He is far from a household name, few offensive lineman ever are.
But week after week opponents are taking more and more notice of Vikings left guard Chris Liwienski. That's because Liwienski is quickly and quietly becoming one of the better left guards in the game.
The Vikings made two significant changes to their offensive line from one season ago. First, they lured free agent Mike Rosenthal away from the New York Giants and plugged him in at right tackle. That led to significant move number two, which was to move Liwienski from right tackle to left guard.
Liwienski was hesitant of the switch, but being the stereotypical offensive lineman, he checked his ego at the door and made the position change without making a noise.
"The thought was I'd always be a better guard than a tackle, but I was pretty comfortable at the tackle position," Liwienski said. "I was a little nervous about making a position change. When something isn't broke, you don't fix it. That's not to say Rosenthal isn't a better right tackle than me — I think he is. But I was a little nervous."
Not even halfway into the season the move appears to being paying off. The offensive line has been a key reason why the team's running game has been so consistent, even without Michael Bennett.
"Looking at it now, I'm very happy being where I am," Liwienski said. "There are no regrets or nothing to look back on. You just hope you're one of the five that gets to start on Sunday. Wherever that is, you make the most of your chance."
That is exactly what Liwienski has done.
"I don't think it will be for long, but Chris Liwienski is a guy that I'm not sure anybody around the league knew how he was going to fit in," said Steve Loney, the Vikings' offensive line coach. "We certainly had an idea, but he can be very dominating inside. We've said this before: We think he's a good tackle, but we think he can be a great guard."
Some scouts have whispered Liwienski as having a Pro Bowl type of season although it's doubtful he'd win the honor since All-Pro status, certainly on the offensive line, is awarded by reputation more than anything else.
"I'm not really worried too much about it," Liwienski said. "I just want to win games and be the best left guard on the team I'm on. If some people think I'm one of the better ones in the league, that's great. So long as we're winning, I know we're doing our job. That's the key."
Liwienski One Of The Best
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