Teams Are Ignoring Kleinsasser?

Nam HuynhContributor IDecember 27, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 09:  Tight end Jimmy Kleinsasseri #40 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up for the game with the Green Bay Packers on November 9, 2008 at the Metrodome in Mineapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings won 28-27.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Teams playing against the Minnesota Vikings are doing well stopping running back Adrian Peterson because they are not assigning a defensive player on tight end Jimmy Kleinsasser when he is on the field, according to an NFL scout.

After watching most of the Vikings' games, the scout said teams generally don't view Kleinsasser as a legitimate passing threat, and instead of lining up a linebacker in charge of covering the tight end, the extra defensive player is used in stopping the run. To add even more pressure to the offensive running game, defenses are still lining up eight in the box, including the extra player not covering Kleinsasser.

So in a way, the offensive line has a lot more on their plate. The scout said the Vikings' coaching staff likely knows this, but have not done much about it.

The Vikings did start last Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers by targeting and completing two short passes to Kleinsasser early. Although the game plan could have been to complete some passes to Kleinsasser to get some more looks on tape for future defenses to look at, the scout said it could have been a coincidence.

Although Kleinsasser is perhaps one of the best blocking tight ends in the game, teams have realized that Kleinsasser is not much of a target down the field. Despite playing in every game this season, the 32-year-old has six catches for 31 yards — and it includes the two catches in last week's game.

In the past three seasons, Kleinsasser hasn't caught more than seven passes in a season.

Nam Huynh writes for the Minnesota Sports Zone (http://www.mn-sz.com)