Q&A: With OL Coach Steve Loney

The Vikings have been shuffling their offensive line since they opened training camp without Bryant McKinnie. It hasn't been easy, but line coach Steve Loney is trying to get the most out of the players he has available.

Offensive line coach Steve Loney was part of Mike Tice's overhaul of the coaching staff during the early part of the offseason. Loney has 26 years of coaching experience at the college and pro level.

He was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Iowa State from 1995-97 and 2000-01. In 2000, his Cyclones offensive line allowed only seven sacks, the second lowest total in the nation.

Loney also has coached at the University of Minnesota (1998-99), Connecticut (1994), Arizona Cardinals (1993), Colorado State (1989-92), Citadel (1984-86), Morehead State (1979-83), Leavenworth (Kan.) High School (1977-78) and Missouri Western College (1975-76).



Q: You already have had to do plenty of juggling along the line this season. How pleased have you been with the performance?

A: Very much so. We have given up three sacks (through two games), we are running about 60 percent efficiency. Last year, 52 percent led the NFL. That's a team effort, but I think it starts up front and I've been very pleased with all the guys.

Q: Have there been any players you have been especially pleased with?

A: Everett Lindsay played very well against Chicago, did an excellent job. Corbin Lacina [against Buffalo]. There is nobody that has been in the doldrums. Evvy struggled bad with back spasms (vs. the Bills), so he wasn't playing at the same level. But he still did an excellent job those first two series (against Buffalo). And you have to be happy with Adam Haayer, who comes in, does very well and hasn't been here very long. So these guys have all stepped up.

Q: How tough of a situation was Haayer put in against Buffalo when he replaced Lindsay?

A: It was, but that's what he gets paid to do. Part of me wants to be understanding of that, but then part of me also has to push him. He did an excellent job when he got in. He had about four mental mistakes, and those we have to eliminate. It's understandable, but we have to eliminate that part. When he got a zero grade, it was a bad zero grade. But he limited the number of times that he didn't do well. He stepped up. He needed to show the coaching staff he could assume that role and I think he did that.

Q: In what area would you like to see the most improvement?

A: I want to throw a shutout every week on sacks, and so that's going to be the thing every week. We continue to just … if we maintain what we are doing running the ball we are going to lead the NFL, and that says something. We want to shore up and give Daunte (Culpepper) as much time as we can, and I think that's an area that we can continue to improve on.

Q: How tough have all the adjustments been to make along the line?

A: The thing that I have made a point on that has helped is I think everybody follows my lead. I haven't really been shook by it. When somebody goes down, when Evvy had the back spasms, I didn't look around with a panic look on my face. I just said, ‘Adam, you have to go in.' I think the players follow my lead, and from that standpoint has it been a challenge? Yeah. That's what I get paid to do, and I think the players have responded to that.

Q: First-round pick Bryant McKinnie, who was supposed to be your starting left tackle, continues to hold out. Is that something that you just tuned out from day one of training camp?

A: I have tuned it out. It's not my responsibility, it is an administrative thing, and that has never been addressed in our room at all.

Q: Tight end Jim Kleinsasser did such a good job of blocking in the first two games. I know he's not a member of the offensive line, but how much does the injury affect the line?

A: It can't help. Fortunately, you get a Hunter Goodwin, who I think is a real trooper and a guy that will fight you to the bitter end. Kleinsasser's injury just cuts down on the number of tight ends you have available that have that type of tenacity blocking.

Q: You mentioned right before training camp that right guard David Dixon had lost some weight and looked ready to go. How pleased have you been with his play so far?

A: David has done a good job. He has been very durable, which I think is a plus, and he has performed well. He has had a good fall so far.



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