Gaining The Extra Edge: K Ryan Longwell

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 6, 2010 – 12:19 pm

#5 – CB Lito Sheppard
#4 – WR Bernard Berrian
#3 – CB Antoine Winfield
#2 – K Ryan Longwell

After a brief reprieve over the 4th of July holiday weekend, our “Gaining The Extra Edge” series continues today, as we identify 5 players (not including obvious stars such as Jared Allen or Brett Favre) who hold the key to the Vikings gaining the extra edge in 2010. We’ve tagged a pair of CBs and a WR so far, but #2 on the list is a special teams ace – K Ryan Longwell.

Longwell’s clutch and reliable kicking has been both comforting and key for the Vikings during their back-to-back division championship run in 2008 and 2009 and those traits have also made Longwell’s signing via free agency one of the best transactions during Head Coach Brad Childress’ tenure with the club. It was Longwell’s game-winning 50-yard FG against the NY Giants in Week 17 of the 2008 season that clinched a division title and then a career-best season from #8 was vital to the 2009 division title.

Speaking of game-winners and 50-yard FGs, they have been specialties of Longwell’s career. The 14-year veteran ranks 2nd in team history with 7 game-winning FGs and has 16 career game-winners. He also holds the Vikings career record with 9 FGs of 50+ yards.

Longwell enters the 2010 season coming off a career year in 2009 where he posted a career-best 132 points and moved to 15th in NFL history with 1,502 career points. He connected on 26 of 28 (92.9%) FG tries – the highest mark of his career – and was named Vikings Special Teams MVP in a vote by his teammates. In a display of his remarkable consistency, Longwell had a streak of 16 straight FGs made from a Week 5 game at St. Louis to a Week 14 game vs. Cincinnati.

In 2010 Longwell should be even more zeroed in on his FG kicking game because the Vikings acquired Rhys Lloyd to handle kickoff duties, allowing #8 to hone in on FGs and PATs. Longwell’s ability to come through in both routine and clutch situations gives the Vikings offense a license to be aggressive in the opponent’s territory.

In what will likely be a tight division race in a competitive NFC, Longwell’s clutch and reliable kicking will be vital and will give the Vikings that extra edge in 2010.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 18 Comments »

18 Responses to “Gaining The Extra Edge: K Ryan Longwell”

  1. By Rogerthevikefan on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    Best kicker we have ever had

  2. By Bigfan1 on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    Ryan is a great kicker and the addition of Lloyd to get it into the end zone every kick will help special teams tremendously.

  3. By Will Joyce on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    Ryan is a very confident kicker. He is very talented at field goals and extra points, holding the key to winning games. I would say that he has been one of the best kickers we have ever had and probably one of the best kickers in the NFL too. I have confidence in him too. Good luck in the 2010 NFL Season Ryan! Same to all of you Vikings Fans! (Like Me) When Madden 11 comes out I will definetly keep all of you on the team!

  4. By Carl K on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    Mike, this pick shouldn’t count. He is already a star!
    He is the Packers all time leading scorer! Over the last 2 seasons for the Vikings he has made all 8 of his attempts of 50 yards or more. How can he score more than 132 points and improve on his 92.9 field goal percentage from last year?? He consistantly plays like a pro bowl kicker. If Rice, Harvey, Favre, Allen, Williams are exempt from this list based on last years performance… so should Longwell. IT DOESN”T GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT! Great Year Ryan.

  5. By Johnny Johnson on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    Why did you have to put something about our kicker?? Don’t you remember 98? Now it looks like we will have to wait another year for a superbowl.

  6. By Rogerthevikefan on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    Please no flash backs. Worse 8th birthday ever

  7. By Skol_Vikings on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    Gary Anderson was the man until it mattered the most :/

  8. By Pat the Viking on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    My pick would be even Moats or Gerhart – replacement for Taylor.

    I can see why Mike went with Longwell here, he’s thinking there going to be some very close Games and Ryan will be called on in the final few seconds to get the WIN !

  9. By Carl K on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    Coach Childress, Rick Spielman, Scott Studwell, George Paton and all the scouts do great job each year drafting talented players. Adrian Peterson, Percey Harvin, Chad Greenway, Cedric Griffen, Ray Edwards, Sidney Rice, and Phil Loadholt are just a few of the great young players over the last 5 years we have drafted. Mike, are you telling us that none of the draft class of 2010 will make much of an impact for the Vikings this years? All your picks so far are established stars in the NFL. Will we have a new face that makes that big step into NFL stardom like Rice and Harvin did last year?

  10. By Tom on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    Longwell should not be on this list, how could he improve?

  11. By PurplePeopleEater on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    I must agree with many on here in the confusion of this selection, and the others. It seems as if we were misinformed of the intent of the Gaining the Extra Edge columns. The intro to this set of blogs specifically said we were looking for guys like Ray Edwards and Sidney Rice, who broke loose in 2009 and make a name for themselves. But every selection so far is already pretty well known across the NFL. There’s no question that the injuries of Berrian and Winfield made them lose a step or two in 2009, but most would argue that both will unquestionably return to their elite status at the beginning of the season and only have to maintain the edge that they already have.

    I’ve been looking at these blogs for new stars to be added to the team, and the closest one that has been presented was Lito Sheppard simply because he is new to the team. Since his mention, it has seemed to me that the selections have been more and more obvious current stars that have little more to prove. At the current pace I’d be surprised if we didn’t see Bryant McKinnie show up as the #1, indicating that he’ll have “gained the Extra Edge” by not getting steam rolled by Peppers at the Chicago games.

  12. By Rogerthevikefan on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    Robison should be on the list he is good and with more play time probly better then edwards. Asher allen, chris cook, and benny sapp will need to play well at least one will step up as the nickle.

  13. By Leigh Tow on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    Longwell pretty much IS God. i would let him make love to my son or daughter, assuming they were of legal age at the time. i do not currently have a son or daughter. But anyway, I don’t know how you could have a more reliable kicker. I don’t think it’s even possible. which is why i’im afraid of a Longwell shank-fest, VIKINGS STYLE! we haven’t had a kicker choke like that in a little over a decade, so maybe we’re due for that again. god forbid we actually win the super bowl when it’s clear we’re the best team. 1998, 2009…

  14. By WTF on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    So far we have 2 Pro-Bowl cornerbacks and 2 guys who have performed good enough to be pro-bowl selections in the past couple years….how do we expect them to improve? EVERYBODY KNOWS WHO THESE GUYS ARE! Peterson has more room for improvement than Longwell, (fumbilitis, pass blocking, etc) so why is he nullified from consideration??? Longwell has been said to have had the best season of his career in 2009! In terms of passer rating among other things Favre had his best season too! Why can’t we expect him to step it up a notch? Please tell us, what is it that makes these guys qualify for the list so much more than guys who truly have room, (and potential) for improvement?

  15. By WTF on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    BTW – Longwell is angry that the kickoff duties have been robbed from him. He personally attributed a lot of his success to the fact that he can get a feel for the field and weather during initial kickoffs. Don’t be surprised if he is the first guy to LOSE that extra edge…

  16. By Pat the Viking on Jul 7, 2010 | Reply

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see any of our draft picks starting like Harvin or Phil Loadholt (I like these guys, they’re gonna be better this year too) did and making an impact like they did for us last year. I NOT saying that some won’t make the ROSTER – but Most of these guys are in training for the future years, hopefully.

    Gerhart, Cook and Shuler most likely will see some playing time during the season. There is still alot of FACTORS to consider, they may even start.

    Be sure to make time to go or watch the first 2 Pre-Season Games this year.

  17. By GOLDVIKE on Jul 13, 2010 | Reply


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