With extra time, new WR Whalen confident

Ryan Whalen is playing training camp catch-up with the Vikings but starting to get the hang of Norv Turner’s offense.

On Aug. 1 the Minnesota Vikings announced that they had signed free agent wide receiver Ryan Whalen to bring their 90-man roster. Before joining the Vikings, Whalen had also spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals with Mike Zimmer.

“I really like working with Coach Zimmer. I had the privilege of being with him in Cincinnati even though he was on the other side of the ball,” Whalen said. “I appreciate the way he works hard and commands the team so I’m excited to be here with him.”

Joining the team late means that there is a lot he has to catch up on, but he isn’t feeling overwhelmed.

Norv Turner’s offense is often thought of as being a very complex system, but Whalen thinks he is getting the hang of it.

“It’s just different,” Whalen said when asked if Turner’s system is hard to pick up. “I’ve been in a West Coast offense before so the terminology’s different but it’s like anything else – the more that you are immersed in it and the more reps you get, you pick it up quick.”

When it is not his turn to be taking reps on the field he is paying close attention to what the play calls are and what the players in his position are doing during the plays, and of course he asks a lot of questions, anything he can do to get caught up on what the offense.

“Just going back through all the instillations we’ve had and if there are any questions, asking the coaches, making flash cards and studying on my own,” he said. “It’s really up to me in that way.”

The receiver said that all of his teammates and coaches are very helpful and eager to help him out whenever he has questions. They encourage him to come to them for help because they want him to understand the offense and his role in it just as badly as he wants to understand it himself.

With the Vikings playing their first game this Sunday, Whalen has to make sure he is as prepared as he can be so he is able to make a good impression, even though he has only had a week to prepare. But he is confident and feels as though he is ready to go out there and show the coaches what he has to offer.

“I feel confident that I am prepared and I’m excited to go out there and play,” Whalen said.

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