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  1. #1
    ultravikingfan's Avatar
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    Toughness gives Fason opportunity

    [size=10pt]Toughness gives Fason opportunity[/size]

    From Michael Bennett to Moe Williams to Mewelde Moore, a number of Vikings running backs have been injured and unable to play at times the past two years.

    But Ciatrick Fason always seems to be available to play, injured or not.

    That's why Fason enters the third game of the preseason tonight against Baltimore at the Metrodome with a chance to help secure the No. 2 running back spot.

    Minnesota signed former Raven Chester Taylor to be No. 1 this season, but the primary backup role still is open. Bennett and Williams are gone, and the race is between Fason and Moore.

    With Moore expected to miss his second consecutive exhibition game because of a sore knee, Fason hopes to stand out more than in Games 1 and 2. He ranks second on the team in rushing but has just46 yards on 16 carries.

    "I'm trying to go out there and have a big game," the second-year player out of Florida said. "I need to get rid of the mental mistakes. I know what to do, but sometimes you go out there and go brain-dead. My blocking was a big question coming into the season, but I have even surprised myself."

    The Vikings selected Fason in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL draft, making it the third consecutive year they took a running back in that round, following Onterrio Smith in 2003 and Moore in 2004. Fason was fifth on the depth chart to start last season but found a role as a short-yardage back when Williams got hurt. Fason finished with four rushing touchdowns to lead the team.

    "Last year, I knew where I stood," Fason said. "You have to take advantage when injuries happen. I knew I just had to be patient."

    Fason started the final exhibition game last year because he played through injuries.This year, it's more of the same.

    Last year, he played through a high ankle sprain. This year, he suffered a concussion. But he hasn't missed a game.

    Fason said it would take a serious injury to keep him off the field because he loves the game so much.

    "He likes football, and he likes all the stuff that goes along with football," coach Brad Childress said. "He wants to be good, so he works at it."

    Fason attributes some of his improvement this preseason to advice from Taylor, who went from a sixth-round draft pick to a starter after several years backing up Jamal Lewis with the Ravens.

    "I told him just to be patient and he will get his opportunity," Taylor said. "As far as blocking, I just was teaching him different ways to block, read the holes and press the line of scrimmage."

    When it comes to talent, Fason doesn't think he's that far behind Taylor and Moore. But they have the edges in experience and production. Fason had 32 carries for 62 yards in a limited role last season. Moore led the team with 155 carries for 662 yards, but he was injured often and criticized for lacking toughness.

    Childress knows that's not the case with Fason.

    "He can step up and stone you in terms of pass protection," Childress said. "He's a hard runner, a long strider, but he can get his pads down and deliver a blow."

    Although he had a 60-yard touchdown run in a joint practice with the Kansas City Chiefs, two big hits were the most memorable plays involving Fason at training camp this year.

    Fason dropped his shoulder and used his 6-foot, 207-pound frame to run over Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin during a morning practice last week. But the hit that made the biggest impact was a couple of weeks earlier when Fason suffered his first concussion after he went helmet to helmet with 6-4, 266-pound defensive end Erasmus James.

    Fason sat out a couple of practices but didn't miss the exhibition opener against Oakland. Moore played in that game but has been sidelined ever since with a knee injury. Moore began jogging for the first time Wednesday, but his return is uncertain.

    Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell anticipates opportunities for Moore and Fason once the season starts. While Fason is a physical runner and powerful blocker, Moore is an all-purpose offensive threat who can slip tackles and catch passes out of the backfield.

    "You would rather use them in different spots," Bevell said, "and showcase their talents to what we need."

    Marcus R. Fuller can be reached at [email protected]

  2. #2
    digital420's Avatar
    digital420 is offline Team Alumni
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    Dec 1969
    Ancient Korinthia

    Re: Toughness gives Fason opportunity

    I really like M.m.. but have to agree he is way to easily injured. even Tice had him in the dog house for being so brittle.

    C.f should be able to pull a few glances here and there with that play through pain. hopefully he'll use those chances to solidify the start of a great career.


    "We tried to stick with it, but there was a point where we were beating our head against a wall," Seattle Coach Mora talking about running at the Williams Wall

  3. #3
    Mr. Purple's Avatar
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Toughness gives Fason opportunity

    Thats my boy!He does something MeMo has yet too, play through pain.Theres a differnce between pain and being injured.Fason seems like hes gonna continue to work hard at becoming better.I like his attitude.

    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

  4. #4
    cajunvike's Avatar
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    Sep 2004

    Re: Toughness gives Fason opportunity

    Show 'em what you got, C4!!!!

  5. #5
    fabybaby32's Avatar
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Toughness gives Fason opportunity

    Sounds like he is finally gettin back to the way he ran at UF.
    I knew he would come around.
    I love him and he played hard at UF and never missed games.
    He is reliable and I think when given the chance he will come through

  6. #6
    AngloVike's Avatar
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    Re: Toughness gives Fason opportunity

    I like MeMo but he always seems to be carrying an injury or nursing a sprain of some sort. They're not big things but seem to limit his playing time of chance to get any sort of consistent play going.
    Hopefully Fason can take the opportunity to move up the depth chart and make a serious impact.
    Time spent annoying a Packer fan is never time wasted...

  7. #7
    oakmage's Avatar
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    Re: Toughness gives Fason opportunity

    All the talent in the world does not help the team win if you can not get on the field to show case it so let's hope that Fason comes through with the next game and earn the #2 spot for running back.

  8. #8
    Warp's Avatar
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Toughness gives Fason opportunity

    Yeah Memo hasnt been on the field alot because of injuries but i still like his running better than Fasons. I hope Memo stays healthy and he should be a great backup and 3rd down back for passing downs.

  9. #9
    gregair13's Avatar
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    Edmonton, AB

    Re: Toughness gives Fason opportunity

    fason should be the guy in between the 40s.
    We're bringing purple back.

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