Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe believes the Vikings offense is more "receiver-friendly" under new coordinator Bill Musgrave and sounded intrigued with the possibilities, although he cautioned that the running game could be the focus.
"It's very receiver-friendly," said Shiancoe, who worked out with quarterbacks Christian Ponder and Joe Webb in Florida about a month ago. "When I say receiver-friendly, I don't mean it's pass-heavy at all. I'm not saying that, but it allows a lot of options, a lot of adjustments."
Shiancoe agreed with insinuations that parts of Musgrave's offense will be similar to that of the Atlanta Falcons, where Musgrave was most recently the quarterbacks coach. But the tight end said he "loves" the way the Falcons use their personnel and he likes the use of personnel in the Vikings' new playbook.
For the last four years, the Vikings have used a version of the West Coast offense under former head coach Brad Childress and former offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Musgrave is expected to mix his experiences with the Falcons, along with influences from the West Coast offense and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Falcons, however, could be the closest version to what Musgrave will implement in Minnesota. Last year, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan passed for 3,705 yards, 28 touchdowns and nine interceptions for an 11th-ranked 91.0 NFL passer rating. He was aided by Michael Turner's third-ranked 1,371 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns and Roddy White's league-leading 1,389 receiving yards.
For the Vikings, Percy Harvin was the leading receiver with 888 yards (27th in the league), Adrian Peterson was the leading rusher with 1,298 yards (sixth in the NFL) and Brett Favre had 2,509 yards passing (25th in the NFL), 11 touchdowns, 19 interceptions and a 69.9 passer rating.
Shiancoe spent a few days with Ponder last month and was back at it Tuesday in Minnesota, but it wasn't enough work for Shiancoe to making any sweeping judgments about the rookie's chances.
"We really haven't worked too much together for me to make all these assumptions and stuff. He looks like a good quarterback," Shiancoe said. "I can't really speak too much on it. He's passing the ball like everybody else, seven-on-seven. Every quarterback is going to look good. You can't really say, ‘Oh, man, this and that.' … At least he's excited to work."
Ponder joined the Larry Fitzgerald-organized workouts at the University of Minnesota on Monday and postponed a meeting with his real estate agent to try to find a townhome. On Tuesday, Ponder didn't take part in the conditioning but did join the workouts for the throwing portion.
Without the benefit of organized team activities and minicamps, it's uncertain how quickly Ponder can adapt to the NFL game and become a starter. For now, Shiancoe was withholding judgment.
"If he's a quick learner, who knows? That's going to be a hard decision for the coaches to make," Shiancoe said.
But no matter who is throwing the ball his way, Shiancoe is back in Minnesota, ready to get started preparing for the season and hoping for big things in a new offense.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Shiancoe discusses playbook and Ponder
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