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  1. #1
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    Jim Kleinsasser: More than a blocker

    Published August 08, 2006 12:33 am

    The Vikings expect to get more from Jim Kleinsasser in the passing game.

    [size=18px]More than a blocker[/size]
    Kleinsasser healthy and happy


    By Jim Rueda
    Sports Editor
    The Free Press


    MANKATO — Tight end Jim Kleinsasser may not look very pretty when he’s out beyond the line of scrimmage running pass routes, but that doesn’t concern him. Afterall, they don’t give points for style in the NFL, they give points for crossing the goal line with ball in hand.

    Kleinsasser, in his eighth season out of the University of North Dakota, is expected to have a resurgence of sorts in 2006 as the coaching staff has indicated he will get more involved in the passing game as a receiver. That’s something he hasn’t done a lot of the last couple of years, but it’s hardly new to him, either.

    In 2002, Kleinsasser caught 37 passes for 393 yards and a touchdown. He had his best year as a receiver in 2003 when he made 46 catches for 401 yards and four scores.

    With Jermaine Wiggins on the roster, Kleinssaser is not likely to blossom into the next Tony Gonzalez, but his skills are polished enough for him to be a significant contributor.

    “The way I see it, it’s whatever I can do for the team,” Kleinsasser said Monday in training camp. “There have been years where I haven’t caught too many balls and years where I’ve caught some balls. I don’t worry about that as much as, hey, when you win everybody’s happy and that’s the big thing.”

    Quarterback Brad Johnson says the signing of fullback Tony Richardson will give the offense an added dimension this year and he thinks both Kleinsasser and Wiggins will have chances to catch a lot of footballs.

    “With Tony here (we’ll have the option to) be in more of a one tight end set, but there will be a lot of two tight end sets, also,” Johnson said. “We’ll find different ways to get Jimmy Kleinsasser and Jermaine Wiggins involved.

    “Every time (Kleinsasser) is in the game he is a pivotal player, whether he’s a blocker or pass catcher. He will be a big part of what we try to accomplish this year.”

    Head coach Brad Childess is encouraged by what he’s seen in practice so far: “(We have) two old pros in Wiggins and Kleinsasser and they have really taken to the scheme.”

    Kleinsasser says running pass routes and trying to find open spaces in training camp is one of the more enjoyable aspects of practice. He believes it will prove valuable once the season starts.

    “I like getting into the receiving part of it (here in Mankato) because that sets you up for the rest of the year,” he said. “When you’re stuck blocking and blocking and blocking, you don’t get a lot of time to rep a lot of reads and do a lot of other things; when it comes time to do it, it’s not as natural. So this camp is big for me in terms of getting back into the passing game and getting the feel for it again.”

    Aside from the usual bumps and soreness associated with training camp, Kleinsasser says his body is holding up well physically. And he’s sure his talent for blocking will be used extensively this season along with his receiving skills.

    “Whatever comes up in the game plan for me,” that’s fine,” he said. “If it means catching balls, hey, great. If it means me blocking, getting some protection in there, getting the running game going, that’s great too.”

    More than a blocker

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

  2. #2
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    Re: Jim Kleinsasser: More than a blocker

    “The way I see it, it’s whatever I can do for the team,” Kleinsasser said Monday in training camp. “There have been years where I haven’t caught too many balls and years where I’ve caught some balls. I don’t worry about that as much as, hey, when you win everybody’s happy and that’s the big thing.”
    That's the attitude I like to see. We have to great TE's out there. Let's hope they both stay healthy.

    Jimmy K. will certainly strength the right side of the line with his pass blocking abilitiess.

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

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