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Game Changers

Shianco Says Ponder Already A Team Leader.

June 16, 2011 by Nick in Game Changers
About three months into the NFL lockout, even one of the most vocal Vikings is a little speechless.

“It’s hard to make any sort of speculations or assumptions,” tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said. “It’s hard to speak on anything because nobody knows what’s going on. Every team is in a fog.”

Shiancoe’s free football camp for teenagers this weekend is worth talking about, along with a few Vikings-related items Shiancoe touched on when reached today. On Saturday, Shiancoe’s birthday, the eight-year NFL veteran is providing a free camp for about 300 teens at Morgan State University, his alma mater. More information can be found at

“it’s a present for me to give back to these kids,” Shiancoe said.

Shiancoe was one of several receivers rumored to be visiting rookie quarterback Christian Ponder’s team workouts in Tampa a few weeks back, but only eight players showed up. High-profile players Shiancoe, Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice and Bernard Berrian didn’t make it, and reported excuses ranged from losing a cell phone (Harvin) to missing a flight (Berrian).

But Shiancoe said he still plans to visit IMG Academy to work out with Ponder at some point and commends the rookie for his planning.

“That’s great initiative,” Shiancoe said. “That depicts a team leader right there.”

Shiancoe, a free agent after next season, also has no problem with the Vikings drafting Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph in the second round.

“I feel like any addition to the team that will help us win is a good one,” Shiancoe said. “I don’t know exactly how they are going to incorporate a two-tight-end set or how it’s going to be used, but I know he’s a terrific asset to the team. To have as many playmakers on the field as possible helps us take advantage of more mismatches.”

As the weeks pass, the Vikings have less time to absorb Bill Musgrave’s new offense. That will affect a rookie quarterback such as Ponder or a veteran if the Vikings choose an older quarterback to start opening day.

Shiancoe, who in past interviews has mentioned Donovan McNabb as an option for Minnesota, said he’s open to a rookie playing early.

“If a rookie comes in with a right mindset, willing and able to put in extra work, I feel that can really separate them from the other rookies,” Shiancoe said. “They have to get on the grind. Even for vets, we’re going to be in whole new system in there.”



It looks like Ponder is already setting himself up to be a leader for the Vikings.  Rookies typically have issues establishing themselves with their veteran teammates.   If Ponder gets out on the field and dominates and anticipated then he will silence all the critics.  Adrian Peterson did just this after being questionably drafted as Chester Taylor had a 1300 + yard season the year before.  Look where he is at now.  SKOL VIKES.  

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