Longwell's leg benefits from new workouts

Ryan Longwell wasn't always an effective kicker from 50 yards out, but he has been the last two years. On Sunday, broke a franchise record for most fields of 50 yards or more.

It only took 12 years to happen, but Ryan Longwell has suddenly become one of the game's top strong-legged kickers. With his 52-yard field goal Sunday, he broke the team record for field goals of 50 yards or more yards he shared with Fuad Reveiz and he said that getting older has caused him to work out more, thus building his leg strength.

"I've got a pretty strenuous offseason program that is designed to keep my strength up by doing a lot of different types of workouts," Longwell said. "I was more worried about my kickoffs, but it has translated over to field goals."

For most of his career, sending Longwell out to kick a long field goal was an iffy proposition at best. In his first 11 seasons from 1997-2005, Longwell had made just 14 of 28 attempts of 50+ yards. If he was sent out to try a long field goal, there was just as good a chance that he would miss it as make it. Things were even worse with the Vikings. In his first two years with the team, he attempted six field goals of 50 or more yards and missed five of them.

But, thanks to his new offseason training regimen, the results have been significantly different. Since the start of the 2008 season, Longwell has made all eight of his attempts from 50 yards and beyond. He made all six of his tries last year and is 2-for-2 this season, including Sunday's 52-yarder. Whatever it is that has made Longwell better from long distance, it's working.

"I'm not trying to kick the ball lower like I used to," Longwell said. "I used to do that to get extra distance. When he you do that, you increase the chances that it could get blocked and there is no margin for error when you kick it. I try to kick it normally as I do shorter field goals and it has worked. Some of the guys have kidded me that, whatever it is I'm doing, keep doing it. I think I will."

MONDAY NOTES

  • The 537 yards of offense gained by the Vikings Sunday was the highest yardage total for the team since 2004, when the Vikings rolled up 605 yards on New Orleans.

  • Despite the buzz surrounding the return of Antoine Winfield to the lineup Sunday, he was a scratch for the fifth straight game Sunday with lingering effects of a foot injury.

  • Rock legend Prince was at Sunday's game and was apparently shown on the FOX broadcast on more than one occasion during the game.

  • Brett Favre's dream season continues. His touchdown-to-interception ratio took another jump forward Sunday. He now sits at 24 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

  • In 16 games last year, the Vikings scored 379 points. Through 11 games this year, they have scored 342.


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