Gaining The Extra Edge: CB Lito Sheppard

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 29, 2010 – 9:26 am

Last week’s entry introducing the “Gaining The Extra Edge” series generated 42 comments, an impressive number considering this is the slowest part of the NFL calendar. So before we get into Part 1 of the series, I wanted to thank everyone who submitted a comment and also encourage everyone to share comments and thoughts after each part of the series going forward.

I did briefly tally up your votes for who should be included in this series and the 2 top vote getters were RB Toby Gerhart and S Tyrell Johnson. You’ll have to check out the “Gaining The Extra Edge” series this week to see if either of those guys are included. Other top vote getters included DE Brian Robison, S Jamarca Sanford and S Madieu Williams.

Let’s get to it…#5 in our series of players who hold the key to the Vikings gaining the extra edge is CB Lito Sheppard. The Vikings acquired Sheppard the day before the 2010 NFL Draft via free agency and his addition to the roster immediately bolstered a CB corps that quite frankly needed some bolstering because of injuries.

Both starting CBs Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield enter the 2010 season coming off of significant injuries and it’s possible that Griffin may not be ready to go for Week 1. That’s where Sheppard comes in. A 9th year veteran who was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1st round of the 2002 draft, Sheppard clearly has the pedigree to step into the starting lineup if need be.

Sheppard, who stands at 5-10 and 194 pounds, is a 2-time Pro Bowler (2004, 2006) and was also an All-Pro selection in 2004. He has 284 tackles, 19 INTs and 2.0 sacks in 104 career games (70 starts). He’s also the 1st player in NFL history to register 2 INT returns of more than 100 yards, notching both returns against the Dallas Cowboys. That is very good production and numbers like that will help the Vikings pass defense improve again in 2010.

But there’s a reason a player with Sheppard’s skill set and past production was available this offseason. As you can see, 104 games in 8 complete seasons averages out to 13 games per year, indicating Sheppard has missed time due to injury. Sheppard has had 3 seasons cut short by injury and he’ll need to stay away from the injury bug to be a contributor for the Vikings in 2010.

In addition, Sheppard was traded by the Eagles to the NY Jets in February of 2009. After the Eagles signed free agent CB Asante Samuel in 2008, Sheppard saw his playing time reduced. Eventually he was shipped to the Jets for a 5th round pick in the 2009 draft and a conditional pick in the 2010 draft. The Jets released him following the 2009 season, which made him available to the Vikings.

All of that being said, it’s clear to me Sheppard’s union with the Vikings makes a ton of sense. He should be sufficiently motivated to play well and he joins a team with a need at CB. He also joins a team with a familiar coaching staff – both Head Coach Brad Childress and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier were with Sheppard in Philadelphia.

It all sets up nicely for Sheppard and the Vikings, which is why Lito is #5 on our list of players who will help the Vikings gain the extra edge in 2010.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 22 Comments »

22 Responses to “Gaining The Extra Edge: CB Lito Sheppard”

  1. By Pat the Viking on Jun 29, 2010 | Reply

    Nice pick for #5, Mike – In his 9 years, He has played against QBs in both the NFC & AFC and should be able to read and intercept the ball and return it for several TDs this season. I hoping he has at least 10 returns for TDs during the regular season and at least 10 TDs in the playoff and 4 TDs in the SB.

  2. By Lito on Jun 29, 2010 | Reply

    Lito Sheppard gives Vikes an extra edge indeed. The secondary needed help and players coming off injuries. Now, how about getting a 6’6″, 330 lbs offensive extra-edge offensive lineman to protect Bret and create holes on the right side. Why did Vikes sign a wide-receiver? Because of a height advantage at 6’4″?

  3. By The Pillager on Jun 29, 2010 | Reply

    Excellent pick for not only the reasons stated (Winfield/Griffen coming off injuries) but having a solid reserve and veteran experience on the sideline because we have some great young talent that could def. take advt. of some wise words. I do not expect even 2 ret. for TD but a cpl. of picks would be nice – on another note is there still some interest in Chester Pitts? Because the O-line (starters and reserves) has to be one of our extra edges – win it in the trenches baby!!!

  4. By John on Jun 29, 2010 | Reply

    He really should get us some more turnovers. Now if only we could do something with the safety position too….

  5. By marcus on Jun 29, 2010 | Reply

    chris cook can play FS if need he has the height and speed to do so! i think before it is said and done that will be his spot but he’ll go against bigger and faster WR if need call on?

  6. By Rogerthevikefan on Jun 29, 2010 | Reply

    Does any one know when the big man chester pitts will be ready for a work out or is it going to be after july 15th

  7. By Matt Berg on Jun 29, 2010 | Reply

    This was a great pick up to help us this seaon, Chris Cook will get to learn from 3 solid veterans (Winfield, Griffen, and Sheppard) which makes our biggest weakness on this team a strength. Tyrell Johnson should be improved from last season with the expierence he gained. Sheppard will get to play Nickel and Benny Sapp who I thought played awesome when filling in last year can play in dime situations. This unit will be better then people think. Toby Gerhart will be a beast on this team, I think Adrian will get to the 2000 mark this season and Toby will be the reason he will get to it. Chester Taylor was good but I believe Toby is gonna be better. This team better pick up an OG though soon because if they dont that could set us back and Chester Pitts is available and Rick Spielman if you are reading, get him because we need him to win a super bowl!

  8. By Dave on Jun 29, 2010 | Reply

    Mr Sheppard moved into our neighborhood a couple of weeks ago and we have already had the chance to meet him. We are excited to have him, professionally, as a Viking, and personality as a neighbor. He likes to joke around and very personable. Welcome to the Lofts, Lito ! Let’s get some golfing done !

  9. By carl k on Jun 29, 2010 | Reply

    I will give the #5 Lito Sheppard pick a thumbs up. The Vikings certainly need his leadership and big play ability early in the season. He doesn’t need to be an all-pro to help this team win… if he can give us “13” (his season average) solid games and flash some of his past productivity, then say Lito can help us gain that extra edge.

  10. By purplehorn on Jun 29, 2010 | Reply

    Lito was a great addition to the team. He plays very good run defense and man cover. When Cedric Griffen gets healthy, those two will push each other competing for that spot.

  11. By marcus on Jun 29, 2010 | Reply

    do you think the vikings go after G Shawn Andrews from the eagles? he can play the west coast offense style scheme! i think he can help open some holes for the run game?

  12. By Chris Keyser on Jun 29, 2010 | Reply

    This is for Pat the Viking… Are you nuts or just messing around? 10 TDs in the regular season and 10 in the playoffs along with 4 in the Superbowl? Thanks for the laugh either way.

  13. By Aaron on Jun 29, 2010 | Reply

    I have to admit, the Vikings do know how to get talented players that other teams have put out to pasture, and still manage to squeeze some life out of them. Look at CUnningham, Warren Moon, even old man Morten Anderson. I like that the VIkes are all about second chances, and i’m not saying Lito would not be playing football this season, just that other teams pass on this guy, and the Vikes seem to be able to work those vets into the system. Excited for the season to start!

  14. By Karl on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    Does anyone know if Sheppard has recovered from last year? I heard the reason he was a little slow (and was benched) was because he was bothered by a hip injury….or something like that.

  15. By Kaleb on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    Lito does add more depth the the corner position. But I’m worried about the safety position as well. O.J. Atogwe is a great safety and is available through free agency. I know he’s expensive but having a guy like O.J. in the secondary could mean the difference between the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl.

  16. By Rob on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    Lito will be a welcome addition to our defence. We have been in need of more veteran leadership, and more importantly Depth at CB for years. Lito’s a talented player. Hopefully he will help push Griffen to get back up to game speed faster, and compete at a higher level. He’s also another guy that can mentor Cook and help to mold his raw talent into a solid NFL player.
    Just another solid piece to the puzzle. Excellent free agent pick-up by the Vikes!

  17. By MGR4FUN on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    this was as good as any draft pick we could hav made … with a couple of corners on the mend the addition of this kind of experience is priceless … was not too very long ago this was considered one of the weaker spots on the team and now just may be one of the stronger with … depth / experience / youth and big time hitters … #29 will bring a been there mentality and he has always led by example … so will not hav to rush #23 in his rehab make sure he is 100% good to go … we got alot stronger with the acquisition of mr sheppard

  18. By Kbiz26 on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with Marcus completely. Chris Cook would be a great fit for the FS position. I say put him at free, move Madieu to strong, and cut Tyrell Johnson. I also heard that the vikings are interested in Sheldon Brown. If he is added to the roster, I would have to say that the VIkings would have one the best dime defenses in the league.

  19. By Leigh Tow on Jul 4, 2010 | Reply

    Lito is not as good as Griffin, but we just need him to hold down the fort for about 6 weeks while Griffin is on the PUP list. Gerhart is better than Taylor and has better hands, Taylor’s were overrated. Tyrell Johnson is not the problem at safety… it’s CLEARLY Madieu Williams. Watch a game and count how many times you hear his name called. Then count the number of big hits and pass deflections that Johnson has. Williams plays very tentatively. Kind of the anti-John Lynch.

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