Longer kicks helping Longwell

Kicker Ryan Longwell has added distance to his field goals with a stretching routine he incorporated two years ago.

Two years ago, Ryan Longwell took a different approach to offseason conditioning. For years, he and other kickers had equated hitting longer kicks with lifting weights. Longwell took a different approach following the 2006 season and the results have been nothing short of amazing.

"At first, I wasn't sure about switching my offseason training more to stretching and working out different muscle groups," Longwell said. "We decided to switch things up to see if going in a different direction would help my distance on kickoffs. I hadn't been worried about field goals, but in this game, most teams don't use two roster spots for kickers, so I needed to try something to increase my distance on kickoffs."

While his kickoff distance has improved, the biggest change has been on long field goals. In his first two years with the Vikings, Longwell made just one of six field goals of 50 yards and beyond. This year, he has tied a personal and franchise record by making all four of his attempts from 50 yards or more, including a pair of 54-yard field goals.

"(Special teams) Coach (Paul) Ferraro deserves a lot of credit too," Longwell said. "He monitored my work at training camp and made sure that I didn't waste a lot of kicks while we were in Mankato. I'm feeling strong right now and my kicks have been doing much better."

It will be a longshot that Longwell scores 15 points on Sunday, but if he does he will move in 23rd place on the NFL's all-time scoring list – passing kicking legend Lou Groza with 1,349 points.


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  • Lane Kiffin, who was fired in the humiliatingly ridiculous saga in Oakland earlier this year, is expected to be announced as soon as Monday as the new head coach at the University of Tennessee.

  • While the Bears are known for their playmaking defense, the Vikings' 15 defensive touchdowns since the start of the 2006 season is tied for most in the NFL.

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