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

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland - WP: J. Tomlin 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: S. Downs 2
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales 13
Los Angeles - LP: J. Wright 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 3
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: Y. Herrera 2
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 3rd Qtr 10:44
(3) Oregon 41
(25) Washington 17 3rd Qtr 6:59
Hawaii 13
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
San Jose 1
Portland 3 FINAL
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
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 Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
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 many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close