The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

August 1, 2007

Shiancoe feels born again with Vikings

Former Giant takes over No. 1 tight end spot

MANKATO — Visanthe Shiancoe may be starting his fifth season in the NFL, but he says he feels like a rookie all over again.

The tight end, who signed as a free agent with the Vikings in the offseason, has been adjusting to a new home, a new team and a new role.

Shiancoe called it a “reincarnation.”

Like a rookie, he’s received some noticeable on-field tutoring from the coaching staff. That’s included one-on-one time with head coach Brad Childress, who took Shiancoe aside several times during the first couple of days of training camp.

The Vikings signed Shiancoe to be their No. 1 tight end, and Childress is trying to get the athletic 6-foot-4, 250-pound ex-Giant comfortable with his version of the West Coast offense.

“He is learning a foreign language,” Childress said. “He’s got skill and ability, and it’s just that we keep on adding volume every day.”

Shiancoe played four seasons in New York, where he backed up Pro Bowler Jeremy Shockey and had a total of just 35 catches and three touchdowns. He had a career-high 12 receptions last season.

Undoubtedly, he’s going to have a lot more balls headed his way this year.

“Basically, it just an adjustment process,” Shiancoe said. “It’s getting more comfortable with the offense. It’s a little different. ... It’s just like being a rookie again. There’s a little delay in the learning process.”

The same goes for those who follow the Vikings.

When Shiancoe signed a five-year, $18 million deal in March, it was met with a collective “Who’s that?” from fans.

The Morgan State product was a third-round draft pick of the Giants in 2002. As A rookie, he had 10 catches, including two for touchdowns. His only other touchdown catch came in 2004.

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