Shiancoe emerges as a leader among TEs

Visanthe Shiancoe was pretty much an unknown to Vikings fans and even opposing defenses when he arrived in Minnesota. Three years later, he is pacing all tight ends in touchdowns and grown into a media magnet.

A quick quiz: What tight end has the most touchdowns in the NFL the last two seasons?

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.


  • The Minnesota Supreme Court decided Thursday not to hear the appeal from the attorneys of Vikings great Carl Eller, who was seeking to overturn a February 2009 ruling in Hennepin County District court concerning an attack on police officers made by Eller in April 2008 after he was pulled over for suspicion of DUI. Last year the Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected Eller's appeal. Had the case been heard, it would have been a reunion of sorts, since Eller was teammates with Supreme Court Chief Justice Alan Page during their Purple People Eaters days.

  • In other court news, while a former Viking lost a legal bid, the current Vikings won one. Hennepin County Judge Robert Blaeser ruled Thursday that the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission can install new turf by the Sporttese company in the Metrodome, despite the company's bid coming in higher than low-bidder FieldTurf USA, Inc. – the current turf supplier of the Metrodome. FieldTurf USA filed suit, saying it was the responsible low bidder and should have been awarded the contract. But in a 12-page ruling the judge said the MSFC acted reasonably in awarding the contract to the company preferred by the one remaining revenue-producing tenant of the Metrodome. The FieldTurf bid of $458,561 was almost $40,000 less than Sportexe's bid of $495,000, but FieldTurf was on the list of preferred turf by the Vikings.

  • With the minicamp season over, the fields at Winter Park are going to get a makeover. The fields will be re-sodded and installed with sensors that will monitor water amounts in the turf and turf temperature.

  • In a radio interview Thursday on ESPN 1000 in Chicago, Jared Allen said that, if was a gambler, he'd bet Favre would be back, adding, "I hope if the answer was ‘no' (to returning in 2010), he would have already had the wherewithal to tell us that he's not coming back so we could have done something in free agency." Sounds like Allen would have been down with trading for Donovan McNabb if Favre wasn't coming back. It also sounds like a bit of an indictment on the confidence at least Allen has in Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels leading the team into the new decade.

  • Looking for something to do the weekend after the 4th of July? The Vikings will hold their 16th Annual Ride For Life Motorcycle Rally. Unlike many previous years when the ride went from the Twin Cities to Grand Casino Hinckley, this year's ride will start at the Mall of America and the Metrodome and finish at Canterbury Park in Shakopee – about half the distance of the standard ride. The Vikings Children's Fund has raised more than $7.54 million for children's-based charities throughout the Upper Midwest.

    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.

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