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  1. #1
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    Burleson copes with hard times

    Posted on Thu, Dec. 01, 2005

    [size=18px]Burleson copes with hard times[/size]

    BY SEAN JENSEN
    Pioneer Press


    Vikings receiver Nate Burleson can't remember a more difficult football season than this one.

    "It's been frustrating," said Burleson, who has 14 receptions for 166 yards and one touchdown in seven games this season. "But that's just a part of the game. You see different sides of the game as you mature in this league. You've just got to continue to work on your craft. That's what I keep reassuring myself, that everything is going to work out in the end."

    Coming off his first 1,000-yard season, Burleson had high expectations for 2005, especially after the offseason trade of receiver Randy Moss. But Burleson missed three games with a knee injury and was deactivated at the last minute for the Monday night game against Green Bay. Sunday against Cleveland, Burleson did not start for the first time this season, and he played sparingly and finished with no receptions.

    "It was a little frustrating because it was like the sweet and the sour," Burleson said. "My teammates were doing so (well), and Marcus (Robinson) had an unbelievable game. So I couldn't keep a smile off my face because of that. But at the same time, I wanted to be out there competing with him."

    Coach Mike Tice said the coaches tried to "ease" Burleson back into the lineup. Koren Robinson started against the Browns, and, based on practice, Robinson appears set to start again Sunday.

    "He blocked extremely well, and he hadn't been blocking extremely well, and that is a step in the right direction," Tice said of Burleson on Monday.

    But Tice later concluded that Burleson would be "an integral part of our offense as we progress."

    Burleson said he has been ready.

    "The last couple of weeks, I've been feeling great at practice," Burleson said. "I'm just waiting for an opportunity where I can get back into the groove of things, and get some rhythm on the field and make some plays."

    Asked how practice went Wednesday, Burleson said: "It's going good so far. I got a lot of reps. I touched the ball a lot."

    Decisions, decisions: Tice said the Vikings will have seven defensive linemen active Sunday against the Detroit Lions. With only six healthy on the roster, the Vikings are expected to promote defensive tackle Eric Taylor from the practice squad.

    With that move, the Vikings would face a difficult decision of perhaps placing guard Toniu Fonoti, acquired in a trade with San Diego on Oct. 18, on injured reserve. Fonoti, who has played in only one game, is sidelined with a groin injury.

    The Vikings are watching defensive lineman Spencer Johnson, whom Tice intimated last week could be a candidate for injured reserve because of a knee injury. At the time, Tice said Johnson's explosiveness and speed were a key to his effectiveness.

    Awards, awards: Vikings free safety Darren Sharper was named NFC defensive player of the month, and center Matt Birk was named the Vikings' man of the year for a fourth consecutive season.

    Birk has awarded 12 college scholarships to local students through his HIKE Foundation.

    "It's nice to be recognized," Birk said. "But being recognized for doing community service is not the reason I do it. It's just the way I was brought up."

    Sharper, who had six interceptions in November, feels further validated by his decision to leave Green Bay when the Packers asked him to take a pay cut last offseason.

    "I knew that just by me playing, I was going to show people — not just them — that I could still play, and I'm still an elite safety," Sharper said.

    Sean Jensen can be reached at [email protected]

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    V4L's Avatar
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    Re: Burleson copes with hard times

    LOL.. Why was Birk named man of the year?

  3. #3
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    Re: Burleson copes with hard times

    "Vikez4Lyfe" wrote:
    LOL.. Why was Birk named man of the year?
    Birk has awarded 12 college scholarships to local students through his HIKE Foundation.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  4. #4
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    Re: Burleson copes with hard times

    OHHH.. Thanks man! Looks like he deserves it then.. Nice work Matt! I love that guy

  5. #5
    Ltrey33 is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Burleson copes with hard times

    Well congrats to Birkie...and I hope that Burleson gets back on his horse and starts producing again soon. I want to see more of the old Burly back!

  6. #6
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    Re: Burleson copes with hard times

    Yea, poor Burley it has been a rough season for him. He needs to get some more action out there. Hopefull we'll see that in the coming games.

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