It's too early for Minnesota to give up on WilliamsonJune 8 2007 at 2:38 PM
Vikadan11 (Login Vikadan11)
It's too early for Minnesota to give up on Williamson
By Eric Krupka on June 8, 2007 12:33 AM
In the midst of the Minnesota Vikings ' offseason and OTAs, it's a good time to discuss possibilities and answer some questions for the upcoming season.
Q. After a horrid 2006 season, can Troy Williamson be the wide receiver the Vikings had envisioned when they drafted him No. 7 overall in 2005?
A. Williamson certainly had butterfingers last year, which cost the Vikings' offense plenty of scoring opportunities. However, after finding out that eyesight was the ex-South Carolina star's problem -- Nike determined that his right eye is weaker than his left -- Williamson has been doing eye-hand coordination drills as well as catching hundreds of balls per day from a JUGS machine. And the early results are encouraging. He has been catching the passes that plagued him last year in which he tied for the third-most drops (11) in the NFL. His work ethic certainly isn't the problem, and it provides plenty of hope that 2007 will be much improved from a forgetful campaign last season. Don't give up on the 25-year-old receiver just yet; he may surprise in '07.
Q. Should people be worried about Antoine Winfield's absence from OTAs?
A. Simply put, no. Safety Darren Sharper doesn't see a problem with it, and Winfield isn't expected to hold out of training camp, so it is essentially a non-issue. Now, that's not to say Sharper's opinion is all that matters, but if the veterans aren't concerned, and the coaching staff has yet to make it an issue, then why should anyone else? Fans are unhappy about it, and understandably so, but come Sundays in the fall, all will be forgotten when the Vikings' feisty corner is again making plays on defense.
Q. After recording zero sacks in all 16 games last season, how long until Kenechi Udeze snaps his sack-less streak in 2007?
A. It could be quite some time. For the season, I'll say he puts up another zero -- with the Vikings. The pass rush was an immense deficiency on an otherwise solid defensive line last season. After three unproductive seasons, and the need for a pass rush off the end, Udeze will be hard-pressed to start, and he has an outside shot of not breaking camp with the Vikings.
Q. If Udeze doesn't start, who takes his starting job?
A. Ray Edwards. The Purdue alumnus has incredible speed and a non-stop motor. In limited snaps as a rookie last season, he recorded three sacks and showed promise in becoming a constant pass-rushing threat. Edwards is still a little raw, but the potential is there, and he makes up for it with his hustle.
Q. Who then becomes the third-down specialist?
A. Lance Johnstone used to be terrific at coming in on third down and getting the big sack. It was something Minnesota sorely missed last season with Johnstone in Oakland. Rookie Brian Robison could be the guy, or Udeze if he loses his starting job but still makes the team. It's no secret that the Vikings need to get better against the pass, and it all starts with creating more pressure from a good pass rush.