Goldberg Still Fighting to Find Starting Spot

Whatever position he plays along the offensive line doesn't matter as much to Adam Goldberg as having a starting spot. Right now he's not part of the starting lineup, but he's not just going to accept that without continuing to fight for a starting spot.

As a rookie free agent when he joined the Vikings in 2003, Adam Goldberg knew he had to bide his time and learn from the veteran starters. Now, as a former starter himself—he started 12 of the 16 games in 2005—he isn't willing to simply accept a backup role without at least trying to wedge his way into a starting spot.

For now, however, Goldberg is a backup, but he doesn't have to like it.

"I don't think anybody likes to resign to the conclusion of being a backup. I'm going to do my thing to be the guy at some position. I just want to add value to the team. If that's playing tackle, great. If that's playing guard, great. If that's playing center, great. I don't care as long as I'm playing and helping the team win, I'm happy," he said.

Goldberg is a team player all the way. He doesn't rock the boat, he doesn't complain and he doesn't call out coaches in public. He had every reason to do that last year during training camp when Vikings head coach Mike Tice, a former offensive line coach, tried a motivational tactic and pulled a fan from the sidelines to work with the offensive line during drills.

Tice needled Goldberg that maybe he had found his new guard, and what could Goldberg do but simply accept the public ploy of the head coach? The incident caused players and even coaches to roll their eyes, but with Tice at the helm they had to simply try and make the best of the situation—or downplay it.

Now, it seems, the mind games are over and players know where they stand with the coaches.

"A lot of times when coaches move you around, a lot of times it's mental games," Goldberg said. "This staff seems to be much more upfront and open. Nobody really benefits from those (mind games). Everyone here is a professional. It's better if you're just upfront and honest. If you have any agendas, be out front with them. Don't be hidden with them. This staff seems to be doing a good job with that. They've been upfront with me about different things. I have no reason to think that they'd be otherwise."

Being up front with Goldberg meant letting him know that he isn't a starter at the present time, and letting him know where he needs to improve. With Steve Hutchinson signed as the All-Pro left guard and Artis Hicks brought from Philadelphia to Minnesota in a trade, the starting guard spots are accounted for … for now, anyway.

That means Goldberg was back to more of a swing role in practices in May and June.

"I think that that versatility is an asset. Sometimes in this league it can be a liability because when people who assess talent and look at you, they say, ‘Well, he can play all five positions. There is your sixth man. There is your utility guy.' It kind of damns you to that role, whereas a person who is less versatile, who can only play one or two positions, ‘Well, we have to put him there because he's got to be there anyway,' so he ends up being the guy. A lot of times it's a hindrance, but I like to be positive and look at it as an asset," said Goldberg, who played both tackle and guard in offseason practices this spring.

So will Goldberg's versatility damn him to a backup/swingman role on the offensive line or will his battle to prove himself as a starter reap him the reward he seeks? He'll have to wait until training camp and a number of preseason games to find out.

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