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  1. #1
    mnjamie's Avatar
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    Jimmy K. ... The Ultimate Team Player !!!!

    Vikings: Winning keeps Kleinsasser happy in offense

    The pain in Jim Kleinsasser's right knee is there each day, a reminder of what he has been through. But the tough-as-nails tight end isn't about to let that aching slow him, and he certainly isn't going to let on to his Vikings teammates about it.

    "He really doesn't complain," Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie said. "He just goes out there and whatever you tell him to do, he does it. I never have heard Jimmy complain about anything."

    That's because Kleinsasser doesn't complain. Not about his knee, which needed to be surgically repaired after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the first game of last season; not about the groin pull he suffered two weeks ago at Green Bay; and certainly not about the fact he no longer is the tight end the Vikings look to in passing situations.

    Kleinsasser wasn't a guy to make excuses before he was forced to miss the 2004 season and he isn't about to start now. Even getting him to admit that fully recovering from an ACL injury is a two-year process -- something acknowledged by many, including Kleinsasser's coach -- is hard work.

    "The first year you battle through it," said Vikings coach Mike Tice, a former tight end himself. "The second year you come back, and you're back to normal. That's normal for that injury."

    That recovery timetable might be one reason Kleinsasser, 28, statistically has flown below the radar for much of the season, despite appearing in every game. He had four receptions in the opener against Tampa Bay but has only eight since. Three times he has been shut out, including Sunday against Cleveland. The groin pull that has forced Kleinsasser's practice reps to be limited of late hasn't helped matters.

    But the biggest reason for his drop in receptions is the fact that Jermaine Wiggins has emerged as the Vikings' main receiving threat among the tight ends.

    Two years ago, Kleinsasser led Vikings players at that position with a career-high 46 catches and four touchdowns. Wiggins came along in 2004 and had a team-leading 71 catches. This season, he again leads the Vikings with 54 receptions.

    "You take what you can get, and whatever is working you go with it," Kleinsasser said of his role in the receiving game. "It's just something that if it comes, it comes. ... I want to get those wins. Everybody is happy when you win and that's what you need."

    The best way to judge his performance in 2005 is by the job he has done blocking. According to his teammates, the 6-3, 272-pound North Dakota native has been his usual self doing something he has excelled at since joining the Vikings as a second-round choice in 1999.

    "I look at him as an offensive lineman as far as blocking," McKinnie said. "Somebody that you feel comfortable playing next to you and pass protecting or run blocking."

    Quarterback Brad Johnson and Wiggins both point to the job Kleinsasser did in occasional one-on-one matchups against Giants standout defensive end Michael Strahan in the Vikings' victory Nov. 13 over New York. That success was in part to Kleinsasser's nearly flawless footwork and technique. "Once he got his hands on him, it was over," Wiggins said.

    Johnson might not be throwing many passes to Kleinsasser these days -- on throwing to him, Johnson said, "If he's in a pass route, I don't even blink" -- but said that doesn't make him any less of an integral part of the offense. In fact, Kleinsasser might be more important than ever because of the Vikings' reliance on the play-action pass.

    "He creates things, especially in the play-action game, because when he's back there we're going to pound the ball," Johnson said. "You get more guys in the box and you can throw, so he does change the game."

    Although blocking certainly takes a physical toll, Kleinsasser feels that is one aspect of the game that doesn't put much stress on the knee. "My blocking feels solid and that's probably one of the biggest things," he said. "The knee probably isn't affected that much [in blocking], doing the short box stuff. It's more the running and the pounding down."

    Not that Kleinsasser is complaining.


    http://www.startribune.com/stories/510/5761097.html



    I have always loved watching this guy play. Ever since his days back @ UND, he has been nothing but a FORCE and nothing but a true team player!! I hope next year he's able to come back and start getting some more balls thrown his way.

  2. #2
    SamDawg84 Guest

    Re: Jimmy K. ... The Ultimate Team Player !!!!

    the jimmy! that guy is a pimp. i always have to have him on madden.

  3. #3
    whackthepack is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Jimmy K. ... The Ultimate Team Player !!!!

    The only bad thing was we signed him to a 3 million a year contract before 2004 and last year he was hurt and this year his production is way down (his fault or not)! 3 million for a TE is a lot unless he is catching 75 passes and has around 7 TD's.

    It usually takes a couple years for a player to reach his old playing ability after a major knee injury, so maybe next year he will have a better receiving year.
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

  4. #4
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    Re: Jimmy K. ... The Ultimate Team Player !!!!

    "whackthepack" wrote:
    The only bad thing was we signed him to a 3 million a year contract before 2004 and last year he was hurt and this year his production is way down (his fault or not)! 3 million for a TE is a lot unless he is catching 75 passes and has around 7 TD's.

    It usually takes a couple years for a player to reach his old playing ability after a major knee injury, so maybe next year he will have a better receiving year.
    His blocking skills are worth it IMO

  5. #5
    LuckyVike's Avatar
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    Re: Jimmy K. ... The Ultimate Team Player !!!!

    I'm glad he's being a team player and not another Matt Birk.
    The best part of my day is when I get down on my knees, with my head in my hands, and thank GOD for everything he has given me.

  6. #6
    grpape is offline Asst. Coach
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    Re: Jimmy K. ... The Ultimate Team Player !!!!

    Do you remember what it was like without him last year? Come on, lay off Birk already.

  7. #7
    Mikecarter81's Avatar
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    Re: Jimmy K. ... The Ultimate Team Player !!!!

    I'll say thios from person experience back when I lived in North Dakota Carrington was a huge rival to our Grafton team. I remeber playinh him as a junior he was aweesome then too!

    Mikie
    I am an avid Viking fan, but also am an avid restoration guy of vintage Mopar(Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth)B bodies

  8. #8
    Mr. Purple's Avatar
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    Re: Jimmy K. ... The Ultimate Team Player !!!!

    Hes deff. worth the money...Why dont we pound the ball with him like the bucs do with alstott?

    Theres NOTHING greater then a Florida Gator!
    "I promise everyone this. When Childress is let go in two years I can honestly say this.
    "I am not surprised"."-PurplePackerEater

  9. #9
    LuckyVike's Avatar
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    Re: Jimmy K. ... The Ultimate Team Player !!!!

    "grpape" wrote:
    Do you remember what it was like without him last year? Come on, lay off Birk already.
    I don't give a damn... Birk was a ***hole this year when he demanded more money or he'd have surgery. Do you see Jimmy K doing that? No, you don't.
    The best part of my day is when I get down on my knees, with my head in my hands, and thank GOD for everything he has given me.

  10. #10
    GreenBaySlackers's Avatar
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    Re: Jimmy K. ... The Ultimate Team Player !!!!

    "Vikes2611" wrote:
    "grpape" wrote:
    Do you remember what it was like without him last year? Come on, lay off Birk already.
    I don't give a gol 'darnit... Birk was a ***hole this year when he demanded more money or he'd have surgery. Do you see Jimmy K doing that? No, you don't.
    no, he asked to guarentee his some of his salary because if he tried to play through the injury it could ruin his career, it was pretty selfless actually if you ask me. he was willing to give it all up for the team as long as they made sure he would be financially ok.

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