Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Happy trails to ex-Viking Visanthe Shiancoe

It took some time, but Visanthe Shiancoe has found gainful employment in the NFL.

And he's found it with the New England Patriots, who have signed him to a one-year deal worth $1.2 million (he made $3.1 million in base salary last year). But for now he's only guaranteed $400,000. The rest will come in incentives.

At first blush this doesn't seem like a great place for Shiancoe to be. Patriot tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez caught 169 passes for a total of 2,896 yards and 26 touchdowns between them last season. How is Shiancoe – who started for five years in Minnesota – going to get any snaps playing with those two?

It's a good question. But one factor that probably influenced Shiancoe's decision to sign with New England was he didn't have many other options. So rather than stay unemployed, what's so bad about being the third-string tight end on last year's Super Bowl runner-up?

And the move might work out swimmingly for Shiancoe. Here are few reasons why:

  1. Tom Brady: The chance to catch passes from a guy who completed 65 per cent of his throws and tossed for over 5,200 yards last year should be good for anyone with two legs and a heartbeat.
  2. Aaron Hernandez is a tight end in name only:  Listed at 6'1 and 245 pounds, Hernandez doesn't do much blocking. He's more like a very large slot receiver. It's quite possible the Patriots could employ lots of looks with Hernandez, Gronkowski and Shiancoe on the field at the same time.
  3. The Patriots throw a lot: New England threw the ball 612 times in 2011. That doesn't figure to change in 2012 with Stevan Ridley likely the Pats #1 running option. So Tom Brady's going to chuck it, and if Shiancoe is playing at all, there will be opportunities for him to catch it.
  4. Matchups: Gronkowski, Hernandez, Wes Welker and Deion Branch are a formidable foursome for opposing defenses. It's to hard to cover them all, and Brady will throw to the guy that's open. If Shiancoe has anything left in the tank at 32 – and he should, he barely played his first four seasons with the Giants – he should prosper playing with players who will command much more attention than Michael Jenkins, Kyle Rudolph and Devin Aromashodu did last year for the Vikings.
Anyway, I see Shiancoe catching 35 passes for 400 yards and three touchdowns for New England in 2012. Maybe he can even pick up a Super Bowl ring and make up for the one that got away in 2009.

E.J. Henderson
As for other ex-Vikings on the unemployment line, a season-ending injury to Atlanta Falcons middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu didn't get E.J. Henderson's phone ringing. The Falcons signed Mike Peterson to compete with Akeem Dent for the MLB spot instead. I really wonder if Henderson's career might be over. No one seems interested in him.

3 comments:

  1. Deion Branch? Do you think he'll out-produce Brandon Lloyd?

    Anyway, good for Shank. Hope he has fun out there in NE.

    Poor EJ. Hope he's got a lot of $ saved up.

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  2. To be honest, I had forgotten about Lloyd (the Pats signed Jabar Gaffney, too). But Lloyd's a wildcard - a talented wildcard, but a wildcard nonetheless. He could catch 80 passes. He could flame out and catch 20. I guess Shank isn't guaranteed a roster spot, either. The Pats have invested very little in him.

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  3. Yeah, I see Lloyd as more of a 65 catch guy, but he could end up with a lot of yards as a high YPC kind of guy. 7 or 8 TDs? Hard to say.

    Kinda wish MN had kept Visanthe, skipped Carlson, and signed a decent LB in free agency with that money, but what do I know, right?

    Hey PV - what's tomorrow's theme team? The Sunset (of their careers) Team? Missed Playoffs Last Year Team? Over-Drafted Last Year Team?

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