Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Sid Hartman: Kleinsasser will retire from Vikings after season

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 23, 2011 - 8:52 AM

Jim Kleinsasser, a 13-year veteran with the Vikings, has decided to retire from the NFL after this season.

Kleinsasser, a second-round draft choice (44th overall) out of North Dakota in 1999, has been a starter since his rookie season and has been hailed by Vikings coaches as one of the best tight ends to play for the Purple.

"I think my wife has always been happy either way [if I play or not], but I think she is, along with myself, excited to move on to the next parts of our life," said the 34-year-old Kleinsasser, a native of Carrington, N.D., who is the father of two children, ages 2 and 4.

Kleinsasser, who will be a free agent at the end of this year, said that the Vikings had interest in him coming back and he isn't retiring because he can't play.

In fact, Vikings tight end coach Jimmie Johnson recently described Kleinsasser as "one of the best tight ends in the NFL."

"That kind of makes me feel good about that, I still feel like I can play," Kleinsasser said Thursday. "I'm walking away with two legs that work great and my head is still intact, so I think I feel good about leaving the game right now and just kind of moving on."

Asked what has been the highlight of his career, he said: "Oh, just coming in and hanging with the guys. I can't say there's one single game or play or anything. We've had some great years: '09 was a great year, 2000 was a great year, the NFC Championship games. But coming into work and just hanging out with the guys and sitting in meetings and just the camaraderie of a bunch of guys sweating and bleeding together for a common cause, I think that's one of my biggest memories."

The Vikings are going to miss Kleinsasser, not only because they are going to have a hard time replacing him but because he is one of the real leaders in that locker room and one real class act.

Cook will be back

It's pretty certain that the Vikings will bring back cornerback Chris Cook, who has been sidelined since getting arrested and subsequently charged for domestic assault in late October, once he works out his personal problems.

Because of a lack of depth at defensive back, don't be surprised to see veteran Cedric Griffin, who has not seen the field much either of the past two weeks, get some more playing time Saturday at Washington. But guard Steve Hutchinson won't play because of a concussion; until he landed on injured reserve late last season because of a thumb injury, he hadn't missed a game since 2002.

Shanahan's local ties

Joe Salem was named Gophers football coach in 1979. Mike Shanahan had been a running backs coach on Salem's staff at Northern Arizona in 1977 and then went to alma mater Eastern Illinois as offensive coordinator in 1978; that year, Eastern Illinois went 12-2 and won the Division II national title.

So Salem hired Shanahan, then 27, and let him install the run-and-shoot offense with the Gophers. Even though they finished 4-6-1 in 1979, they put on a show on offense and were outscored by only seven points on the season.

In fact, they were so impressive that then-Florida coach Charley Pell hired Shanahan after he had been on the Gophers staff for only one year. Florida was 0-10-1 in 1979, Pell's first year; the next four years with Shanahan as the offensive coordinator, the Gators went 8-4, 7-5, 8-4 and 9-2-1, going to a bowl game each season.

Shanahan then became a receivers coach for the Denver Broncos in 1984 before being promoted to offensive coordinator, a job he held for three years before getting his first head coaching job, with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1988.

"Mike was a graduate assistant on the Oklahoma staff at the time [I first hired him]," Salem said. "They were playing in the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix and I went down and interviewed him and hired him.

"You talk to him today, he hasn't changed any. He was sharp, he knew what he was doing, he was a good asset.

"He's the one that kind of went out, he went out and we ran the run-and-shoot that year and he's the one that went out and got all the information from Mouse Davis and put it all together. He's very good. I can't say enough good things about him."

Shanahan has been coach and executive vice president of the Redskins since January 2010. They went 6-10 last year and are 5-9 this season, but Salem believes that Shanahan can still make them into a winner.

"He told me, he said they were still three years away from being a good football team," Salem said. "That was his comment at the time [he was hired]. That's probably the timetable that he's on."


• Besides the six junior college football players who have signed with the Gophers and will register for classes in January and be available for spring practice and conditioning, two high school recruits also will start classes on campus next month: Quarterbacks Philip Nelson of Mankato West, who was named Associated Press Player of the Year, and Mitch Leidner of Lakeville South are both graduating early and starting college. They will officially sign in February.

• Eden Prairie football coach Mike Grant described Nick Davidson, son of Vikings offensive line coach Jeff, as one of the best players he has coached in 20 years. Nick Davidson has announced he is going to Stanford. His brother, A.J., is a freshman wide receiver who will likely play for Eden Prairie next year. Coincidentally, both brothers had surgery this year. ... Andrew Larson, Eden Prairie's two-time all-state running back who led the school to its seventh state title, has committed to Harvard. He ran for 4,084 yards in his career with 52 touchdowns.

• Three former Gophers have signed with NFL teams the past couple of weeks. The Chargers signed linebacker Nate Triplett to their active roster Dec. 7. In addition, fullback Jon Hoese signed with the Packers practice squad, and the Patriots practice squad added defensive lineman Cedric McKinley on Tuesday. Hoese, who has been working on the family farm, joined the Packers before last weekend's game.

• Among the players the Vikings released this year now with other teams are tackle Bryant McKinnie with the Ravens, offensive lineman Ryan Cook with the Dolphins, linebacker Heath Farwell with the Seahawks, defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy with the Giants, safety Madieu Williams with the 49ers, receiver Jaymar Johnson with the Cardinals and cornerback Tony Carter with the Broncos.

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. •

  • related content

  • Video: SidCast: A special holiday show

    Tuesday February 14, 2012

    Sid talks about the Timberwolves and how David Kahn is doing a better job than he thought he would....

  • Mankato, MN 8/2/99 - The first day of Vikings training camp in Mankato...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Kansas City 7:25 PM
NY Jets 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 11/23/14 12:00 PM
New England
Green Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/23/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis 11/23/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Miami 11/23/14 3:25 PM
Washington 11/23/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
Dallas 11/23/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
LA Clippers 7:00 PM
Chicago 9:30 PM
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay 6:30 PM
St. Louis 6:30 PM
Nashville 6:30 PM
Detroit 7:00 PM
Arizona 7:30 PM
Washington 8:00 PM
Chicago 8:00 PM
Anaheim 9:00 PM
Carolina 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Florida 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas A&M 53 FINAL
Dayton 55
Akron 66
Coll of Charleston 57 FINAL
Connecticut 65
Drexel 46 FINAL
Miami-Florida 66
New Mexico 26 1st Half 2:17
Boston College 34
Penn State 16 1st Half 9:23
Charlotte 24
Detroit 5:00 PM
Eckerd 6:00 PM
VU of Lynchburg 6:00 PM
East Carolina
Texas 6:00 PM
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
NC State
Navy 6:00 PM
Grambling St 6:00 PM
UMass Lowell 6:00 PM
Sacred Heart
Keystone 6:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Niagara 6:00 PM
Saint Peters
Palm Beach Atlantic 6:00 PM
Texas Southern 6:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
SUNY-Westbury 6:00 PM
Bluefield (VA) 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Bob Jones Univ 6:00 PM
USC Upstate
New Hampshire 6:00 PM
Fordham 6:30 PM
Howard 6:30 PM
Cornell 6:30 PM
South Carolina
Champions Bapt 6:30 PM
UT Martin
George Mason 6:30 PM
West Virginia
South Florida 7:00 PM
UC Davis 7:00 PM
Eastern Ill
Fla Atlantic 7:00 PM
SMU 7:00 PM
Franklin Pierce 7:00 PM
Southern U 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Brescia 7:00 PM
Murray State
North Florida 7:00 PM
Winthrop 7:00 PM
Savannah State
Fisk 7:00 PM
Tennessee St
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Miss Valley St 7:00 PM
Bucknell 7:00 PM
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
Morgan State 7:30 PM
Northern Iowa
Southern Miss 8:00 PM
Loyola Marymount 8:00 PM
Arizona State
Syracuse 8:00 PM
Idaho 8:00 PM
Northern Ill
Lipscomb 8:00 PM
Texas-Arlington 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Fresno State 9:00 PM
Northern Ariz
Pacific Union 9:00 PM
Denver 9:00 PM
St Marys-CA
CS-Bakersfield 9:30 PM
San Diego St
Nicholls 10:00 PM
Bowling Green 20 FINAL
Toledo 27
Kent State 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
(12) Kansas State 6:00 PM
West Virginia
North Carolina 6:30 PM
(25) Duke
Arkansas State 8:30 PM
Texas State
Kent State 11/21/14 12:00 PM
Texas-El Paso 11/21/14 7:00 PM
Air Force 11/21/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
San Jose St 11/21/14 8:30 PM
Utah State
Char Southern 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(9) Georgia
South Alabama 11/22/14 11:00 AM
So Carolina
Rutgers 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(10) Michigan State
Minnesota 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(21) Nebraska
Northwestern 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(18) Marshall 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Kansas 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(23) Oklahoma
Indiana 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Penn State 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(14) Eastern Ky 11/22/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
SMU 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech 11/22/14 11:30 AM
Wake Forest
Washington St 11/22/14 12:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Louisiana Tech 11/22/14 12:00 PM
Old Dominion
Western Mich 11/22/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich
New Mexico 11/22/14 12:30 PM
(22) Colorado State
Eastern Mich 11/22/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Appalachian St 11/22/14 1:00 PM
Tulsa 11/22/14 2:00 PM
(15) Arizona 11/22/14 2:30 PM
(20) Utah
FIU 11/22/14 2:30 PM
North Texas
(8) Ole Miss 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Louisville 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Notre Dame
Maryland 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Iowa State
(14) Wisconsin 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Syracuse 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Boston College 11/22/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Georgia State 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Tulane 11/22/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Stanford 11/22/14 3:00 PM
Western Carolina 11/22/14 3:00 PM
(2) Alabama
ULM 11/22/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
So Florida 11/22/14 3:00 PM
Colorado 11/22/14 3:30 PM
(3) Oregon
Fla Atlantic 11/22/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Samford 11/22/14 6:00 PM
(16) Auburn
Miami-Florida 11/22/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt 11/22/14 6:30 PM
(4) Miss State
(19) Missouri 11/22/14 6:30 PM
Oklahoma State 11/22/14 6:30 PM
(6) Baylor
(24) USC 11/22/14 7:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Cincinnati 11/22/14 7:00 PM
Boise State 11/22/14 9:15 PM
Oregon State 11/22/14 9:30 PM
Fresno State 11/22/14 9:30 PM
UNLV 11/22/14 10:00 PM
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(5) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Montreal 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 11/23/14 3:30 PM
Webber International 41 FINAL
Florida A&M 52
San Jose St 33 1st Half 1:06
UC-Riverside 43
Norfolk State 22 1st Half 2:56
Radford 26
Washington Adventist 4:30 PM
Morgan State
VA Commonwealth 5:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Southern U 5:00 PM
Ole Miss
Monmouth 6:00 PM
Long Island
Bethune-Cookman 6:00 PM
St Thomas (TX) 6:00 PM
Incarnate Word
Boston U 6:00 PM
Boston College
Clemson 6:00 PM
(2) South Carolina
(7) Duke 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Belmont 6:00 PM
(12) Louisville
Fla Gulf Coast 6:00 PM
Florida 6:00 PM
St Johns
Philander Smith 6:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Tougaloo 6:00 PM
James Madison 6:00 PM
American Univ
Alabama State 6:00 PM
Savannah State
Virginia 6:00 PM
Murray State 6:00 PM
Wright State
Providence 6:00 PM
Holy Cross 6:00 PM
Valparaiso 6:00 PM
Northern Ill
Detroit 6:00 PM
Ohio U
St Bonaventure 6:00 PM
Mary Washington 6:00 PM
Michigan 6:00 PM
Davidson 6:00 PM
Longwood 6:00 PM
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
(17) West Virginia 7:00 PM
Miss State
Western Ill 7:00 PM
Chicago State
Albany 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Drake 7:00 PM
Concordia-Austin 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Memphis 7:00 PM
Arkansas 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
LSU-Alexandria 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Vanderbilt 7:00 PM
Utah 7:05 PM
Weber State 8:00 PM
Air Force
(10) Texas 8:00 PM
(6) Stanford
Utah Valley U 8:00 PM
Utah State
New Mexico St 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
South Dakota 9:00 PM
Santa Clara 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



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 NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
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




question of the day

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

Weekly Question