I had to bring this thread back. It originated in late September and it is now relevant
Hope Anthony can get his spot locked down on the line. He sounds like a real monster. Has he been picked for the Adopt-A-Viking? If not, I want him.
Herrera stands out from the line
BY TOM POWERS
When Vikings coaches viewed the film of the New Orleans game, they couldn't help but chuckle. Backup guard Anthony Herrera was a human wrecking ball, even when he wasn't supposed to be.
"That is the plus of Anthony and the minus," coach Mike Tice said with a laugh. "Anthony is going to hit and destroy anything that is in his path.
"The problem is that there is so much finesse built into pass protection that if four of your linemen are at this depth, and one of your linemen is up there trying to knock a guy out two yards in front of them, then you create major seams in protection."
In layman's terms: Four guys were back in pass protection while Herrera was kung fu fighting his man at the line of scrimmage. That left a wide-open corridor that led directly to Daunte Culpepper.
"I got a little overanxious with the adrenaline and all," Herrera said. "That's what coach was talking about."
Still, the finer points of football can be taught to almost anyone. Only a special person has a burning desire to stomp his opponent into submission.
"Physicalness," Herrera said. "You're right about that."
The Vikings might be on to something with Herrera, a second-year man out of Tennessee. He's already getting a reputation as a bit of a wild man on the field and might become one of those rare offensive linemen who attract attention.
He has a unique playing style that is best described as "search and destroy."
"We will settle him down," Tice said. "He was blocking the right guy, but we tried to let him know that it's not a running play, it is a passing play, and that doesn't mean drive your guy into the ground."
Tice reiterated Thursday that Marcus Johnson, a rookie out of Mississippi, is the Vikings' right guard of the future and the right guard of the present. But Johnson wasn't even the right guard of the day Sunday, when he struggled something awful.
Tice added that both Herrera and Adam Goldberg should see at least some playing time at the position Sunday. Herrera, 6 feet 2 and 315 pounds, is hoping for another chance.
"I just love football," he said. "I'm from the islands, and all we do growing up is play outside. I just love to be in the game."
Herrera, from the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, worked his way up from the practice squad last season and is getting his first taste of NFL action. Unfortunately, he suffered an odd injury during training camp.
"We were at practice and my leg got stepped on," he said. "I got a cut. We took care of it, cleaned it up and it was all healed. But a week later, my foot started swelling. Some bacteria got in there. Nobody knew what was going on."
Herrera missed the past two exhibitions and the first regular season game.
"Everything got pushed back," he said. "But that's how life is. Life doesn't wait for you."
He finally is getting close to full strength, and his enthusiasm on the field is apparent. If he can avoid running into the other team's huddle and clobbering someone, he could prove to be a valuable component.
Having moved from Trinidad to Florida at age 14, Herrera adopted former Viking Randall McDaniel as his favorite player. Asked if he knew much about NFL linemen from the McDaniel era and before, Herrera shook his head.
Even the name Conrad Dobler didn't ring a bell. I explained that Dobler was universally reviled as the dirtiest player in the NFL Ã¢â‚¬â€ the man who patented the leg whip.
Herrera's eyes grew wide.
"Really," he said. "That's not a bad reputation to have."
Of course, I stressed, you don't want to be known as a dirty player.
"That's not a bad reputation to have," he repeated.
Yes, the Vikings are on to something with this fellow. He's different, and being different is good.
For example, many players work themselves into a frenzy before kickoff. They get all psyched up. Not Herrera. Instead, he has to try to calm himself.
"I'm just listening to music and focusing on my plays," he said. "They are running through my head."
And each play that runs through his head no doubt ends the same way, with Herrera standing over his vanquished opponent, fist in the air.