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  1. #1
    Prophet Guest

    Vikings offensive line vets realize irrelevancy of NFL tenure

    Vikings offensive line vets realize irrelevancy of NFL tenure
    DAVE CAMPBELL
    Associated Press

    EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Adam Goldberg, Chris Liwienski and Mike Rosenthal have started 122 games on Minnesota's offensive line between them, including 33 last season.

    This year, they're each in danger of getting dumped on Saturday when teams are required to reduce their rosters to 53 players for the regular season. Such a situation is hardly unusual in the NFL, when contracts are not guaranteed - and tenure sure isn't, either.

    "I've known that since the day you get drafted," said Rosenthal, who lost his job at right tackle to second-round draft pick Marcus Johnson last November. "You can talk to anybody who's been around, who understands the NFL. You're day to day. It's a performance business, and you have to treat each day like it's your last."

    Because Johnson began at right guard, left tackle Bryant McKinnie will be the only starter in the same place from last year's opener to this year's first game on Sept. 11 at Washington.

    Four-time Pro Bowl pick Matt Birk is back at center after missing last season because of a series of injuries to his midsection. Right guard Artis Hicks was acquired in a draft-day trade with Philadelphia. And left guard Steve Hutchinson arrived in the richest deal - seven years, $49 million with $16 million guaranteed - ever given a player at his position.

    Jason Whittle, who has started 35 games over eight seasons as a guard and center, was signed to be the top interior backup. The second-round draft pick obtained in the Daunte Culpepper trade with Miami was used on Ryan Cook, a center in college at New Mexico who is currently the second-string right tackle.

    That leaves only a couple of spots left for Liwienski, the backup right guard, and Rosenthal and Goldberg, who have been working at left tackle. Teams rarely keep more than nine offensive linemen on the active roster, though offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell suggested Monday that the Vikings could keep as many as 10.

    "It's a competitive atmosphere, you know?" Liwienski said earlier in training camp. "We've got a lot of guys vying for a few jobs, so the work is definitely there until you're done - and may the best man win."

    Coach Brad Childress and his staff took over after Mike Tice was fired in January, requiring these veterans to make another first impression. Tice personally assisted in Liwienski's development when he was the offensive line coach, decided to put the undrafted Goldberg in the starting lineup in 2004, and had a say in the signing of Rosenthal as a free agent in 2003.

    Liwienski lost his job at left guard to Anthony Herrera last November after starting every game on Minnesota's line from 2001 until then. Herrera, coincidentally, is also among the players with starting experience whose status is in question.

    "It definitely happens quick. You go from a young guy to getting your years in and now you're fighting for your life season by season," Liwienski said. "That's the way it goes. That's what makes the NFL the best in the world."

    Emotionally, it's not easy, so it's important to stay as detached as possible.

    "Whenever they call, 'first offense,' in practice, your feet take a couple of steps toward there," Goldberg said. "In the preseason games, whenever we receive a kickoff or a punt, your body wants to run out there."

    Other teams figure to call should any of them be released this weekend, but it would've been easier to find opportunities earlier this summer. For Rosenthal, asking for a trade was not a consideration.

    "That's not my style. I never do that. I've always been a team guy," he said.

    Pouting, certainly, is not the answer.

    "I appreciate those guys," Bevell said. "They're not griping and complaining or causing any problems because they're not in the starting rotation. They're taking their reps. They're making the most of their reps. They're throwing it out there and hoping that it's good enough."


  2. #2
    cogitans is offline Jersey Retired
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    6,403

    Re: Vikings offensive line vets realize irrelevancy of NFL tenure

    I was wondering if we were keeping 8 or 9 offensive linemen.

    Right now this is how I see it:

    Making the team:

    McKinnie
    Hutchinson
    Birk
    Hicks
    Johnson
    Whittle
    Cook

    ---------------------

    Fighting for a spot

    Goldberg
    Liwienski
    Herrera
    Rosenthal

    -------------

    Cuts:

    Penn
    Palermo

    Now I have not listet them in any order of who makes the team. It's just trying to illustrate the guys that are in there in the middle of it. Now you can see who and how many of them stays on. I honestly have no idea who has been the better performance among those. The only thing I can come up with is Childress that pointed out he likes players who can play multiple positions on the line. That might be good for a guy like Goldberg.

    Thanks to PPE for the sig.

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