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  1. #1
    cogitans is offline Jersey Retired
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Kicking in a new element - Ryan Longwell

    [size=9px]Author: Mike Wobschall,[/size]
    Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell enters the Vikings lockerroom after nine productive years with rival Green Bay.

    "It's been a lot of fun," Longwell said of adjusting to a new team in a new environment after spending nine seasons with the Green Bay Packers. "Everything is new, with practices being at a different location for me, but it's been pretty smooth and a lot of fun."

    The Vikings signed Longwell on March 11, giving the kicker and his family ample time to find a home and settle in Minnesota.

    "My wife Sarah and I came here together during that first minicamp," Longwell said, "and I did the practice thing in the morning then we went out together and got our bearings on the area in the afternoons. So we got settled in a house and moved all of our stuff from Green Bay to here, so we are settled here in the Twin Cities."

    Longwell says there were multiple factors that went into his decision to sign with the Vikings.

    "Well, there were a couple things," Longwell said. "One, I was highly impressed with coach Childress the first time we met. I was sitting there with Sarah and it was very impressive and I felt comfortable with that. I also feel comfortable kicking in this division, obviously, since I've been here for nine years so that wasn't a bad thing either to be able to stay in the NFC North. But the long and short of it was everything has its time and everything comes to an end and I just felt like my time in Green Bay was over."

    Asked if kicking in the climate-controlled Metrodome was a factor in his decision, Longwell responded quickly.

    "Yeah absolutely," Longwell said. "I'm turning 32 in a couple weeks and 30 seems to be that magical number in the NFL where people think you're actually older than you are. So you've got to try to extend your career, and I had some great times in Green Bay but it was a tough place to kick and I look forward to playing in the Metrodome."

    The California grad has made 81.6% of his career field goals, including a long of 54 yards. Very impressive numbers, especially considering a substantial portion of his kicks have been made in less than desirable conditions at Lambeau Field. Having kicked outdoors for his entire career in Green Bay, recent concerns the Vikings have had about their kickers being unable to make crucial kick off the grass may now disappear.

    Besides his outstanding ability to kick a ball between the uprights, Longwell is also a very gifted golfer - as his zero handicap indicates.

    Longwell says that despite the move to Minnesota, he has made time to get out on the golf course.

    "Yeah, I've gotten to play quite a bit," Longwell said. "I was invited to play in the Tahoe Celebrity Golf Tournament and I played well there and finished ninth, so I was pretty excited about that. But I just really enjoyed the summer and the kids are at such a fun age now so I spent a lot of time with Sarah and the kids."

    Ryan and Sarah of two kids, ages three and five, and they spend their summers in Orlando.

    Secondary playing well

    The Vikings secondary has been looking good during drills and live action lately. A number of times yesterday and during this morning's practice, quarterbacks were forced to either throw the ball away or intentionally throw a pass too low to avoid an interception.

    "I feel like the secondary is playing very well right now," rookie defensive back Cedric Griffin said. "(Defensive backs) Coach (Joe) Woods and Coach Tomlin do a really nice job of teaching us and getting us where we're supposed to be and I think we're playing well."

    Though Griffin and his secondary mates are happy with their performance so far in camp, they know that there are still things to work on.

    "Just more mental things," Griffin said. "Getting lined up properly and in the right formations so we can read what the offense is doing and get a better key. Also I think they're working on our footwork so we can transition better."

    Thriving on competition

    During training camp the competition has been fierce in both team drills and position drills. Most notably, though, has been the action and reaction during full-team, full-contact drills.

    "It's all about competition out here," running back Ciatrick Fason said. "Some days the defense is going to dominate and some days the offense will come out here and dominate."

    Fason says that the players should thrive off that competition and use it to make themselves better.

    "You've got to thrive off of that competition," Fason said. "We're all out here for a reason and we've got to go out and prove ourselves. Now that we got Chester (Taylor) back (from injury) it just makes the competition level go up even higher and when one person does well that means the next guy has to come in and do well and so on. And it just makes us better as people and players."

    Highlight reel

    Rookie quarterback Tarvaris Jackson put his strong arm on display during a passing drill Tuesday morning. Receiver Chris Jones ran a 12-yard curl route with both safety Will Hunter and cornerback Dustin Fox in coverage. As both defenders converged on Jones, Jackson's pass somehow got through both of them and Jones was able to hang on.

    Defensive back Dovonte Edwards made the only interception during one-on-one drills. Receiver Josh Davis ran a short out route and Jackson attempted to hit him along the right sideline. Edwards read the route perfectly, however, and put himself in perfect position to intercept the pass.

    Pat Williams broke through the offensive line for what would have been a sack on quarterback Mike McMahon. Coaches always blow the play dead if the quarterback is being hurried, but the play may have relieved some doubts about Williams' level of play after missing the first 13 practices.

    Linebacker Dontarrious Thomas made a nice interception on the goalline during full-team drills. He made the catch while running toward the sideline and was able to get both feet in bounds.

    After putting on a hard-hitting display yesterday, Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson was at it again today. Only this time his victim was running back Mewelde Moore. On one play, Moore caught a pass from quarterback Mike McMahon in the flats. Defensive back Antoine Winfield was there to slow up Moore as Henderson came along the line of scrimmage and bulldozed Moore.

    Receiver Marcus Robinson made the catch of the day during Tuesday morning's practice. Despite double coverage from Fox and Tony Beckham, Robinson was able to pull in a J.T. O'Sullivan pass that was lobbed about 40 yards downfield. Robinson leaped and used his long reach to catch the ball over both Fox and Beckham.

    Injury update

    Defensive backs Charles Gordon and Tank Williams were the only players not practicing today. Gordon had a procedure done on his knee yesterday and was at training camp today watching along the sidelines.

    "They said it went very well and it might not be four weeks [recovery]. It might be three weeks," coach Childress said.

    Tank Williams has left camp to see Dr. James Andrews in Alabama where he will have surgery this afternoon. Coach Childress said there is an extended rehabilitation process with an injury like Williams'.

    Thanks to PPE for the sig.

  2. #2
    Slade is offline Star Spokesman
    Join Date
    Dec 1969

    Re: Kicking in a new element - Ryan Longwell

    It looks like E.J. is playing like a man possessed!! He really doesn't want to give up his job to Greenway. Good stuff

  3. #3
    whackthepack is offline Jersey Retired
    Join Date
    Dec 1969

    Re: Kicking in a new element - Ryan Longwell

    Great news about Charles Gordon that it isn't season ending and he will probably be on the practice squad.
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

  4. #4
    VikesfaninWis's Avatar
    VikesfaninWis is offline Jersey Retired
    Join Date
    Dec 1969

    Re: Kicking in a new element - Ryan Longwell

    Nice to hear about Gordan, and it is still a shame about Tank Willimas.. I was really looking forward to watching him play this year..

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