Hartman: Denny Green predicted Fitzgerald's future

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 18, 2012 - 11:46 AM

The ex-Minnesota coach said the Cardinals receiver, then a Vikings ball boy, would turn out to be an All-Pro.

hide

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald

Photo: Paul Connors, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Denny Green was a pretty good judge of talent when he coached the Vikings to a 97-62 record during his 10 years as the Vikings coach.

And Denny could even judge the future talent of ball boys, as he proved one day when I was standing near him in Mankato. A 15-year-old ball boy named Larry Fitzgerald had made one of several great catches while working with some of the quarterbacks, and Green said, "That kid will be an All-Pro some day."

Well it turned out that after Fitzgerald starred at Holy Angels and at the University of Pittsburgh, Green was the head coach of the Cardinals, the Vikings' foe Sunday, when Fitzgerald entered the draft in 2004. So Green drafted Fitzgerald with the No. 3 overall pick and he has become that All-Pro receiver, just as was predicted.

According to Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, Fitzgerald is the best receiver in the NFL, and the Vikings will have trouble containing him Sunday.

Frazier said what makes Fitzgerald great is "his size, his determination, how athletic he is, he has good speed. He is so determined to catch the ball and believes that nobody can cover him. He's a good athlete.

"The all-time greats, he's right up there with them. He's already begun to set a ton of records as a wide receiver. I'm sure when his career is over he'll be recognized as one of the greatest receivers to ever play the game, if not the greatest."

The Vikings coach said Fitzgerald has the whole package -- good speed, great power, quickness.

"Everyone pretty much double-covers him," said Frazier. "There are times when you try to single him up but most of the time you're going to be doubling him.

"He's arguably the best wide receiver in the National Football League, and we have to do a good job of containing him. He's a great player."

Fitzgerald has remained a startling consistent receiver despite the fact that Arizona hasn't had a steady starting quarterback since Kurt Warner retired following the 2009 season. From 2008-2011 Fitzgerald played in all 16 games each season, gaining more than 1,000 yards receiving each year -- including his second-highest total of his career last season when he had 1,411 yards -- while grabbing 39 touchdowns.

He's had that great consistency despite the fact that in 2010 and 2011 the Cardinals featured four different starting quarterbacks, with no one starting more than nine games in a season.

This year hasn't been much different. John Skelton was the starter to open the season, but then hurt his ankle in the season opener. Kevin Kolb, who was acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles to be the starter in 2011, took over but then injured his ribs last week and Skelton came back in. Skelton will start Sunday.

Meanwhile Fitzgerald remains productive with 36 receptions for 430 yards -- both team highs -- and has scored three touchdowns.

Fitzgerald comes from an athletic family. His father, Larry, played football at the University of Toledo and is involved in the media here. Larry's brother Marcus was an outstanding player at Marshall University.

And Larry's mother, Carol, was something special, and she died much too early from complications due to breast cancer, and the foundation which bears her name is one of the best.

Deal was in the works

New Mexico State Athletic Director McKinley Boston confirmed that New Mexico State and the Gophers agreed to a home-and-home series, with the first game at New Mexico State in 2013 and at Minnesota in 2014. Boston confirmed the news that appeared in my Sunday column, along with the fact that the Gophers had scheduled future home games with South Dakota University and Fresno State. Under an arrangement made months ago, New Mexico State and the Gophers will exchange $200,000 checks as a part of the payment with neither school getting an edge. Meanwhile North Carolina, who the Gophers paid $800,000 to get out of the home-and-home series with them, has scheduled Old Dominion to replace the Gophers in their home game next year.

Jottings

• Former Gopher great Eric Decker has a good sense of humor. Decker was on the ESPN postgame show following Monday Night Football after Peyton Manning and the Broncos overcame a 24-0 deficit to beat the Chargers 35-24. Decker caught six passes for 98 yards and a touchdown in that game. He also stumbled after being all alone for what looked like a sure touchdown catch in the second quarter. He took it in good humor though, after the game on Twitter he joked: "If ya'll didn't see, they had trip wire out there tonight. I reported it to the NFL so an investigation is pending."

• The coach of the New Mexico State Aggies is former Gopher defensive back Dwayne Walker, who coached his team to 28-21 victory over the Gophers last year. New Mexico State is 1-5 this year.

• Gopher offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover was talking about how good a football player MarQueis Gray is and how much he is missed when injured. "He brings a lot to the table and I know speaking briefly with Jerry Brown, who is the secondary coach at Northwestern and a guy I have known for 25 years, he just shakes his head because I think that MarQueis is a headache guy for defenses because of the different things he can do. When he's in there it's definitely a different dynamic on our offense.''

• When the NL West champion San Francisco Giants acquired outfielder Hunter Pence, they sent outfielder Nate Schierholtz and two minor leaguers to Philadelphia in return. One of those minor leaguers was former Gophers pitcher Seth Rosin, who went 2-2 with a 4.08 ERA in 37 games at Class A between the Giants and Phillies organizations this year. Rosin, 23, was a fourth-round pick of the Giants in 2010. The Twins drafted him in the 28th round out of Mounds View High School in 2007, but he didn't sign.

• The Giants had two former Twins pitch for them this season. Besides lefthanded reliever Jose Mijares, whom they claimed off waivers from Kansas City on Aug. 6 and has seen a lot of action this postseason, they also had righthander Eric Hacker, who made two appearances for the Twins in April 2011 and pitched in four games for San Francisco this season, including one start in April because of a rainout. That was one of only two starts all season for the Giants by someone outside of their regular rotation.

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

  • related content

  • Vikings are best when Harvin is raising havoc

    Thursday October 18, 2012

    He's been tough, he's been productive and he's the spark that ignites the offense.

  • Week 7 scouting report: Arizona Cardinals

    Wednesday October 17, 2012

    game 7VIKINGSVS. ARIZONANoon SundayMall of America FieldTV: Ch. 9 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)Line: Vikings by 6ABOUT ARIZONARECORD: 4-2• The Cardinals lost at...

  • Vikings turn to espionage

    Wednesday October 17, 2012

    Backup cornerback A.J. Jefferson has been a popular fella among the coaching staff at Winter Park this week.

  • Week 7 three-and-out

    Wednesday October 17, 2012

    1. Larry Fitzgerald can't seem to find continuity with a quarterback.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 4th Qtr 0:02
Cleveland 94
Washington 95 4th Qtr 1:47
Miami 95
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 80 4th Qtr 8:26
Memphis 72
Portland 69 4th Qtr
San Antonio 74
LA Clippers 29 2nd Qtr 5:58
Denver 44
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 3rd Prd 7:08
Ottawa 5
NY Islanders 2 3rd Prd 4:07
Detroit 1
Boston 1 3rd Prd
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 0 2nd Prd
Calgary 0
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
NC A&T 57 FINAL
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 54 2nd Half 3:00
Middle Tennessee 63
Seattle 46 2nd Half 7:50
Minnesota 79
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 46 2nd Half 0:35
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 51 2nd Half 1:58
Southern Ill 50
TX-Pan American 27 2nd Half
Creighton 39
Colorado State 34 2nd Half
Denver 37
Alabama A&M 20 2nd Half
Marquette 40
Ark-Pine Bluff 26 1st Half 1:45
Texas Tech 32
Eastern Wash 9:00 PM
California
Idaho State 9:05 PM
Utah State
Arizona 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 10:59 PM
Chaminade
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 71 FINAL
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
NJIT 62 FINAL
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Miami-Florida 46 2nd Half 9:50
Tulane 50
Bowling Green 58 2nd Half 0:52
Illinois State 52
Arkansas State 78 2nd Half 0:01
Missouri State 62
ULM 42 2nd Half 0:58
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 28 2nd Half
Southern Ill 30
Pacific 9:00 PM
New Mexico St
No Dakota State 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Utah State 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Bethesda (CA) 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah Valley U 9:00 PM
Montana
LSU 9:30 PM
UC Santa Barbara
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 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 NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Christian Ponder ever be a full-time starter in the NFL?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close