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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Vikings putting it all on the O-line

    [size=18px]Vikings putting it all on the O-line [/size]

    Posted 8/2/2006 11:07 PM ET

    By Jim Corbett, USA TODAY

    MANKATO, Minn. — Few football men are more attuned to an offensive line's potential than former Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks all-pro defensive tackle John Randle.

    The seven-time Pro Bowler is even more versed on the subject now, thanks to his new Twin Cities neighbors, $49 million guard Steve Hutchinson and family. The two former Seahawks teammates are fishing buddies and their wives remain close.

    Randle raves about the potentially dominant left side of a hulking, revamped line. Center Matt Birk and Hutchinson are multiple Pro Bowlers, and Hutchinson's arrival could mean 6-8, 335-pound tackle Bryant McKinnie has all-pro in his near future.

    "Oh my God, it should be incredible what those three guys will be able to do," Randle says. "Hutch is going to give Bryant McKinnie so much more confidence.

    "Steve and I played together three years in Seattle. He's going to do everything possible to show he's worth the money.

    "Some of the younger Seahawks defensive linemen would ask me, 'What moves should I use on him in practice?' I said, 'You better make sure it's your best because he's going to knock you 5-10 yards off the ball.'

    "That left side will be lights out."

    That's the way it was in Seattle, where 2005 league MVP Shaun Alexander favored running behind the left side of Hutchinson and all-pro tackle Walter Jones.

    Alexander led the league in rushing last season and finished 1 yard shy of leader Curtis Martin in 2004.

    "Defenses now are really geared to just taking away the run and making you pass," Hutchinson says. "But we found a way in Seattle to run against eight men in the box, and you're really breaking a defense's back when you can do that.

    "We have the potential of having a really good line. We had a great line in Seattle, and it just comes with experience and trust in each other.

    "It's just going to be how fast can we get that trust here."

    First-year Vikings coach Brad Childress believes a line dictates an offense's personality. Right guard Artis Hicks, the 6-4, 335-pounder who played under Childress in Philadelphia, and 6-6, 321-pound second-year right tackle Marcus Johnson fit that punishing identity.

    "In offensive line play, it's changing the line of scrimmage," Childress says. "By that I mean removing it. You're exerting your will on somebody.

    "You have to not only be talented, but tough-minded. They're carrying the fight."

    If the Vikings are to improve on last year's 9-7 finish and make the playoffs, the biggest reason could be their line.

    Birk offered to play last season on a damaged hip and a sports hernia if the club guaranteed last season and this final year remaining on his contract.

    The club declined and so did the line play, resulting in a 27th-ranked run game and may have contributed to former quarterback Daunte Culpepper's poor start.

    "Matt's the type of guy who's willing to lay it all on the line for the team, and that's what you have to have," Hutchinson says.

    Birk is healthy for the first time in 18 months.

    "When you're talking about McKinnie and Hutchinson, you're talking about two of the premier guys at their position," Birk says. "Every year, Bryant keeps getting better.

    "I see myself like Artis, a self-made guy who didn't come in highly touted, but worked his way up. And I might be biased, but I think Hutch is the best there is at his position."

    The Vikings pried Hutchinson away from Seattle with a seven-year, $49-million offer laced with a prohibitive "poison pill" clause stipulating that if Hutchinson was not the team's highest-paid lineman, his entire contract would be guaranteed.

    Former Baltimore Ravens backup Chester Taylor, third-year pro Mewelde Moore and second-year man Ciatrick Fason give Childress multitasking tools to mix and match at running back.

    Fullback Tony Richardson, who helped pave the way for the success of Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson during his 11 seasons in Kansas City, is another tool in the running game.

    How effectively the Vikings run the ball could determine the degree to which teams blitz Brad Johnson, who at age 37 is the league's oldest starting quarterback.

    "We've got the talent," Birk says. "If we do things the right way, we have a chance to do something special."

    Vikings putting it all on the O-line

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

  2. #2
    digital420's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings putting it all on the O-line

    ohh i cant' wait to see this moving brick wall open up highways for our rb's and build the nuklear bomb bunker for B.j!!

    DiGiTaL

    "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
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    Re: Vikings putting it all on the O-line

    It is getting sweeter by the day.. I can't wait for this season to start..

  4. #4
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    Re: Vikings putting it all on the O-line

    "singersp" wrote:
    "We've got the talent," Birk says. "If we do things the right way, we have a chance to do something special."
    ....and if you all can stay on the field for 13+ games.

    Side note:
    I can't WAIT to hear the pads crack tomorrow night!!!!!!!

    =Z=

    Thanks to Josdin for the awesome sig!

  5. #5
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    Re: Vikings putting it all on the O-line

    "AWZeus" wrote:
    "singersp" wrote:
    "We've got the talent," Birk says. "If we do things the right way, we have a chance to do something special."
    ....and if you all can stay on the field for 13+ games.

    Side note
    I can't WAIT to hear the pads crack tomorrow night!!!!!!!

    =Z=
    That's the key right there - the O-line needs to stay pretty healthy.

    I think that even with an injury or two we have the depth to persevere through it, but we can't afford any season ending injuries to anyone, especially not Birk, Hutch, or McKinnie.

    Thanks PPE for the sig.

  6. #6
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    Re: Vikings putting it all on the O-line

    i think the right side will be pretty impressive also if johnson steps up from last year


    http://vikesking.blogspot.com/

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  7. #7
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    Re: Vikings putting it all on the O-line

    I couldn't have asked for a better offseason. This is what i preached all offseason was getting Hutchison or Bentely to beef up this oline. I knew that if we did that we could protect BJ and open lanes for our RB's. We didn't need Shaun Alexander or E.James, those multi million dollar RB's.

    I believe Childress has his head screwed on straight, build a beast of an oline, kill two birds with one stone by protecting your QB and RB's. I can't wait to see the online in action.

  8. #8
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    Re: Vikings putting it all on the O-line


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

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