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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Wiggins says he can be the man

    From the San Jose Mercury News;

    Posted on Tue, Oct. 25, 2005

    Vikings' Wiggins says he can be the man

    BY SEAN JENSEN

    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    ST. PAUL, Minn. - Vikings tight end Jermaine Wiggins has the requisite cockiness to be a top NFL receiving threat.

    "I don't think there's anyone in the league who can cover me one on one, whether it's a linebacker, a safety or a nickel back. I just feel that confident," said Wiggins. "Even when I'm covered, I still feel I'm open."

    Unlike others, however, Wiggins isn't the only one who believes that. Although he is not the focus of the Vikings' offense, Wiggins is one of quarterback Daunte Culpepper's go-to players. Wiggins leads the Vikings with 32 catches for 259 yards, and he's on pace to break Joe Senser's team record for tight ends of 79 catches.

    "He's a great player, and when he's called upon to make a play, he makes it," Culpepper said. "He's a great tight end and a great receiver also."

    Vikings offensive coordinator Steve Loney acknowledges the chemistry between Culpepper and Wiggins. But Loney marvels at Wiggins' abilities.

    "It's not like you see a Jeremy Shockey that has this great speed or this great size," Loney said. "But it's a knack that he has. I can't really explain it."

    Leave that to Wiggins, an East Boston native who is not shy about expressing himself.

    "I feel I work hard, and I do a lot of other things," Wiggins said. "I study other guys, whether they're receivers or running backs, and how they set up guys. Watch how the (defenders) play in a certain coverage. See if they're aggressive or they're not."

    Culpepper said Wiggins is reliable in practices and in games, and he trusts his tight end will not drop many passes.

    "If he touches the ball, he's got a great chance of catching it," Culpepper said.

    Third downers: One of Vikings coach Mike Tice's preseason points of emphasis was the team's third-down defense. Thus far, they are a dismal 25th in the NFL, allowing teams to convert 42.2 percent of the time in those situations.

    The Vikings allowed the Green Bay Packers to convert 4 of 7 in the first half in taking a 17-0 lead. But the Vikings allowed the Packers to convert only 2 of 6 in the second half.

    "In the first half, Brett (Favre) was ripping us," linebacker Sam Cowart said. "But in the second half, we did a lot better."

    Cowart said the key was communication and clamping down on the opposing team's favorite plays.

    "Teams aren't going to change a whole lot," Cowart said. "We've just got to recognize and react, and make the play."

    Safety Darren Sharper said the defense also effectively mixed up the coverage, forcing the opposition into third-and-long situations.

    "Don't let them get into third and short," Sharper said. "If you force third and long, you can do more with your third-down packages."

    Red zoned out: Tice also said the Vikings must improve their red-zone offense, since they are ranked 30th in the NFL. In 17 possessions, they have managed just four touchdowns and eight field goals once they get inside the 20-yard line. Sunday's opponent, the Carolina Panthers, is No. 1 in the NFL, scoring touchdowns on 14 of 18 red-zone attempts.

    Tice said the Vikings need to consider running more inside the 20.

    "If you look at the ratio of the top red-zone teams in the league, they are about 55-45," Tice said, referring to percentage of passes to runs. "We were more like 70-30.

    "It is hard to throw, throw, throw the ball down there, especially throwing it into the end zone, because they know you are throwing, and they put seven guys at the goal line. Am I concerned about it? It is just one more thing we will continue to work through and get fixed."

    Briefly: Zygi Wilf, a lifelong New York Giants fan before purchasing the Vikings, is scheduled to attend the funeral of legendary longtime Giants owner Wellington Mara, who died Tuesday morning. He was 89. Mara was one of the NFL's most respected figures, and he was key in implementing the current revenue sharing system.

    The Vikings added receiver Jason Anderson, and defensive ends Elton Patterson and Eric Taylor to the practice squad. To make room, the team released defensive ends Earl Cochran and Eric Coleman.

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

  2. #2
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Wiggins says he can be the man

    Vikings: Don't judge Jermaine Wiggins by his looks

    Judd Zulgad, Star Tribune
    Last update: October 25, 2005 at 9:40 PM

    Jermaine Wiggins could serve as the poster child for what is wrong with first impressions. One glance at Wiggins' 6-2, 260-pound physique and someone might peg him as a guy who spends his weekends on a softball field.

    But to draw that conclusion is to overlook a combination of soft hands, on-field savvy and East Coast confidence that has helped the fast-talking Wiggins go from undrafted free agent to one of the NFL's top receiving tight ends.

    "It's funny because it's not like you see a Jeremy Shockey who has got this great speed or this great size," Vikings offensive coordinator Steve Loney said, referring to the New York Giants Pro Bowl tight end. "It's a knack, a God-given ability that he has. I can't really explain it."

    Wiggins' success begins with what might be some of the best hands possessed by any NFL tight end. Those reliable mitts helped Wiggins, who joined the Vikings last season, reach 100 receptions with them in only his 20th game, breaking Rickey Young's team record by one game. It took Randy Moss 22 games to get to the century mark.

    Wiggins, who led the Vikings with 71 catches last season despite missing two games, has nine more receptions than any other teammate through six games. His 32 catches are fourth among NFL tight ends, and he has been Daunte Culpepper's most frequent target in three games.

    "The coaches like Jermaine because he catches about everything thrown to him," said Vikings coach Mike Tice, a former NFL tight end. "There is a very good comfort level between the quarterback and the player. . . . When a quarterback has confidence in a player, he will throw the ball into tighter holes. So why not? He likes throwing him the ball; they connect on a lot of things. He may not break a lot of 60-yarders, but I believe that the ratio of balls thrown to him and catches is very, very high."

    'I get the job done'

    Despite this success, Wiggins still can't avoid those who wonder how he manages to accomplish what he does with that body.

    "That's just fuel to my fire when people say I'm not the prototype. I'm not this, I'm not that," said Wiggins, who was rewarded with a five-year, $7.3 million contract that included a $1 million bonus last offseason. "Regardless of what anybody says about my prototypical athletic ability, it's a bunch of nonsense. I go out there and I get the job done. If you want to look pretty and that kind of thing, maybe you should get into body building. . . . I'll put my ability up against anybody's."

    This is no sudden rush of confidence. A native of East Boston, Wiggins learned early that self-doubt wasn't an option.

    "No one ever gave us anything, so, hey, sometimes you've got to take what you want," Wiggins said, each word dripping with his thick "BAH-ston" accent.

    It's an accent that is heard frequently throughout the Vikings' Winter Park locker room. Wiggins actually might be more of a prolific talker than he is a receiver. Anyone who comes near his locker can get Wiggins' views on any number of subjects, ranging from his beloved "Red Saaks," to the television show "Lost," to football-related matters.

    "He's quite the character when it comes to using his mouth and getting guys going," receiver Nate Burleson said. "The thing about it is I haven't played with a guy that talks as much as Jermaine and backed it up at the same time. When Jermaine speaks, you know he's going to go out there and make plays."

    Finally getting his chance

    Wiggins didn't always get that chance in his first four seasons. Signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Jets in 1999, he spent that year on the practice squad. Wiggins then bounced from the Jets to New England to Indianapolis and Carolina before landing with the Vikings. He did make Super Bowl appearances with the Patriots (2001) and Panthers (2003), getting a championship ring with New England.

    But until he arrived in Minnesota, Wiggins had never caught more than 18 passes in any regular season. He has almost that many catches (16) in the past two games, giving him plenty of reason to brag.

    "I put my ability up against any tight end in the league," Wiggins said. "I may not be flash. I might not be as big or as fast as anybody else. But week in and week out I put whatever it is against any tight end in this league. That's just my confidence level."

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

  3. #3
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    Re: Wiggins says he can be the man

    I would love to get video of when Wiggy jumped over the bears defender. All my Chicago friends were like, "are you kidding?"
    "If you want me to go out there and get you 4 yards, I ll get you 4 yards. If you want me to go out there and get 6 yards, I ll go out there and get you 4 yards" -LeRoy Hoard Former Viking

  4. #4
    Ltrey33 is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Wiggins says he can be the man

    I've always thought Wiggins looked like a giant egg. Like some sort of Weeble, lol. I love the guy though, he's awesome and a competitor and a hellof a tight end. He IS the man!

  5. #5
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    Re: Wiggins says he can be the man

    Yeah, he's definately funny looking. I love the guy. He catches most everything that comes his way, and is Pep's go go guy quite often.

  6. #6
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    Re: Wiggins says he can be the man

    He always seems to throw in that CB-hop every few games. Its cool to see.


    I m like a Ja Rule poster, cause I'm off the wall.

  7. #7
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    Re: Wiggins says he can be the man

    We need him to be the man when we have our #2 reciever at tight end. I could see him ending up to be as good as Antonio Gates



    Thank you Josdin for the sig

  8. #8
    audioghost is offline Star Spokesman
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    Re: Wiggins says he can be the man

    Did you guys see the part about Tice saying that we need to run more inside the 20 because the "best red zone teams" run more inside the 20....is Tice stupid? His team is not a "running" team, we are a passing offense, you stick to your strengths....I think he should get Daunte to run bootlegs to the end zone or QB draws....but don't try running 3 times frome the 8 yard line....becuase we have a better chance at a TD through the air than through the ground at this point.....I dunno, what do u guys think???

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  9. #9
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    Re: Wiggins says he can be the man

    its depends if they stack the line we cant run it. But we do have the maings of a godo runnign team if we us memo. The o line is starting to look better and memo has great field vision. But i do agree we do need to run more in the red zone as were known to pass pass pass and the defnse can set up for that.

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    Re: Wiggins says he can be the man

    "NeumDog" wrote:
    Yeah, he's definately funny looking. I love the guy. He catches most everything that comes his way, and is Pep's go go guy quite often.
    An odd looking duck moving down the field, but you'd swear he was old Fred Bilitnekof soaked in stick-um the way he hauls those balls in. I almost died laughing when he vaulted that Bear... :grin:
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
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