Dear Visanthe Shiancoe
Let me be the first to congratulate you on your trip to the Pro Bowl in February 2010. You deserved (or rather, will deserve) it!
I will admit that I was one of the fans that was hard on you early in your Vikings career. In fact, I remember sitting in the Metrodome for week 3 of the 2008 season. You had just dropped a pass in the first half from new starting QB Gus Frerotte against the Carolina Panthers, and I was contemplating the article I was going to write in this blog about how the Vikings need to bench you in favor for more playing time for Mills and Kleinsasser.
Then in the second half you made a big catch… for a TD if I recall, and I decided “Okay, I’m going to give him another week. But next time he has a bad game, I’m writing the article.”
To be completely honest, I was sure, in all of my football knowledge, that that article was going to come the next week.
In fact, it didn’t come at all. Why? Because you didn’t have any bad games. You never showed traces again of being, what my oh-so-humble football mind considered a “bad, unreliable tight end”. In fact, you went the completely opposite direction, and you became a GREAT tight end. You became the kind of player that was incredibly reliable. Anything thrown in your direction was caught. You could get tough yards after the catch. You were the dream teammate for any quarterback. The ultimate insurance policy.
Well, now you have a great quarterback to throw to you. No offense intended toward Tarvaris Jackson, Gus Frerotte, Sage Rosenfels, or any other quarterback who has or might have thrown you the ball, but for the first time in your time with the Minnesota Vikings, you have a quarterback who other teams are going to have to respect. A quarterback who has the ability to spread the ball around, to go deep, and to hurt other teams through the air. You have a quarterback who has never thrown less than 3,000 yards as a starter… something that the Vikings haven’t seen since 2004 (before you were in Minnesota). And you have great wide receivers and great running backs that are going to take a lot of attention from the teams that you’re playing against. I have a hunch that when teams have to consider defending against Adrian Peterson at the same time they have to watch Brett Favre and make sure they’re covering Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin, and Sidney Rice that sometimes they’re going to (very very foolishly) underestimate you. I have a hunch that you are going to face coverage that is inadequate to stop you. I have a hunch you’re going to take advantage of that. I have a hunch that you’re going to become a favorite target of Mr. Favre.
You’re going to have a big year this year. It’s going to be very plain for NFL fans to see that you’re a premiere tight end in the National Football League. Because of guys like Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor, Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin, and Sidney Rice, you are going to be an absolute nightmare for teams to play against. Those teams won’t be able to give you the defensive attention that you deserve, and I have no doubt you’ll make them pay for that.
I was completely, totally, and utterly wrong in my assessment of your football skills, and I’ve never been happier about being wrong in my life!
So again, congratulations on your trip to the Pro Bowl. You deserve it!
The Jazzy One – Jason Hannah