Dallas Clark? Antonio Gates? Tony Gonzalez? Vernon Davis?
Nope. They're all impressive. Clark Gates and Gonzo each have 16 touchdowns over the last two years and Davis has 15.
But they can't touch the leader – Visanthe Shiancoe. His 18 touchdowns over the last two years not only lead the league for touchdowns among tight ends, but come as something of a shock to just about everyone but Shank. Only two players have more touchdowns over the last two years than Shiancoe – Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss. That's pretty fast company. But it wasn't always that way for Shiancoe.
In five years with the Giants and Vikings, Shiancoe had a total of four touchdowns. Around the Vikings locker room, Shiancoe often looked sullen and not too happy to have media people crowding around his locker. At the time, they weren't wanting to talk to him, he was on the outside of the half-moon around Darren Sharper's locker. It wasn't pretty and Shiancoe wasn't happy.
Deemed a free-agent bust early in his second season with the Vikings, Shiancoe suddenly turned a corner. He became a red zone threat and, despite not having much of a rapport with Gus Frerotte, he became a viable passing option. So much so that the media started crowding around his locker, not next to it. It spawned one of the more humorous and awkward media moments in recent memory.
When asked about his sudden success in 2008, Shiancoe pridefully said that defensive coordinators were game-planning to stop him, which should open things up for Adrian Peterson. Reporters looked around at one another to learn a couple of things. First, did I hear what I just thought I heard? Second, is he serious?
He was … and may have had a point. Even with his emergence in 2008, when Favre showed up at Winter Park, Shiancoe was ecstatic. Coining the phrase Favre-a-palooza, he welcomed everyone to watch the circus and, in the process, made it into the center ring.
It took Shiancoe six years and 96 games to amass 11 touchdowns. It would only take him 16 games with Favre to double his career total. With all the weapons at his disposal, when Favre got close to the goal line, he looked for Shiancoe. Shiancoe was only targeted 16 times in the red zone, a total that tied him for 20th place in the NFL. Of those 16 targets, he caught 13 of them and 11 went for touchdowns. Inside the 10-yard line, he was targeted 10 times (tied for 11th most in the NFL), caught eight of them and all went for touchdowns (a league-high eight). Inside the 5-yard line, his four touchdown catches tied Greg Olsen, Reggie Wayne and Roddy White for the league lead.
It should come as no surprise that Shiancoe hasn't been shy about wanting Favre back. With his own contract coming up soon, another huge year will mean huge bucks for Shank. Let Favre-a-Palooza II get started ASAP.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.