Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell has 12 years in the NFL, but he also has a mentor.
It's hard to imagine any matchup in which a 12-year veteran is viewed as the punk kid, but when the Vikings and Lions hook up Sunday, that's the role Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell
will be faced with. On the opposite sideline will be Lions kicker Jason Hanson
, who is playing his 17th NFL season.
Longwell said he used Hanson as a role model as to what he wanted to aspire to be. His strong kicking leg and uncanny consistency have made Hanson a potential Hall of Famer and a player whose longevity is the envy of his peers.
"When I was at Washington State
, Jason Hanson was a guy I copied," Longwell said. "I've kicked a long time in this game and to have a guy that you copied to be on the other sideline still is remarkable. It's probably everybody's dream to go to one place and stay there your whole career. In the business age of football, that isn't always possible. But he's done it and he has stayed there because he is so consistent, he's never given them another choice."
Longwell said he hopes to have the sort of career duration that Hanson has enjoyed, but said he isn't sure that will happen.
"You have to be special to last that long," Longwell said. "I'd like to play that long, but I have a hard time believing that I can make it that long. He's still going strong and will probably still be with Detroit by the time I'm done. He's amazing."
Monday's win over the Saints came with a price for the Vikings, as three players were fined by the league. Antoine Winfield got hit with a $10,000 fine for celebrating his 59-yard touchdown return of a blocked field goal. A league official said that his celebration used the goal post as a prop - which makes little sense to those who saw the play. Chad Greenway got fined $7,500 for the facemask penalty that went uncalled during the game - perhaps the first time that an unintentional facemask penalty has cost a player that much. If anyone should have been fined, it was referee Ed Hochuli, whose crew missed the call in the first place. Robert Ferguson was fined $5,000 for a hit in the second half that drew an unnecessary roughness penalty.
Brad Childress said the Vikings are preparing as if veteran Jon Kitna will be the quarterback for the Lions Sunday. However, all signs seem to be pointing to backup Dan Orlovsky. Kitna has been sitting out practice all week with back spasms that started during Detroit's Sunday game with Chicago that forced Kitna out. However, despite being listed as doubtful on the injury report, the Vikings still anticipate seeing Kitna Sunday.
Madieu Williams completed his second week of practice in his recovery from a preseason neck injury, but is still being viewed as doubtful and might not start playing until after the Vikings bye week.
Starting wide receivers Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice are both listed as questionable on the Vikings injury report with knee injuries. Rice has missed two of the last three games with a balky knee.
The Vikings could also be without LB Erin Henderson (concussion) and CB Benny Sapp (hamstring) – both of whom are listed as questionable for Sunday.
There is a rumor in Detroit that Daunte Culpepper is coming in to meet with the team about potentially working out a deal. However, team have officials have denied the rumor.