The 2010 season was not a typical one for any player in the Vikings locker room, but just imagine what it was like for the team’s rookies. Although they’ve been playing football for most of their lives, first-year players come into NFL locker rooms unsure of what to expect.
But even the most veteran players couldn’t have prepared or expected what happened to the Vikings in 2010, from a disappointing 6-10 record to all of the weather-induced adversity the team faced in the final month. Through it all, though, Vikings rookie G Chris DeGeare seems to have come out of it well and no worse for the ware. In fact, I think he’s gotten a lot better and there seems to be a place for him in the Vikings future.
“I definitely learned a lot. It was crazy; a lot of stuff went on,” DeGeare said on Monday as he packed up his locker. “The veterans told me it’s not typically like this every year and I believe them. I’ve just to keep improving and come back next year to be a better player.”
DeGeare was a 5th-round pick of the Vikings last April and did a nice job integrating into the Vikings system through offseason workouts and training camp. In fact I came away from training camp encouraged by his progress and hopeful he would be an important part of the offensive line rotation. But a high ankle sprain derailed him early in the regular season and he had to work hard to get back into form.
He accomplished that task and was a key cog in the offensive line late in the season. I’ve been told by people who would know that DeGeare was solid in relief of injured LG Steve Hutchinson and that he was sometimes the best Vikings player on the field.
“I got hurt early on this season with a high ankle sprain,” DeGeare explained. “But I did have a great training camp and I was just happy I was able to contribute. I’m happy to chip in and showcase my talent.”
DeGeare played both guard and tackle at Wake Forest University, giving him valuable experience in multiple positions and also equipping him with a mindset to be a versatile offensive lineman in the NFL. Also working in DeGeare’s favor is the fact that he plays behind and learns from a guy like Steve Hutchinson, who has been to 7 Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl.
“The man has so much knowledge and so much experience,” DeGeare said. “He’s a future Hall of Famer and really anything he says to me I take with all seriousness and take it into account. I’m truly blessed to be playing behind a guy like that and being able to have the type of relationship that I do have with him.”
All-in-all, it was a solid season for DeGeare after he was sidelined early with injury. It was encouraging to see him perform well in the offseason program and at training camp, but it was promising to watch him perform on the field in the regular season. It looks like the Vikings may have found a sneaky little prospect in the 5th round.
Tags: Chris DeGeare, Steve Hutchinson
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