Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe came to play and say what may be farewell to Minnesota Vikings fans while signing autographs Wednesday at the grand reopening of the Menards in Golden Valley. Shiancoe gave each autograph-seeker a special memory. "I like to take my time and give a lot of personal attention, to show my appreciation," Shiancoe told me while he signed a hammer, a leather jacket, a purse, a bear, a pink hoodie -- whatever the fans brought forth. By special request he wrote "Game used" on a pair of gloves he had thrown to a fan after a game, before signing the mitt. The only item he refused to sign was a Bible.
The only time the uncommonly playful Shiancoe approached seriousness was when asked about the NFL injury bounty scandal that has tainted the New Orleans Saints' 2010 Super Bowl win. There seemed to be something Shank wanted to get off his chest about Darren Sharper, who landed with the Super Bowl-winning Saints after leaving the Vikings.
"Sharper went low on me, twice. Went at my knees twice. Look, and that's my boy, too," said Shiancoe, then asking: "He's going to do that to his boy?" Pointing while looking directly into my video lens, Shank added: "Sharp, that ain't right. That ain't right, Sharp."
Sharper should consider himself lucky that he's now retired from the sinner Saints. Twitter's @sharper42, who did not respond to my tweeted request for a comment, doesn't have to worry about Shiancoe stressing a point on the field of play, the way Visanthe did with Packer Clay Matthews last Nov. 14. A photo of the incident shows Matthews lying on his back on the ground and Shiancoe on top, his jaw locked in a determined expression. Although an ABC News photo caption suggested Shiancoe was having "some fun" with Matthews, Shiancoe characterized the action in a different way while signing the photo for a fan. "A point being proven," he said defiantly while holding up the picture for all to assay.
Q So, are you headed to the Seahawks for a reunion with former Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson?
A We don't know yet. I'm not sure yet. I can't spill no beans.
Q General thoughts on the NFL injury bounty scandal?
A It's hard to take. It's hard to get here in the first place. So if they are trying to do that for real, that would be bad.
Q Is trying to injure other NFL players more heinous than betting on the game?
A Yeah, yeah, exactly. If they are willingly trying to hurt, that's a whole different story. Nobody really knows the truth except the Saints.
Q Should Saints coach Sean Payton be allowed to work as an NFL analyst while serving his year suspension from the NFL?
A [The question is] did Sean Payton know about it? He's taking [the one-year suspension] because he's the head coach. It went on under him. You don't know if he knew truly about that bounty. (After my interview with Shiancoe, it was reported that Payton is appealing the suspension, which includes the loss of his $7 million salary, and the NFL is expected to expedite the hearing process.)
Q If you're coach of the Jets, whom do you start: Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow?
A I've got to see him [Tebow] in the system first, Star Tribune!
Q When was the last time you did a household repair?
A Last week. Had to fix the sink. Oh yeah, I do all that, too. Those drips can get on your nerves. You go down there and you fix them.
Q What do your names mean?
A First name is Asian and Indian; it means "Second Son." [Last name] is African.
Q What grade were you in when you learned to spell your names?
A I think I was like in 12th grade. [Laughter]
Q I need to see those bedroom eyes you showed off in that photo for Sister 2 Sister magazine's "Date Night" interview with you.
A [Laughter] Which one? You've got to explain it to me. (I did and he said:) Naw, I don't remember that.
Q Have you, peripatetic Twitterer, ever tweeted from the porcelain throne?
A The toilet? I probably have.
C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS and firstname.lastname@example.org. Her questioning ways can also be viewed on Fox 9's "Buzz," which airs Thursday mornings and late nights on Friday and Saturday.