VU Daily Blog: 6/3/10

More trash talk between Visanthe Shiancoe and Darren Sharper, Tarvaris Jackson knows he knows to improve his mental game, Ryan Longwell reacts to another kicker on the roster and the top 10 Vikings prospects. See all the Vikings news and speculation as it progresses through the VU Daily Blog.

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Posted by: Tim Yotter
on Thursday, June 03, 2010 at 3:55:00 PM

Top 10 Vikings prospects

The Vikings are generally considered a veteran team because all 22 starters from last year are expected to return. However, they have their share of young talent as well – some of it proven with two former Offensive Rookie of the Year awards and other young talent still looking to take that first NFL snap.'s Chris Steuber profiles his top 10 prospect for the Vikings. The qualifiers he uses in his team-by-team series is that the player has to be under 25 years old or not have more than three years of experience. When looking at it that way, the Vikings actually have some impressive talent fitting in that category.

WR Sidney Rice tops the list, but there are plenty of other starters and contributors in the list. You can check it out right here and circle back to the Purple Thoughts message board to discuss right here.


Posted by: Tim Yotter
on Thursday, June 03, 2010 at 2:35:00 PM

Jackson focusing on mental training

Away from the Twitter war of words that has become popular in the last month, there is a more productive offseason exercise that some players are going through to keep things other than their mouths in shape. Some are taking up boxing, like defensive end Ray Edwards did last year. Others are implementing mixed martial arts into their routines, like Jared Allen has the past two seasons.

Allen's connection comes through Jay Glazer, the Fox Sports NFL reporter who has gotten into training athletes in a few different MMA disciplines. In addition to Allen, Glazer's list of current and former clients includes Chris Long, Ryan Grant, Patrick Willis, Keith Rivers and Matt Leinart.

"We want to revolutionize athletic training," Glazer to the New York Times in a story last week.

But, unlike Leinart, the Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson doesn't see himself going through that kind of training anytime soon. He sees himself needing more mental training at the quarterback position than physical conditioning.

"I don't think that stuff would help a quarterback. Maybe it might help the other guys. Everybody is different," Jackson told Viking Update last month. "(Leinart) is probably trying to get his body stronger. My (focus) is more mental. I feel like I'm strong and fast enough, and I'm big enough, so I'm just trying to get the mental part down to get comfortable with myself. I'm not really into all that stuff."


Posted by: Tim Yotter
on Thursday, June 03, 2010 at 11:09:00 AM

Shiancoe returns Sharper's serve

This is a trash-talk match that could go for a couple more months, but maybe the pace of the festivities between Vikings TE Visanthe Shiancoe and Saints safety Darren Sharper will slow in the coming weeks.

For now, however, they are on about a daily Twitter response pace. Thursday morning, it was Shiancoe returning Sharper's volley that said Shiancoe went too far when he shot up a target of Osama bin Laden that was altered to say it was Darren Sharper.

In successive tweets this morning, Shiancoe responded with the following:

"That target was already set up for me... No insult was intended to anyone"

"You are the FURTHEST thing from a physical safety.. even you know that your sofT with a capital "T!" You remind me of a growling chihuahua.."

"..don't get your jaw broken trying to be a tough guy. Stay "sofT" and be yourself.. a ball hawk"

We'll try not to get too soft and complain of neck pain as we watch the volleys continue between the two players who used to locker right next to each other at Winter Park.


Posted by: Tim Yotter
on Thursday, June 03, 2010 at 10:58:00 AM

Longwell addresses kickoff duties

Ryan Longwell called the Vikings' decision to add another veteran kicker – Rhys Lloyd, who is more of a kickoff specialist at this point – "odd." What was even odder was that Longwell was in demand by the media more than any other player at Winter Park on Wednesday.

From the time practice ended and for about the next 20 minutes, Longwell conducted a long and extensive roundtable with a mob of reporters the size of which is usually reserved for a Brett Favre post-game press conference. The extensive conversation centered on two things – Longwell's attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open last month (he was well off the pace with an 82 but said he'll attempt it again next year) and the expectation that he might no longer handle kickoffs for the Vikings.

The move makes sense, since Longwell only had five touchbacks (tied for 23rd in the league) on 98 attempts. Lloyd had 21 touchbacks (tied for fourth) on 72 attempts.

Longwell wants to continue kicking off, but one of the reasons is because it helps him gauge the wind when it comes time to kick a field goal. That especially helped during a 41-yard, fourth-quarter field goal in Chicago last year, according to the Star Tribune.

"(That) was a kick that the wind was blowing hard off the left all game, but kicking that direction kicking off the ball (it) just wasn't falling right," Longwell said. "It wasn't going with what the wind felt like. So when we went out there, I aimed accordingly to how the ball flew on kickoffs and made it. It's things like that I think with games in Washington and New England and Philly, where we play this year, it's a tool that I've always used."

While Vikings coach Brad Childress said Longwell could still kick off, chances are that Lloyd will be the main man in that duty and Longwell will have to adjust his field goal kicking without the aid of judging the wind on his own kickoffs.


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