|Steady Longwell focused on strength down stretch|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 03 August 2008 07:46|
So Longwell was delighted on a sunny Saturday to talk a little bit about kicking. That is, after all, what he does for a living. Since he signed with the Vikings in 2006, most media attention Longwell has received has been related to Green Bay - a theme that has continued during training camp this week while Favre and the Packers resolve his un-retirement.
That's actually a testament to Longwell's success. He has been remarkably accurate in two years with the Vikings, making all 30 of his field-goal attempts from 45 yards or shorter. He made a couple of game-winners in 2006 and another in 2007, a career-long 55-yarder to beat Chicago, but beyond that his contributions have largely been unnoticed.
``Our goal is to stay under the radar,'' Longwell said, including long snapper Cullen Loeffler and holder Chris Kluwe in his analysis. ``If it's a spotlight thing, you want it to be for a game-winner or something like that. You don't want it to be for a mistake you make. The three of us thrive to be pretty quiet and not a lot to talk about, which means we're doing our job.''
One part of Longwell's game that has been substandard in the past is kickoffs. He changed his offseason strength and conditioning routine before last season and came back stronger. Longwell said he reaped the rewards from that in November and December; before, he had felt his leg fade down the stretch.
``I had power, which I hadn't had in previous years,'' Longwell said, proudly noting a pair of touchbacks in the season finale at Denver. ``I never usually have touchbacks in Week 17. I saw some good results from the workouts, so I definitely stuck to it.''
Longwell, who has three years remaining on his contract with Minnesota, has 1,243 points over 11 seasons. That's the fourth-highest total in the league during the span, behind Jason Elam, Adam Vinatieri and Matt Stover, but he has never made a Pro Bowl.
During Saturday night's practice, Longwell was in prime form. He went 6-for-6 during team drills, ranging from 26 to 51 yards. The Vikings want to keep him fresh for the regular season, and beyond. Steven Hauschka has taken some of the turns to take the load off.
``I think it's helping Ryan in his approach to this training camp,'' coach Brad Childress said. ``It's like hitting too many drivers on the driving range.''