Visanthe Shiancoe (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe hasn’t been used as often as usual in the passing game lately, but he said there is a reason for that and preached patience. Plus, get the updated injury report from Friday and other notes.
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe has experienced just the opposite of what most people projected since Randy Moss arrived.
With the speedy Moss getting double covered with a safety over the top on most plays, the theory went that Shiancoe would find seams in the middle of the defense to his liking. In two games with Moss, however, Shiancoe has had two catches for 28 yards and no touchdowns.
“Patience, man. All that is to come,” Shiancoe said.
It might not be just the arrival of Moss that has led to Shiancoe’s decreased opportunities in the passing game. After catching 10 passes for 162 yards in his first two games of the season, the athletic tight end caught only one pass for 7 yards against Detroit, and that was the game before Moss arrived.
One of the issues is that Shiancoe has been called upon to block more recently with the Vikings facing teams who use a 3-4 defensive front and blitz linebackers.
“Some games require me to do different things. The last couple of games I was required to block a little bit more. Sometimes somebody else is open, so you never know what happens when it comes to progressions or reads,” Shiancoe said.
Last year, his first with Brett Favre at quarterback, Shiancoe caught a career-high 11 touchdowns, which was also a franchise record for tight ends. He also caught a career-high 56 passes for 566 yards.
Coaches admitted this week that they need to get him more involved.
“It’s a matter of us putting him in a position to be a prime look on certain passes,” Childress said. “Now I always say, you can be looking at somebody as a prime guy and if he’s gloved or he’s being covered by two people it has to go elsewhere. We can do a better job of that, putting him in better situations.”
“I would say that’s something that we need to rectify,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “We need to get him the ball. I counted him as one of our guys that’s a playmaker. We’ve seen that last year and the last couple years that he’s come on. We need to do a better job of getting him the ball and getting him involved because he can also help open up what’s going on outside.”
Green Bay also poses a 3-4 defense, one that features NFL sacks leader Clay Matthews coming off the edge.
Last year against Green Bay, Shiancoe had a combined four catches for 30 yards in two games. Childress said the Packers elected to use a nickel defense with cornerback Charles Woodson covering Shiancoe when he was on the field. Whether they continue to employ that tactic this year with Moss on field remains to be seen.
ABDULLAH OUT, OTHER STARTERS PROBABLE
Safety Husain Abdullah (concussion) had been ruled out against the Green Bay Packers for Sunday night, the only starter declared out or questionable among 12 Vikings that appeared on the injury report this week.
Backup offensive lineman Chris DeGeare (ankle) and reserve cornerback Lito Sheppard (hand) are questionable.
The other nine players – CB Chris Cook (knee), QB Brett Favre (elbow/ankle), DT Letroy Guion (toe), LB E.J. Henderson (knee), TE Jim Kleinsasser (groin), DE Brian Robison (ankle), C John Sullivan (calf), OL Ryan Cook (knee) and WR Percy Harvin (hamstring) – are all probable, meaning they are virtual certainties to be available.
Sullivan has been dealing with injuries in both calves this year, starting three games, being inactive for one and not playing last week.
“It’s been frustrating at times, but you’ve just got to roll with the punches. Having a negative attitude won’t do anything,” Sullivan said Friday.
The Packers had already declared DE Mike Neal and LB Brady Poppinga out and on Friday declared G/T Marshall Newhouse (back) doubtful.
Four Packers – LBs Brandon Chillar (shoulder) and Clay Matthews (hamstring), DL Ryan Pickett (ankle) and T Mark Tauscher (shoulder) – are questionable.
The rest of their 13-man injury report – T Chad Clifton (knee), S Nick Collins (knee), WR Donald Driver (quadriceps), LB A.J. Hawk (groin), DE Cullen Jenkins (hand) and CB Charles Woodson (toe) – are probable.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Favre’s 24-21 win over the Cowboys last Sunday was only the second time in his career that he was sacked at least three times and threw for fewer than 120 yards and still won. The other time was also with the Vikings – his first game in purple last year against the Cleveland Browns.
WR Randy Moss has the most receptions of 40 yards or more among active NFL players. Moss has 76 receptions of at least 40 yards; Terrell Owens is second with 63.
Much has been made of DE Jared Allen’s 7.5 sacks in two games last year against Green Bay, but Ray Edwards could be every bit as effective against a banged-up Mark Tauscher. Edwards had two sacks in his last meeting with Green Bay.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has completed 87 of 128 passes (68 percent) for 1,008 yards with six touchdowns and one interception for a 103.9 rating in his career against the Vikings. He had passer ratings above 100 in both of his matchups against Minnesota last year.