and wanted to establish an early chemistry with the entire quarterback corps.

"Absolutely, it's very important," Fusco said of the quarterback-center chemistry. "If we're comfortable with each other, the rest of the offense will be smoother, especially rookies with a rookie quarterback and center. It's definitely a huge thing."

Fusco was already familiar with the IMG workout regimen and personnel. He trained with them before the NFL Scouting Combine and was pleased with the results.

"When I was here, [speed coach] Lawrence Seagrave and [conditioning coach] Jeff Dillman got me prepared definitely for the Combine," Fusco said. "My times show it. I was top-10, top-five in all my categories – timing. This place here just gets you ready for anything, any sport anywhere. I think it's the best place in the whole world to strength train. If you get the opportunity to train here, I would. I recommend it. It's a unique place."

And yet it is becoming familiar to Fusco and other Vikings relegated to training somewhere at than Winter Park.


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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While receivers ran routes and quarterbacks worked on the playbook progressions with IMG director of football Chris Weinke, Fusco used his week off from landscaping to get used to snapping the ball to Ponder, Webb and Bomar. \"Today was the first time I got the playbook. It was interesting. Some were similar to college, some weren't,\" he said early in that week of workouts. \"I'm learning the progression and learning to adapt to them real quick. With our team not knowing the plays now that there's a new offensive coordinator, I feel like I get an extra edge over the other guys. I'm liking this.\" However, like most other rookies, he isn't so fond of the lockout that is keeping him from getting hands-on instruction from new Vikings offensive line coach Jeff Davidson. \"It's frustrating with this lockout. Hopefully it's all solved soon,\" said Fusco, who played for Slippery Rock and more than held his own at the NFL Scouting Combine. \"It's difficult not knowing your coaches as much as you want to right now and learn the playbook with them and communicate with your whole team. It's difficult right now. It really was frustrating.\" Like the others, Fusco was invited to IMG by Ponder and wanted to establish an early chemistry with the entire quarterback corps. \"Absolutely, it's very important,\" Fusco said of the quarterback-center chemistry. \"If we're comfortable with each other, the rest of the offense will be smoother, especially rookies with a rookie quarterback and center. It's definitely a huge thing.\" Fusco was already familiar with the IMG workout regimen and personnel. He trained with them before the NFL Scouting Combine and was pleased with the results. \"When I was here, [speed coach] Lawrence Seagrave and [conditioning coach] Jeff Dillman got me prepared definitely for the Combine,\" Fusco said. \"My times show it. I was top-10, top-five in all my categories – timing. This place here just gets you ready for anything, any sport anywhere. I think it's the best place in the whole world to strength train. If you get the opportunity to train here, I would. I recommend it. It's a unique place.\" And yet it is becoming familiar to Fusco and other Vikings relegated to training somewhere at than Winter Park. 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