Lurtsema's Reaction: Tough guys and Frerotte

What did Jim Marshall say about Jared Allen, and what does former Vikings defensive lineman Bob Lurtsema think of Allen playing through injury last week? What about Madieu Williams' latest injury and Gus Frerotte running the offense? Find out Lurtsema's opinions on a variety of topics.

VU: With Jared Allen's shoulder injury, are you surprised by how much and how well he played against Green Bay?

BL: Jared Allen got the greatest compliment that you could possibly get when I was talking to Jim Marshall this week. The old defensive captain and ironman, who had the record for consecutive starts, said that Jared Allen is old-school all the way. He said, ‘I have a lot of respect for him and I'm a fan of his.' He said, ‘Lurtz, next time you see Allen you be sure to tell him I'm a fan of his.' When Jim Marshall says that after watching a defensive lineman like that – and Jared Allen has always said to me that he hopes he lives up to old-school football, which he does – and with Jim watching him, it's very, very refreshing.

VU: With Allen's injury, is that the type of thing that you think he'll have to deal with the rest of the year if he's going to take a pounding on it every week?

BL: The interesting part of that is that he keeps saying there is no new swelling. If you can't re-injure it and there isn't any new swelling in there, that's probably the one-two of getting back to 100 percent. If there is no setback in either one of those particular phases, in a couple more weeks he'll be 100 percent. People have to realize that when you reach the level of the NFL, the healing capabilities are a lot quicker than the average person and your pain tolerance is higher. You'll find an exception to every rule. We've talked about it before here on Viking Update, but this is the perfect example for that.

VU: Madieu Williams is listed as doubtful because he hurt his shoulder in practice on Wednesday. How much of a difference do you think it made when he was in the game the past two weeks, and do you think it will be a major factor against Tampa Bay if they don't have him?

BL: With his experience, he got that interception in his first game back and that was a major part of that victory. Some people are snakebitten with injuries. I hope he's not snakebit, but certain people are going to get hurt all the time. My son, Rob, even being 10 times the athlete I was, he was always snakebitten. It seemed like he never had the luck to stay healthy. You have to be a little lucky to stay healthy. I think Madieu made a big difference, nothing against Tyrell Johnson. They are still looking for a defensive back to bring in. It definitely would be a tremendous plus if he were healthy.

VU: What did you think of Gus Frerotte and how he has played? He has seemed to be inconsistent. Obviously, he's still been a lot more productive than Tarvaris Jackson was.

BL: I was just talking to the receivers coach (George Stewart) and I told him, ‘You know, people don't realize that Gus has sometimes thrown to his fourth receiver without looking at him.' Two of those big plays were turning points. You take the New Orleans game, he never seemed to look, but he knew the receiver had to be there (on Bernard Berrian's touchdown). I think you're going to see more improvement because the receivers will realize that they might be fourth in the sequence of reads but they can still get the ball. Some people are blaming Gus on some of these interceptions when the receivers are running the wrong routes. Gus isn't going to say anything bad about them or even bring it up because he's been around and he knows how to take it, and we all make mistakes. But these receivers, when they run their routes and the way Gus reads, they had better be the right routes because Gus knows what it is and he'll turn seemingly without looking to let the ball go. That's part of being a good NFL veteran. He's a 15-year veteran with a very strong arm yet.

VU: What about playing in Tampa this weekend? It's been a place where the Vikings have really struggled. Even back in 1998, their only loss of the regular season was down in Tampa.

BL: Sometimes people have your number. Temperature will not be a factor. It will be perfect playing conditions and not real hot. Sometimes the temperature will take you on in the fourth quarter and drag you out. I think with Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, he has followed the Vikings so closely and just loves to coach against us. He's got a great feel for the Vikings. You're going outdoors from being in the Dome. Sometimes you have to work with the crest of the field, too, where it drains to the left and right. When you throw the ball to the corner or on a sideline route from the middle of the field, you have to make an adjustment because the ground is sloping. When you go to an outdoor stadium, there are a lot of adjustments you have to make. When you play there every week, you know that when you're trying to hit the guy between the numbers on a sideline route, you're going to throw that at his waist. When he gets to the corner, it's going to be high enough that it hits his numbers. That's a big difference. But I think they'll win. If they shut down Jeff Garcia, I think they'll win by 10 going away.

Bob Lurtsema registered 57 regular-season sacks and three in the playoffs during his 12-year career as a defensive lineman in the NFL, playing with the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, and was the longtime publisher of Viking Update. He joins for a weekly Q & A session, and his monthly column appears in the magazine.

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