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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Vikings' Sam Cowart: Calling the shots, and dishing them out

    [size=18px]Vikings' Sam Cowart: Calling the shots, and dishing them out[/size]

    Middle linebacker Sam Cowart has brought organization to the Vikings defense, which is precisely why Ted Cottrell wanted him.

    Judd Zulgad, Star Tribune
    Last update: December 6, 2005 at 9:09 PM


    Amid an offseason spending spree that netted the Vikings three significant free-agent acquisitions on defense, the team also made a quick stop at the NFL's equivalent of the dollar store. That purchase has been a steal.

    Veteran Sam Cowart -- obtained from the Jets for a seventh-round pick in April's draft -- has been exactly what the Vikings were looking for when they went shopping for a middle linebacker. Maybe more.

    "He's been a great leader for us as a defense," said veteran free safety Darren Sharper, who joined nose tackle Pat Williams and cornerback Fred Smoot among the high-profile free-agent additions. "He has really brought a calming presence to that whole front seven and especially the linebacker position. He understands the defense, he knows how to get guys lined up and he's going to be in the proper place at all times."

    Cowart ranks second on the team with 75 tackles, putting him one behind cornerback Antoine Winfield. But what Cowart does for the defense as a whole can't be underestimated.

    His job is equivalent to that of the quarterback when it comes to taking charge. Cowart, 30, does most of the talking in the huddle and makes many of the calls, communicating with the entire defense. It's a role current starting weak-side linebacker E.J. Henderson struggled with in his second season last year.

    Cowart, in his eighth year, gained immediate respect in training camp and was elected a defensive captain. Asked what Cowart brought to his team, the first words out of coach Mike Tice's mouth were "tremendous leadership."

    This leadership comes via Cowart's actions as much as his words. When the Vikings started 2-5, Cowart remained quiet.

    "I'm the type of player [who believes] you've got coaches, and you've got players," he said. "Whatever the game plan is that day, it didn't work, 'Hey let's regroup and come back with another one.' I'm that type of player. Whatever we're supposed to play, let's do it. But I'm not going to question a coach, and I'm not going to question any player. This is the NFL. The guys on the other side get paid, too. They are coming out there with the same intentions we are coming out with: to win. To hurt, to inflict pain."

    It's easy to see why defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, who coached Cowart for three seasons in Buffalo and two in New York, pushed for the acquisition of the veteran.

    "He has always been one of my favorite players I've had," Cottrell said. "I've tried to bring him with me, any opportunity I had."

    Cowart has gotten something in return: A chance to prove he still has something left to offer, playing the position where he feels most at home.

    Cowart entered this season having battled injury problems dating to 2001, when he ruptured his Achilles' tendon in the opener while playing for the Bills. He went to the Jets the next year and was moved to weak-side linebacker. After two relatively healthy seasons, Cowart missed seven games in 2004 because of a sprained left knee and became expendable.

    He sat out the Vikings' second game this season because of a calf injury, but returned to his starting role the next week against New Orleans and has been there since. That's something Cowart isn't taking for granted.

    "With me, every Sunday I leave the field that I'm healthy, that's great," he said. "Once you get injured here and there, they start to say, 'You've got the injury bug, you can't stay healthy, you won't last 16 games.' But this is a violent game and sometimes injuries occur."

    Cowart appears to have pro- ven he can play beyond 2005.

    "I think he's got a couple years left because he takes care of his body," Cottrell said.

    Cowart has a one-year contract, and Henderson eventually could return to the middle. To Cowart's credit, the business major from Florida State has been preparing the third-year player for that transition.

    "One thing in this league you can't get caught up in is this is a business," Cowart said. "It's not like college where, 'I've been here four years, I'm a diehard Seminole, my [license] plates say Seminoles.' You're always going to be a Seminole. When you go and sign for a team, you've got to play for that team. But you've got to realize at the end of the day that this is a business."

    And in acquiring Cowart, the Vikings appear to have made a good business decision.

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

  2. #2
    SamDawg84 Guest

    Re: Vikings' Sam Cowart: Calling the shots, and dishing them out

    man singer ur always posting those kind of articles lol. i want to resign cowart next year

  3. #3
    jordy is offline Rookie
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    Re: Vikings' Sam Cowart: Calling the shots, and dishing them

    i definately think cowart should be resigned, maybe a two year deal or somethin like that...this guy still plays very good football....resign this guy

  4. #4
    Vikes's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings' Sam Cowart: Calling the shots, and dishing them

    Sammy is a keeper in my book.
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    The rigors of Spartan life. Leonidas is cast out into the wild, and survives the harsh winter to return to his home, when he is crowned King ....a Viking!

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  5. #5
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    Re: Vikings' Sam Cowart: Calling the shots, and dishing them out

    cowart was a great add in the offseason. i thought he was a little old, but he is playing great football. i hope he sticks around next year.
    We're bringing purple back.

  6. #6
    PurplePeopleEaters's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings' Sam Cowart: Calling the shots, and dishing them out

    Cowart is the man. Keep him for sure.

  7. #7
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    Re: Vikings' Sam Cowart: Calling the shots, and dishing them out

    Maybe draft Abdul Hodge to learn under Cowart, so that way when Cowart is done we have a pro-bowler to step right in
    Thanks for the sig Pack93z


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  8. #8
    DCPologirl is offline Team Alumni
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    Re: Vikings' Sam Cowart: Calling the shots, and dishing them

    so who is the quarterback of our defense? Cowart or Sharper? lol

    DCPologirl:Maybe Randy will make Aaron Brooks look better......roflmao Del Rio: I guarantee he will

  9. #9
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    Re: Vikings' Sam Cowart: Calling the shots, and dishing them out

    The thing I like about Cowart is he doesn't make mistakes.. I hope we can keep him for awhile and develop some good yound LB's

  10. #10
    Schleppy is offline Starter
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    Re: Vikings' Sam Cowart: Calling the shots, and dishing them

    Hey Jordy, I was stationed in Holland for three years in the 80's. Hows things in the Netherlands? I wish I could go back and drink some Heiny's and eat Schwarma's. Tot Ziens.

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