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  1. #11
    boognish's Avatar
    boognish is offline Coordinator
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    Re: Vikings Linebackers: Full stable of contenders

    "singersp" wrote:
    "VikingsTw" wrote:
    This is the one position i'm so exited for, we have alot of talent here but never had the coaching, adding leber and greenway boosts the core pretty good. I wouldn't be surprised to see EJ win a spot somewhere, he played real well last year for the most part, especailly at the end. Definitly our best LB last year.
    WRONG! Sam Cowart was. :wink:

    Cowart: 72 solo tackles, 13 assists & 2 sacks.
    Henderson: 53 solo tackles, 22 assists & 1 sack.
    Cowart was the man; we're going to miss that veteran leadership. Here's a good article about Harris.

    Don't Write off Harris

    Prior to the 2005 season, the Minnesota Vikings decided it was in their best interest to trade away their constant distraction, All-Pro receiver Randy Moss. The main return the Vikes received for Moss was the Raiders' first-round pick (No. 7 overall), which was used to select receiver Troy Williamson. Other than that, linebacker Napoleon Harris was shipped to Minnesota. With the fanfare Moss had, fans were left with lofty expectations for the acquired talent. After an unimpressive season in which he lost his starting position, fans have begun to sour on Harris. However, he should not be written off just yet.

    Whenever a player joins a new city, he tries too hard to impress and perform, when he would be better off just going about his business as usual, playing, and not thinking too much. It's hard to tell what led to Harris' shortcomings last season, but it could have had something to do with being traded for a future Hall of Famer and putting too much pressure on himself. Learning a new defense and trying to fit in can always hinder one's performance, too.

    In any event, there is no doubt that the former Northwestern University standout has the tools and ability to play at a high level in the NFL. In just his second season in the league (2003), Harris played well, demonstrating clearly that he has what it takes to turn his potential into results. He recorded 107 tackles and added two sacks as a member of the Silver and Black.

    By no means should Harris be given a free pass for last season, and he isn't getting one. And obviously, he won't make excuses for his forgetful season. He carries himself with too much class. What many fans may not be aware of is his charitable endeavors and propensity to give back to the youth of America. Harris prides himself on helping communities, especially youngsters.

    Harris has set up the Napoleon Harris Foundation, which addresses the health, education and social needs of children through its collegiate scholarship fund, educational nutrition program, mentoring program and reading club.

    What more can you ask for in a human-being, especially in a day and age when people complain that there are no good guys and no role models in professional sports. For those in search of a hero, look no farther than Harris. He should be a role model to any young kid, as he carries himself with such dignity and understands exactly what the right thing to do is. In fact, more athletes should look to him as an example of how to deal with fame and fortune.

    Being a great person is fantastic, but fans seem to only care about results on the field. With the chance to redeem himself, Harris has been working harder than ever before in his attempt to reclaim a starting job. If he can return to the type of play he displayed in 2003, the Vikings' faithful will soon be on his bandwagon.

    Don't give up on Harris yet. Will he become a solid contributor to the Minnesota Vikings defense in 2006? I'm putting my money on yes.

    -Eric Krupka can be reached at [email protected]
    I am a dipshit!!!

  2. #12
    Vikes_King's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings Linebackers: Full stable of contenders

    man idk, ik they both could be good, we'll see what happens


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  3. #13
    VikingsTw is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Vikings Linebackers: Full stable of contenders

    "singersp" wrote:
    "VikingsTw" wrote:
    This is the one position i'm so exited for, we have alot of talent here but never had the coaching, adding leber and greenway boosts the core pretty good. I wouldn't be surprised to see EJ win a spot somewhere, he played real well last year for the most part, especailly at the end. Definitly our best LB last year.
    WRONG! Sam Cowart was. :wink:

    Cowart: 72 solo tackles, 13 assists & 2 sacks.
    Henderson: 53 solo tackles, 22 assists & 1 sack.
    I'm very aware of who lead our team in tackles in the LB core, Cowart was ok but as far as explosive tackles/hits, tackles for losses/caused fumbles, EJ was our best. I thought he was more active sideline to sideline, he also missed a few games due to injuries. About the last two or three games of the season EJ was all over the field, Cowart didn't have games like that.

    Cowart was a guy who you never heard his name becuase he didn't make alot of mistakes but he also didn't make very many big plays.

    Its all opinion.

  4. #14
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    Re: Vikings Linebackers: Full stable of contenders

    As long as SOMEONE steps up and plays the MLB like it should be then it's all good...but if NO ONE does then I will be pissed...because we could have had Donnie Edwards (who DEFINITELY can play the MLB) for close to nothing tradewise.
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

  5. #15
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    Re: Vikings Linebackers: Full stable of contenders

    man, i was going to post this article yesterday, but i figured it already had been! oh well, no big deal. as for LB, I'm thinking Leber will get it done. who will be our outside guys? as long as the LB position doesn't become like Tice's RB situation. I didn't like RB by committee, and I DEFINITELY don't want LB by committee.
    WE CAN BUILD ON THIS!!!

    In AP I trust

  6. #16
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings Linebackers: Full stable of contenders

    [size=18px]Vikes' Tomlin to fans: "Our linebackers are good"[/size]

    By Eric Krupka on June 26, 2006 01:07 AM

    The talk of the offseason among the Minnesota Vikings ' faithful has often centered around the alleged weakness of the team's linebacking corps.

    For those that doubt the linebackers or think they aren't good enough, defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin has this to say:

    "To be quite honest, the public is a lot more worried about the linebacker situation than we are. We're going to have some linebackers who can play and play at a high level. ... I hope that everybody continues to have sleepless nights in regards to the linebackers, but [the coaches] are going to sleep like babies."

    Fans look to the departure of solid, yet unspectacular veterans Sam Cowart and Keith Newman from what some already pegged as a weakness last season. Many have also come down hard on a former 2002 first-round pick of the Oakland Raiders , Napoleon Harris, acquired in the infamous Randy Moss trade. While nobody will deny that the man nicknamed "Hollywood" Harris had a forgettable first season as a member of the Vikings, he also possesses the potential to be a rousing success.

    The organization did address the position this offseason via free agency and the draft. Linebacker Ben Leber was lured away from the San Diego Chargers , agreeing to a five-year deal. In April's NFL Draft, the team invested its first-round pick on the highly-touted former University of Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway.

    So, heading into training camp, the team boasts a bevy of linebackers that all have the magic "P" word--potential. More than that, though, they have talent. The top five 'backers all boast another thing in common. Each were selected in the first day of their respective drafts. Napoleon Harris (first round, 2002), E.J. Henderson (second round, '02), Ben Leber (third round, '02), Dontarrious Thomas (second round, 2003), and Chad Greenway (first round, 2006). So if nothing else, the Vikings have an abundance of untapped capability that Tomlin feels will play at a high level in '06 and beyond.

    Let's take a closer look at the five players vying for playing time:

    1.) Ben Leber - The organization and coaching staff feel that he is a perfect fit for the "Tampa 2" defense being installed by Tomlin. He is tall (6-3, 244), strong and extremely quick. Speed is a necessity in the scheme and he certainly has it. Leber has the ability to play multiple linebacker positions. His ability to play in coverage is a great asset and is a big part of what makes him a good fit for the Vikings' new scheme. His speed, versatility, work-ethic, and attention to detail, along with his new contract make Leber a near lock to be a starter opening day.

    2.) Napoleon Harris - The former 23rd overall pick spent the better part of his three seasons as a starter for the silver and black. That includes a spectacular sophomore campaign in which he racked up 107 tackles. He has good speed, technique, and can be a difference maker. At 6-2, 255 pounds, Harris has a good build, and could be a great fit in the "Tampa 2," also. In the meantime, he has been getting a majority of the reps at middle linebacker thus far.

    3.) E.J. Henderson - He had a tremendous senior season at Maryland, but an injury dropped him out of the first round. The Vikings were ecstatic to spend a second-round pick on Henderson. In his second season, he amassed 93 tackles and looked ready to become a star in '05. Although he only had 75 tackles this past season, Henderson still played extremely well at times. He has a similar build to Leber and Harris (6-1, 245), and has elite speed. He plays fast and is great in pursuit, making him an excellent fit in the "Tampa 2."

    4.) Chad Greenway - This past April's 17th overall selection has all the qualities to become a dominant player for years to come. Like the rest of the Vikings' linebackers, he possesses terrific speed. He is very intelligent, and plays feisty with a non-stop motor. He is a great tackler, and uses his speed to get to ball-carriers. Like the rest of the linebackers, he's similar in stature (6-4, 244). He has exceptional coverage skills, and plays quite well sideline to sideline, which, like the others, makes him a great fit in the "Tampa 2." The coaching staff would love to pencil him in as a starter, so barring any unforeseen injury, expect to see No. 52 scampering all over the field this fall making plays.

    5.) Dontarrious Thomas - He is the forgotten man among the big five. Another former second-round pick, Thomas, like all the others, thrives on speed. In his young career with the Vikings, he has been a starter and reserve player, and has playoff experience. The third-year pro has set himself up to be right in the mix, and is in heavy consideration for the starting position. He is battling Henderson and Harris for playing time.
    At 6-2, 242 pounds, he is once again eerily similar to the other four Viking linebackers. However, Thomas hasn't proven to be as good in coverage as either Leber or Greenway.

    With training camp just over a month away, Tomlin likes what he sees from his linebackers and defensive unit as a whole. With such capable personnel at linebacker, it's hard to contradict his assessment.

    Tomlin also is "very pleased" with his unit's grasp and progress made in learning the newly-installed scheme. Don't get too excited Viking fans, as he did also say they had, "miles to go in terms of being football-ready."

    But that's what the summer months are for. If all goes according to plan, the Minnesota faithful will soon be able to rest as easy as the coaching staff is when pondering the fate of their linebacking unit.

    -Eric Krupka can be reached at [email protected]

    Vikes' Tomlin to fans: "Our linebackers are good"

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  7. #17
    whackthepack is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Vikings Linebackers: Full stable of contenders

    The Viking's linebackers do have potential there is enough talent in the group to be able to find 3 starting LB's that can be a factor game in and game out.

    We need to give this group a year to see who steps up, and who steps out! Unfortunately for Thomas, EJ and Napo they were stuck with Ted Cottrell and his terrible coaching staff last year, who had terrible schemes and bad instructors teaching them. So I am giving them a year to see what they can do with hopefully better coaches and a better defensive scheme. I think that 2 of them should step up and be strong contributors to the Vikes this year, and with Leber and Greenway added this offseason I think we will be more than average at LB this year.
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

  8. #18
    GQVikesfan is offline Starter
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    Re: Vikings Linebackers: Full stable of contenders

    I loved how Napo kept Jeremy Shockey in check in last seasons game against the Giants.
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  9. #19
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    Re: Vikings Linebackers: Full stable of contenders

    Here are my starters:

    LOLB- Greenway
    Middle- Henderson
    ROLB- Leber


  10. #20
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    Re: Vikings Linebackers: Full stable of contenders

    I'm not going to lose any sleep over the linebacker situation anymore. It sounds like we'll at least have an average linebacking core.

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