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singersp
11-24-2005, 03:37 AM
Vikings Herrera is team's newest starter

From The Mercury News

Posted on Wed, Nov. 23, 2005
DAVE CAMPBELL
Associated Press

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - The Minnesota Vikings have again mixed up their offensive line, where the importance of continuity has been trumped by a need for reliability - and a little nastiness.

So Anthony Herrera is the newest left guard, having stepped in for Toniu Fonoti on Monday night at Green Bay. Fonoti, who ended Chris Liwienski's team-long streak of 75 straight games started, suffered a strained left groin against the Packers and probably won't play this week against Cleveland.

After bumping Mike Rosenthal at right tackle against Green Bay, rookie Marcus Johnson is also in, uh, line to start on Sunday against the Browns. That leaves left tackle Bryant McKinnie, Minnesota's first-round draft pick in 2002, as the lone lineman to hold his spot for the entire season.

Making so many changes up front is not ideal, but neither is an offense that has scored one touchdown over the past 10 quarters, ranks 25th in the league in yardage and has yielded the second-highest sack total, 45, in the NFL.

"Production is the bottom line," offensive coordinator Steve Loney said, "and if some stability is sacrificed in an effort to get more production, then I think you have to do that."

For coach Mike Tice, it's simply about getting meaner. He recalled the reputation that Todd Steussie, the Vikings' left tackle from 1994-2000, once had for playing dirty.

"Why? Because he was cut-blocking," Tice said. "The last time I checked the rules, cut-blocking was legal. But that's the attitude you're looking for. ... You're looking for, 'Hey, this guy I'm playing against, I've never had him over to my house for dinner. Who cares if he likes me or not?'"

Herrera, a 6-foot-2, 315-pound second-year player from Tennessee, fits that description. He wasn't drafted out of college, but Tice and Loney liked him enough that they elevated him from the practice squad last November to avoid losing him to another team.

Herrera was climbing the depth chart in August, about to get a chance to play with the first team at either guard or center, when he got kicked on the lower right leg in Minnesota's first preseason game. Dirt from the cleat mark caused a scary infection, called cellulitis, hospitalizing him for several days and keeping him off for the field for a month.

"That's life," he said. "It makes you a stronger person."

Strength, or tenacity, has never been a problem for him. He's often told to tone down his intensity.

"He'll temper that enthusiasm as he gains experience," Tice said. "Anthony deserves the chance he got, and he's made the best of it."

Before he got hurt in that exhibition game, Herrera made a strong impression. Loney laughed as he recounted the story.

"He's an excitable kid," Loney said. "He was running sideline to sideline. He was hitting anything that walked, but it wasn't necessarily his guy he was supposed to be getting."

Siding with his coaches, quarterback Brad Johnson acknowledged that the constant shuffling in front of him isn't the best way to create an offensive rhythm. But the running game was working against the Packers, and the Vikings moved the ball when they had to in a 20-17 win.

"The thing I like about it the most is these guys believe in each other and are fighting and they believe in the system," Johnson said. "We'll keep at it and we're going to get better, all of us."

COJOMAY
11-24-2005, 03:39 AM
Time will tell

cajunvike
11-24-2005, 03:43 AM
Not bad for an undrafted lineman...you KNOW that he's hungry...for BEAR...and any other teams' players to beat on!!!

Freya
11-24-2005, 03:48 AM
So they gotta keep fighting and keep believing.

V4L
11-24-2005, 06:10 AM
I love those undrafted free agents! I hope Herrera does good he seems like a good guy and a hard worker

GreenBaySlackers
11-24-2005, 06:11 AM
he plays with major attitude! hererra is a mean mofo... he's great! :lol:

NordicNed
11-24-2005, 10:17 AM
I'll have to watch the guy more closely now, sounds like if he can put all that energy and toughness into proper play and consistency, he could be a starter for awhile..

Go Hererra........