"It's all about being confident and having that camaraderie with your team, which makes you comfortable on that field," Shiancoe said of making at least two diving catches and stretching out his right arm to make a one-handed grab down the sideline. "I feel comfortable with this team right now. I feel comfortable with Tarvaris (Jackson), I feel comfortable with Gus (Frerotte). I feel comfortable with the line blocking. I feel comfortable with everybody doing their job."
That wasn't always the case last year, and at times it showed. After signing a five-year, $18.2 million contract and having a career year with 27 for 323 yards, there were still times that he was dropping passes.
"It was totally thinking out there. Literally, I thought I had to do everything right, like I have to watch out for this and watch out for that," Shiancoe said. "Now I'm not thinking out there, so now I'm just going and all I'm concentrating on is just making a play."
Off the field, things are much more enjoyable for him as well. He preaches about the locker room being a better and more open environment this year. It took him some time to get adjusted to his new surroundings last year after the first four seasons of his career with the New York Giants.
"Coming into a new atmosphere, you've got to get adjusted to everything, from relocating to people to everything. I feel much more comfortable here. I left New York behind, I do know that," he said.
"They say one of the most stressful things in life is relocating. I didn't know nobody here, not one soul. Now we're really like family. … The camaraderie is there. People don't realize that's really important to a team."
He also witnessed another player that made an impression on him. After seeing defensive end Michael Strahan's strong work ethic in New York, Shiancoe said he started observing how hard Vikings receiver Robert Ferguson was working earlier this offseason.
The tight end followed Ferguson's lead and started working harder, he said. Since then, he has dropped about 10 pounds (going from 255 to 245) and went from 10 percent body fat to six percent. He looks visibly trimmer and has been stretching the defense more without losing any of his strength, he said.
"I'm a lot faster and I got a little stronger. That equals quickness. I get out of my breaks a lot quicker and all that type of stuff easier," Shiancoe said.
But the biggest difference, at least Friday, was that he seemed to be more aggressive and confident going after the ball.
"It was a learning process with the whole offense (last year), with everybody … I'm not a ‘rookie' anymore. Last year when I came (to Minnesota) it was a whole new system from what I learned with four years with the Giants. You're used to the league, but when it comes to the playbook you're a rookie again," he said.
"Eventually it will click and that's what's happening right now. It's a process."