WR White finds success after disappointment

Falcons WR Roddy White was close to earning the "bust" label, but he has become a Pro Bowl player and now one of the Vikings' focuses on Sunday.

Roddy White has made the long climb up the NFL ladder to the Pro Bowl.

He was selected in the first round out of Alabama-Birmingham in 2005.

Given former general manager Rich McKay's draft record on wide receivers, some figured White had no chance.

In his first two years in the league, then-wide receivers coach George Stewart (now with the Vikings), spent hours throwing balls to White and working on his route running.

Stewart invested heavily in White, who didn't get many passes as the offense was built around the running of Warrick Dunn and scrambling of Michael Vick.

Then there were the dropped passes. Wide open in the end zone, with not a defender in sight, dropped passes. He was extremely close to being called a bust.

"Sometimes you need to go through things like that," White said. "You need to hit the bottom, just to get to the top."

White keep plugging away and also started to mature as a person.

"All of those things happened for a reason," White said. "I felt that I had to go through that to get my life and my football career back to where it needs to be."

In a more conventional attack under Bobby Petrino, White started to blossom last season and finished with 1,202 yards, third in the NFC behind Larry Fitzgerald and Terrell Owens.

This season, he picked up where he left off and has 1,310 yards receiving on 82 catches.

White was ecstatic to be named to his first Pro Bowl.

"After all of the stuff that I've been through from my first few years," White said, "I came a long way. The hard work is starting to pay off. People are starting to notice that I can go out there and play. It feels real good to me right now."

SERIES HISTORY: 24th regular-season meeting. Vikings lead, 15-8. The two teams will meet for the third time in the past four years. Atlanta's last trip to Minneapolis came in the 2007 season opener as the Falcons fell, 24-3. Prior to that loss, Atlanta defeated Minnesota in two consecutive contests, including its last victory over the Vikings, 30-10, in a 2005 matchup at the Georgia Dome. The biggest win in Falcons history came against the Vikings at the Metrodome in the NFC championship game in 1998, to earn the franchise's only Super Bowl trip.


  • RB Jerious Norwood has 423 rushing yards on 86 carries for a 4.9 average and three touchdowns. He has 43 kickoff returns for 1,039 yards and a long return of 85 yards against Chicago in Week 12.

  • RB Michael Turner had his 10th-career 100-yard game against Tampa Bay in Week 15. In 14 games this season, he ranks second in the NFL with 332 carries for 1,421 yards while contributing with 15 touchdowns, a franchise record.

  • QB Matt Ryan has completed 242 of 389 passes for 3,146 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions for a 90.0 passer rating.

  • WR Michael Jenkins has 42 catches for 644 yards and three touchdowns.

  • WR Roddy White leads the team and ranks second in the NFL in receiving with 82 receptions for 1,310 yards and six touchdowns. His 1,310 yards make him the first Falcons receiver to record back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons in franchise history. He's on pace to finish the season with 1,497 yards, which would set a new franchise record for receiving yards in a season.

  • SS Eric Brock was elevated to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. Brock, from Auburn, was in training camp with the Falcons.

  • TE Marcus Pollard, a 14-year veteran, was signed as a free agent. He was signed late in training camp, but did not make the final roster.

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