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  1. #1
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    Vikings' TE duo could benefit from loss of Robinson

    [size=14pt]Vikings' TE duo could benefit from loss of Robinson[/size]
    By Eric Krupka
    8/22/06
    RealFootball365.com

    Not every team is lucky enough to have a tight end that is a viable pass catching option. Even rarer is having two. And two pass catching tight ends is exactly what the Minnesota Vikings possess.

    With the likelihood of a year-long suspension for No. 1 wideout Koren Robinson, everyone has keyed on the alleged lack of depth in the receiving corps, assuming one of the receivers, namely Troy Williamson, will have to pick up the slack. However, the answer may be found in the Vikings' splendid tight end duo of Jermaine Wiggins and Jimmy Kleinsasser.

    Wiggins joined the Vikings prior to the 2004 season and has been nothing short of spectacular. The burly yet prolific pass catcher's signature move includes leaping over defenders with the grace of a figure skater. While he may not look like the most athletic player at first glance, once you see the 6-foot-2, 260-pounder in action, there is no discounting his athleticism and game-changing ability.

    In his first season with the team, he led all Vikings in receptions, with 71 for 705 yards and four touchdowns. In his second season, he became the fastest Viking to record 100 receptions in team history, adding 69 catches for 568 yards and a touchdown.

    The second cog of the duo is Kleinsasser. Prior to the addition of his counterpart, the North Dakota product was becoming a favorite target of then Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper. From 2001-2004 his receptions, yards and touchdowns steadily increased each year. In the three-season span, he hauled in 107 passes for 978 yards and five touchdowns. An injury limited him to just one game in '04.

    Last season the 6-3, 272-pounder added 22 receptions and 171 yards, giving the Vikings' offense superb production from the tight ends, with 91 receptions and 739 yards. The lone disappointing statistic is just one touchdown combined from the two.

    Wiggins is more of an offensive threat than Kleinsasser, although both certainly hold their own and are effective assets to the unit, and Kleinsasser is the better blocker. Together the two will likely be counted on to shoulder the load through the air with Robinson gone.

    The Wiggins-Kleinsasser double act will likely be the biggest beneficiaries within the new offense that will forge on without the Pro Bowler Robinson. Expect to see more two-tight end sets than originally anticipated, both to aid against the likelihood of defenses stacking the box against the run and to exploit mismatches Wiggins and Kleinsasser create.

    Opposing defensive backfields will likely focus their attention on Williamson, the Vikings' new No. 1 target, trying to force the other receivers to make plays. This should open up opportunities for Travis Taylor, Marcus Robinson and Billy McMullen, but more importantly allow Wiggins and Kleinsasser to do the dirty work underneath.

    Expect the two to get more touches, hopefully becoming bigger targets in the red zone and picking up the production the team lost on Tuesday Aug. 15, when Robinson was caught driving drunk.

    -Eric Krupka can be contacted at [email protected]

    http://www.realfootball365.com/nfl/articles/2006/08/robinson-tightends-vikings220806.html

  2. #2
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    Re: Vikings' TE duo could benefit from loss of Robinson

    Richard Owens having a good camp also will push the 2 in front of him.
    I can say that pass catching FB's and RB's is great for this offense.
    I really like the new brand of Vikings football!

  3. #3
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    Re: Vikings' TE duo could benefit from loss of Robinson

    they have always been a big asset to our football team, but yeah like he said maybe this will give them the ball more than originally expected.

    i do anticipate a lot of 2 TE sets actually, the coaching staff has said that wiggins has really improved his blocking skills also now, jimmy & wiggy wont be as predictable as they were before


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  4. #4
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    Re: Vikings' TE duo could benefit from loss of Robinson

    Alright guys............................................
    I believe that both Jimmy and Jermaine will be hugely integrated into the offense, especially in the "red zone".
    However, you are forgetting that we are essentially not losing much from K-Rob from last year.
    Keep in mind that Travis Taylor had 50 catches, and that will definately increase this year!
    Brad Johnson is showing that he trusts Travis to get open, and make the catch.

    As a matter of fact, I picked him over the likes of Houshmandzadeh, Moulds, Roy Williams, and Galloway, etc.
    I believe Travis to be the big man in our passing offense this year.

    However, I guess we'll still just have to see, cuz Jason Carter is looking incredible, ya know!!!!!!

  5. #5
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    Re: Vikings' TE duo could benefit from loss of Robinson

    Kleinsasser has seen extremely little playing time in the preseason so far. I'm hoping this is because of Childress' "vanilla offense." If not, it doesn't look as if Sauce will be used much at all.
    "I hate when threads are destroyed by facts and logic."
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  6. #6
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    Re: Vikings' TE duo could benefit from loss of Robinson

    Weirdly enough, while Sauce hasn't played that much, he's been top of the depth chart that Childress releases before games. I'd like to see some Two-TE sets this season, if only because it means we're getting as many of our top-calibre players on the field as often as possible.

  7. #7
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    Re: Vikings' TE duo could benefit from loss of Robinson

    I'm looking forward to seeing both these guys this year as they bring so much to the team.
    How about a power run to the left with Kleinsasser and Hutchinson leading, followed by Richardson and finally Taylor - that could do some serious damage to a few LB's !
    I can see a lot more 2 TE sets lining up this year and maybe even better value to picking up either for your FF teams
    Time spent annoying a Packer fan is never time wasted...


  8. #8
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    Re: Vikings' TE duo could benefit from loss of Robinson

    Posted on Wed, Aug. 30, 2006

    [size=13pt]Tight ends divide snaps[/size]
    Wiggins, Kleinsasser OK with different roles

    BY DON SEEHOLZER
    Pioneer Press


    Put them together, and they would make the perfect tight end. Well, almost.

    Jermaine Wiggins might not have a classic NFL body, but he's a deceptively dangerous receiver, with Velcro hands and a knack for getting open.

    Jim Kleinsasser is one of the league's best edge blockers, with a combination of power and fundamentals that would be the envy of some offensive linemen.

    Neither is a speed merchant, but the Vikings like their 1-2 punch, which they will be delivering with a twist this fall.

    Unlike recent seasons, when the team started two tight ends, Kleinsasser and Wiggins will split time in coach Brad Childress' West Coast offense, but everyone involved insists there will be enough snaps and passes to go around.

    "Jermaine and I, we're not selfish players," Kleinsasser said. "We just want to win ballgames. I'm looking at it like we're just competing to get better. I'll pick up whatever playing time I can, and he feels the same way."

    Wiggins agreed, adding that this willingness to share will in no way affect his habit of calling for the ball as often as possible.

    "I'm still very confident about that," he said. "I'm still the same guy. I feel like I can get open on any down and make a play against anybody. I think you need to have confidence like that to play in this league."

    Kleinsasser is listed first on the depth chart. The Vikings got him involved in the passing game in Friday night's 30-7 victory over Baltimore with receptions of 14 and 9 yards on their first two possessions.

    Those were the first catches of the preseason for Kleinsasser, who had just 22 all last season but likes the idea of being used in a receiving role.

    "I think every tight end looks at it that way," he said. "Everybody wants to catch balls. It's whatever works out there. You can't be one-dimensional and shove it right in their face. You've got to switch things up and keep them on their heels."

    To avoid being typecast, Kleinsasser will have to be more than a designated blocker this season, and Wiggins, the Vikings' leading receiver each of the past two seasons, will have to do more than catch passes.

    Wiggins, who has three receptions for 21 yards and a touchdown during the preseason, said that's OK with him.

    "People say I can't block, but that's all I really did when I was in Carolina in 2003 and Stephen Davis rushed for (1,444) yards," he said. "I guess because I'm no Orlando Pace and I'm not pancaking people, there's always going to be somebody out there who's trying to find something negative about you."

    Wiggins said he has even picked up a blocking tip or two from Kleinsasser, who gives his running mate high marks in that department.

    "He's got the technique," Kleinsasser said. "He's played in the league, so he knows all the little sneaky moves. We work together on technique stuff and kind of give each other little tips here and there."

    When Childress was hired, some questioned whether Kleinsasser and his $2.4 million salary fit into the West Coast offense, but he's still around and the Vikings like both of their tight ends, who will get on the field together at times in their Tiger package.

    "What we're trying to do is give multiple looks to the defense, change personnel very often," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "So we'll have that Tiger personnel in every game plan. Depending on what you're trying to attack, some weeks it could be an abundance of it, and some weeks it may be a few snaps."

    However it works out, the Vikings are convinced of this: Even in the West Coast offense, two tight ends are still better than one.

    Don Seeholzer can be reached at [email protected]

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

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