Hartman: WR Jenkins might be pleasant surprise

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 25, 2011 - 9:14 PM

 Vikings wide receiver coach George Stewart knows him well from their Falcons days, and he expects big things.

hide

New Vikings wide receiver Michael Jenkins (right)

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The geniuses who analyze NFL teams report that one of the many weaknesses of the 2011 Vikings is at receiver, a notion the team's outstanding wide receivers coach, George Stewart, disagrees with 100 percent.

One reason some experts have that opinion is because of the loss of Sidney Rice, who had one great season in 2009 for the Vikings with 83 catches and eight touchdowns, but he left via free agency to sign with the Seattle Seahawks for a five-year, $43 million deal (with $18.5 million guaranteed), a price Vikings owners weren't going to come close to matching.

One reason Stewart is high on his group of receivers is the presence of Michael Jenkins, who Stewart was instrumental in drafting out of Ohio State when he was on the Atlanta Falcons staff in 2004.

"I drafted Michael Jenkins. He's a blessing in disguise," Stewart said. "He comes here, he brings leadership, he brings veteran experience, he's able to catch the ball, he's able to stretch the field, he's a great run-blocker. All those things combined into one. We're glad to have Michael Jenkins here."

The 6-4 wide receiver had 276 receptions, 3,512 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns for the Falcons over seven seasons.

After the Falcons drafted wide receiver Julio Jones with the sixth overall pick in April's NFL draft, Jenkins became available to the Vikings as a free agent. The Falcons' decision to not keep Jenkins was mostly because of cap reasons, but Stewart is all the happier for it.

"We have Percy Harvin, we have Bernard Berrian, so we needed a guy like Michael Jenkins to have a chance to be successful," Stewart said.

"Our scouting department and [vice president of player personnel] Rick Spielman have done a great job of providing us with depth," Stewart said. "You talk about a Juaquin Iglesias, Devon Aromashodu, Manny Arceneaux, Jaymar Johnson, Greg Camarillo ... we have some guys competing for that last spot on our roster that are good football players. So hopefully the way this thing will shake out, hopefully we end up with two good football players."

As for Rice, Stewart said: "Sidney was hurt and the injuries that he had were legitimate injuries. He had a knee, he had an ankle, he had a hip, legitimate injuries, they were not tic-tac injuries and those can happen to anyone. He was snakebit, so to speak. He did have a great year [in 2009], and I wish him well in Seattle."

One ability Rice had was to get open deep and catch the long ball. The big question is whether any of the current Vikings receivers can replace Rice in that regard.

Shortell produces

One thing Jerry Kill and his Gophers football staff can thank former coach Tim Brewster and his coaches for is recruiting freshman Max Shortell, who was ranked the 21st-best quarterback in the country and the fifth-best football player in the state of Kansas by Rivals.com.

To date Shortell, who is the second-team quarterback behind MarQueis Gray, has lived up to all of his recruiting buildup.

"First of all, it's hard to recruit 6-6, and he's 225 pounds and he moves much better than I thought he would, to be honest with you," Kill said the other day. "He's been able to handle the heat of competition and that's in him all the time, too, because I want to find out if he can handle it and handle the pressure.

"It's hard to learn quarterback. And if his steps don't go the right way, the wrong way or whatever, he's hearing about it. And he's handled it well. He studies the game, he works hard at it, and again he's got 'want to.'

"And if you take a kid who has 'want to' and wants to put the extra time in at quarterback, you better put the extra time in. If he wants to do it, he can do it. I think his arm is a little bit tired. We've thrown a ton of balls now, a ton of balls, but I've been pleased with his progress to this point."

Shortell must be pretty good because Michigan, with great scouting reports on him, tried hard to get him to change his mind and become a Wolverine.

Fortunately, he enrolled in summer school and kept his commitment to the Gophers despite pressure from Ann Arbor.

Jottings

• The Baltimore Orioles had won 18 road games coming into their series with the Twins this week, then won four in a row at Target Field. Their pitching staff had a 5.03 ERA on the road but posted a 1.00 ERA against the Twins, allowing only four runs in four games. The last time the Orioles swept a four-game series was against the Texas Rangers on July 8-11, 2010.

• According to the Los Angeles Times, Timberwolves basketball star Kevin Love has turned to volleyball and recently played some in the Manhattan Beach Open, a pro tournament that is dubbed the Wimbledon of sand. He lost his first match in straight sets. But Love was quoted as saying that playing volleyball is "addicting" and wants to try it again. ... Love, whose four-year, $14.8 million contract ends after this season, hasn't forgotten basketball and is working out daily with the Bulls' Derrick Rose and the Thunder's Russell Westbrook in os Angeles.

• Former Gophers kicker Rhys Lloyd, who was with the Vikings and Charlotte last season, is now with the Giants. ... Former St. Cloud State and Vikings quarterback Todd Bouman, who has been in and out of the NFL, is now back with Jacksonville.

• Twins 2010 first-round draft pick Alex Wimmers is working his way back for the Class A Fort Myers Miracle after the righthander had terrible control issues at the start of the season. He made his first start in more than four months Aug. 16 when he pitched four innings giving up one run on two hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Wimmers also had his most impressive outing Aug. 6, when he recorded his first victory by pitching four innings of relief, striking out six while walking none.

• Former Gophers wide receiver Arland Bruce was named the Canadian Football League offensive player of the week this week. Bruce is playing for the B.C. Lions and caught nine passes for 129 yards with two touchdowns in their victory over Edmonton last week.

• Jay Cutler liked what he saw in former Gophers running back Marion Barber III's second preseason debut for the Chicago Bears on Monday night. Speaking to ESPNChicago.com, Cutler said of Barber: "Downhill guy. Makes great cuts. I think he's got real good vision inside the tackle box. I think we need to incorporate him a little bit more, probably." Barber rushed 13 times for 49 yards.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - R. Hernandez 12:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront
Detroit - M. Scherzer 12:05 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Philadelphia - J. Williams 3:05 PM
Oakland - D. Pomeranz
Toronto - M. Stroman 3:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Capuano
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
Colorado - E. Butler
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 14 1st Qtr 4:16
Rice 7
Troy 0 1st Qtr 2:32
(13) Georgia 21
Georgia Tech 3 2nd Qtr
Virginia Tech 3
Eastern Mich 0 1st Qtr 0:17
(11) Michigan State 28
Iowa 7 2nd Qtr 12:30
Pittsburgh 7
Bowling Green 7 1st Qtr 2:12
(19) Wisconsin 14
Maryland 0 1st Qtr 11:37
Syracuse 3
Tulane 0 1st Qtr 11:54
Duke 7
Hawaii 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close