The Vikings' starting right tackle admits he needs to work on his three-point stance.
Two weeks ago, when veteran Mike Rosenthal was the team's mainstay at that position, the suggestion of working on a three-point stance would have sounded silly. But now, with Rosenthal out for the season and Dorsey starting at right tackle, the Vikings offensive line is suddenly a tad more inexperienced.
Against the Houston Texans on Oct. 10, when he is expected to make his first start, Dorsey hopes the butterflies will be grounded.
Adam Haayer played the first two series at right tackle last Sunday against the Chicago Bears. As planned, the Vikings opened their third offensive series with Dorsey at right tackle. Dorsey played the rest of the game.
"I was so nervous," Dorsey said. "This stuff is for all the marbles. You have to go out there and win those games. You can feel the urgency with these games."
Considering it was his NFL debut, Dorsey graded out fairly well. "I thought he played very, very solid," said Vikings head coach Mike Tice, a former offensive line coach.
"Nat Dorsey is a tough guy," quarterback Daunte Culpepper said. "He was the man down at Georgia Tech, and he expects to play. He expects to be out on the field, and he did a tremendous job stepping in there."
Naturally there is much room to improve for the 6-7, 322-pound rookie.
"That was my first game out there so there's a lot of stuff to clean up on," said Dorsey, who is going to "lay around at home" in the Twin Cities this weekend during the bye. "It was my first game at right tackle, too. But I just want to go out there and make sure I'm competing hard."
Dorsey didn't mind playing behind Haayer. Watching from the sidelines for the first two series against the Bears allowed Dorsey to better mentally prepare.
"It's good to sit back and watch and get an understanding of the plays," Dorsey said. "I got a chance to go out there after I had a really good grasp on the plays."
Last season, all five starting offensive linemen started all 16 games for the Vikings. The Vikings will likely start their third right tackle in just their fourth game of the season. Center Matt Birk (high ankle sprain) is questionable to play Oct. 10 as well. Plus, the team's top two tight ends — Jimmy Kleinsasser and Jermaine Wiggins — won't play, either.
Still, Dorsey says the offensive line will hold its own.
"Being around each other so much and practicing so much together you get to know those guys," Dorsey said. "That's the most important way to get continuity with the guys. As time goes on, you'll gel together."
The Vikings drafted Dorsey in the fourth round last April. As a freshman at Georgia Tech, he was named a first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. As a sophomore in 2002, he was named a second team All-ACC selection. Last year, as a junior, he didn't receive an All-ACC honor.
"You know why Nat left Georgia Tech early? He was mad the Tech coaches didn't nominate him for all-conference," Tice said. "He didn't expect to make it, but he thought he should be nominated. The Tech coaches didn't nominate him because they wanted to motivate him. They wound up motivating him right to us in the fourth round of the draft."
Dorsey On The Spot
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