When I asked Minnesota Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe what we are going to see this year that is different from him last year, the sixth-year veteran responded with the words, “Intensity and grind!” The tight end does not lack intensity or grind, he hits the gym regularly and takes care of his body.
We do expect him to emphasize those words even more this season.
Shiancoe had a break out year in 2008, hauling in 42 passes for a career-high 596 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns. With the inevitable signing of quarterback Brett Favre, Shiancoe is poised to have an even bigger season.
The third-year Viking collected career numbers, despite catching from two different quarterbacks. Shiancoe caught passes from quarterback Tarvaris Jackson for the first two games, but had to adjust to quarterback Gus Frerotte when Jackson was benched.
But then the tight end had to adjust back to Jackson when the quarterbacks swapped again in week 14.
The signing of Favre gives the Vikings stability at the quarterback position. Despite having a quarterback that is 39-years old and coming off of surgery, this is the same quarterback that leads the league in consecutive games played. All reports are saying Favre’s shoulder is 100% healed and back to full strength.
When tight end Bubba Franks played with Favre in Green Bay all of those years, the tight end got many looks, even catching a career-high 54 receptions in 2002 from the future hall-of-famer. Just this past season with the Jets, Favre completed 48 passes to rookie tight end Dustin Keller for 535 yards.
At 29, Shiancoe is still young and in his prime. His “intensity” and “grind” is going to make this offense that much better. Luckily, he won’t have to do it on his own. If anything, his teammates will make the passing lanes wider for the tight end.
The addition of receiver Percy Harvin, the continued success of receiver Bernard Berrian, and a healthy receiver Sidney Rice will help spread the field and push defenders back. Oh, not to mention a guy that most defenders will keep an eye on, running back Adrian Peterson.
Throughout Favre’s career, he utilizes his tight ends very well and very often. Keep an eye out for No. 81.
Fantasy Note: Keep an eye on Shiancoe in your draft leagues. He flew under the radar last season and his value is on the rise, especially when the Vikings pair him up with Favre.
Nam Huynh writes for Minnesota Sports Zone (http://www.mn-sz.com)