Facing a Disruptive Beast

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 9, 2009 – 1:40 pm

The Vikings play an unfamiliar opponent to open the season on Sunday. In fact, the Vikings and Browns have met just twice since 1995 and only 13 times in their history. But Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress and his squad will see a familiar face lining up against them in Cleveland.

DT Shaun Rogers, who was a member of the Lions from 2001 to 2007 and is a 3-time Pro Bowler, is now with the Browns and has been just as disruptive for opposing AFC offenses as he was for the Vikings and the rest of the NFC. At 6-4, 350 pounds, Rogers would fit in quite well between the likes of Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. The problem for the Vikings is that he won’t be between the Williams Wall; he’ll be lining up against 1st-year starter John Sullivan.

During his press conference today, Childress acknowledged Rogers’ dominating presence on the Browns defense and said that even though he hasn’t played in the preseason this year, the Vikings still have their mind on the powerful DT.

“What we know is that obviously he can be a powerful man inside there and be very, very disruptive, particularly for a first-time starting center,” Childress said. “He knows, we know. [We] just have to be able to deal with it. I would say this: it’s a good thing to be able to block a guy like Pat Williams every day in practice. It’s not like we’re blocking a piece of paper in there every day for a guy like John Sullivan.”

Going against Rogers will be a new experience for Sullivan, who will take over for Matt Birk as the Vikings starter at center. But RG Anthony Herrera has played against Rogers and has recently watched film of the former Lion.

“He is still a dominant player,” Herrera declared with conviction. “What makes him a dominant player is his combination of size, speed and strength. The man is just a big beast. He hasn’t played this preseason because he’s had some injuries. But he’ll be ready for us. It’s the first game of the season, it’s the Vikings, a team he loves to play against. He’s going to be ready.”

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