Coaches and teammates alike have been heaping praise on Guion, who has registered just three tackles in nine career games during his first two seasons. But, he has come into the 2010 training camp looking to prove that he not only belongs on the roster, but deserves to get more time on the field during games.
Guion said he has been diligent in his preparation and has been seeing the game more clearly than he did in his first two seasons.
"I've just been working hard and listening to my coaches," Guion said. "This is my third year now and you pick up a lot, especially playing with the guys we have here. I've been focusing on getting the best out of every day and every practice and just try to keep improving from one day to the next. I'm trying to add to my game and help my team."
His dedication to improvement hasn't been lost on the coaching staff. When asked how Guion can look like a completely different player this year, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said he's been the buzz among the staff as well as the players and fans at Mankato.
"Myself and the other coaches, we were saying the same thing," Frazier said. "He is a totally different player than the one we finished the season with, which is good for our team. He's more focused, he's making more plays and he's making fewer and fewer mistakes. I think it's the maturation process that a lot of players go through. That third year is when you usually see a jump and we're seeing that with Letroy now."
Guion said he has gone through a long process to get where he is currently at. As a rookie, his only concern was making the team. While he saw some improvement between his first and second seasons, he said he wasn't always comfortable with his assignments and would get lost at times. But a light came on during the offseason workout program and he notices a difference in not only his level of play but his field awareness as well.
"The game is starting to slow down for me," Guion said. "I'm starting to put everything together when it comes to pass rushing and learning how to react to the blocks of offensive linemen and just moving better out there. I feel better as a person and a player and I'm ready to go."
Part of that process has been improving in the offseason with conditioning, film study and special attention to technique. While many might think the players simply have time off between the seasons, Guion said it's a year-round pursuit and he has been working steadily to get to this point since just a couple of weeks after the Vikings lost in the NFC Championship Game to the Saints.
"I've learned over the three years of doing this what I have to do to get myself ready," Guion said. "You have to show up to camp in shape and that means getting your work in during the months leading up to camp. It's a long process, but it's worth it."
His extra effort hasn't gone unnoticed and his rave reviews are continuing to come in as his improvement becomes more plainly evident.
"He's really beginning to hit his stride," Frazier said. "He should just get better and better as the year goes on."
For his part, Guion said he doesn't concern himself with whether he will see a significant spike in playing time. He said his job is to fill a role behind the Williams Wall and he is fine with doing whatever he can to help the team, not concerning himself with the number of plays he's in on or his tackle numbers.
"My goals are, whenever the coaches call on me to go out there, to do the best I can to help the team," Guion said. "I'm not interested in personal goals, other than to help our team win a championship."
WEDNESDAY A.M. PRACTICE NOTES
Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.