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  1. #1
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    Veteran linemen adjust to backup roles

    Published August 13, 2006 01:03 am

    Chris Liwienski has started 76 games in his seven seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, while Mike Rosenthal has made 56 starts.

    [size=18pt]Veteran linemen adjust to backup roles[/size]
    Experienced second unit has 199 combined NFL starts between them

    By Chad Courrier
    The Free Press


    MANKATO —
    Chris Liwienski has started 76 games in his seven seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, while Mike Rosenthal has made 56 starts. Jason Whittle has 41 starts, 21 more than Adam Goldberg, and Anthony Herrera started the final six games of last season.

    That’s 199 combined starts over 26 seasons of NFL experience, and if everything goes as planned, not one of those players will start a game this season.

    “We have a lot of talented guys that have played a lot of football,” Liwienski said. “We’ve all got experience, but with experience comes age, so that’s a double-edged sword. It’s a fine line between being experienced and being old.”

    The Vikings have a lot of experience in the offensive line, but what makes this group interesting is that all five are now backups, former starters who are now fighting to make the final roster while learning new plays and blocking schemes.

    “It’s a different mindset,” Rosenthal said. “You’re always one play away from getting in there, but you prepare the same way. Whether you’re a starter or not, you still have to perform. If you’re not performing, they’ll find someone else.”

    While battling for starting spots, the second line has also had to show versatility. Rosenthal has started almost exclusively at right tackle, but he’s been working some at left tackle during camp. Liwienski has started at right guard, left guard and right tackle during his career. Adam Goldberg has started at right guard or right tackle, and he’s been moved around quite a bit this summer to see how he fits. Jason Whittle started at left guard, right guard and center during his days with the New York Giants and Tampa Bay. Herrera, the youngest of the group in his third season, started the final six games last season at left guard.

    “You can say you have depth, and about two seconds later, you’re short of guys,” coach Brad Childress said. “It’s great to have people that are pushing because they want to be on that first line. If they’ve started before, they have that game experience, which is a win-win. You always have tough decisions at the end.”

    With so much common experience, this group of backups has become close on the field and off, much like all offensive linemen seem to be. That makes the competition intense, but also friendly, even though at least one of the five seems destined to be released to make room for second-round draft pick Ryan Cook, who’s been playing at center and right tackle.

    “We’ve been together three, four years now,” Rosenthal said. “Our wives know each other, our kids play together. We have a special bond.”

    Childress didn’t say how many offensive linemen he’ll keep on the roster, though he said there will be eight activated for each game. That means each of the three backups will have to be prepared to play somewhere other than their listed position.

    “(Our depth) paid big dividends for us at the end of last year,” quarterback Brad Johnson said. “The guys that are running the second team now, those are starters, guys that have played, guys that I’ve played with and feel very comfortable with.”

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  2. #2
    canadian_vikes_fan's Avatar
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    Re: Veteran linemen adjust to backup roles

    Having these guys on the bench is key to the success of the team. We all saw last year how easy it is for one guy to miss a ton of time and how it can affect the line.

    Knowing that there is virtually no chance of having no injuries along the line over the course of an entire year, having solid backups who are capable of starting is key - especially at O-line, D-line, and quarterback.

    Thanks PPE for the sig.

  3. #3
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    Re: Veteran linemen adjust to backup roles

    remember, with new starters on the line, no matter how good they are, there will be growing pains. our line looks fantastic on paper, but it will take them time to meld. no doubt eventually they will be great.
    Why must you defend everything this FO does....to the point of making your self look like a yes man.

  4. #4
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    Re: Veteran linemen adjust to backup roles

    Rosenthal
    : i didnt expect him to stay on the team even this long into training camp, but i can almost see him staying on the roster and herrera or goldberg getting cut, although im hoping not

    he's a good guy, but he's just not that good anymore, (i've been a little hard on him lately lol, at camp when he was walking w/ all the other players i'd yell shit like "bye rosey")


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  5. #5
    canadian_vikes_fan's Avatar
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    Re: Veteran linemen adjust to backup roles

    "Vikes_King" wrote:
    Rosenthal
    : i didnt expect him to stay on the team even this long into training camp, but i can almost see him staying on the roster and herrera or goldberg getting cut, although im hoping not

    he's a good guy, but he's just not that good anymore, (i've been a little hard on him lately lol, at camp when he was walking w/ all the other players i'd yell pooh like "bye rosey")
    If I had to guess, I'd say Goldberg is getting cut. Rosey isn't as good as he was, but with his experience, he should be a pretty good backup. And I think Herrarra is still young enough that he could develop into a very good player.

    Thanks PPE for the sig.

  6. #6
    marshallvike's Avatar
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    Re: Veteran linemen adjust to backup roles

    "canadian_vikes_fan" wrote:
    If I had to guess, I'd say Goldberg is getting cut. Rosey isn't as good as he was, but with his experience, he should be a pretty good backup. And I think Herrarra is still young enough that he could develop into a very good player.
    ditto
    Why must you defend everything this FO does....to the point of making your self look like a yes man.

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