Roster Full Of Options At Fullback

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 16, 2011 – 7:21 am

There are a lot of position battles going on within the Vikings roster and many of them have captured the attention of the media and fans. But one of the most competitive and unsettled position battles to date on the Vikings roster is one that hasn’t generated much conversation.

It’s the fullback (FB) position and the Vikings have a healthy competition for that spot on the roster. While in some respects the FB is a dying position on NFL rosters, the Vikings plan to carry a FB, or at least carry a player who can fulfill the role of a FB.

“The fullback position in our league has almost been eliminated,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier explained on Monday after practice. “There are some teams that don’t even carry a fullback anymore. But there’s a place for a fullback in our offense and we just have to identify the right guy.”

So who is the right guy? There are two FBs listed on the roster – Matt Asiata and Ryan D’Imperio. Asiata is an undrafted rookie free agent and he’s been a standout during camp, largely because he’s a nimble athlete who can make defenders miss and he’s also a more-than-capable receiver out of the backfield. D’Imperio was a seventh-round draft choice in 2010 whom the Vikings transitioned from college LB to NFL FB. He made the practice squad last year and is now looking to make the next step in his career and nail down a spot on the 53-man roster.

But Asiata and D’Imperio aren’t the only guys the Vikings are looking at to play FB.

“It’ll be more of a traditional role,” Frazier said of the Vikings FB position. “A guy who can run the lead play for us and help us with the power play and some things we’re doing. But we’d like to be able to utilize tight ends at time in that fullback role and we’ve got to identify the right guys for that. We know Jimmy Kleinsasser can do it; he’s done it before.”

Also in line for that type of role are TEs Jeff Dugan and Ed Barham. Dugan has been a constant on the Vikings roster since 2004 and has the kind of skill set and work ethic to be an NFL FB. Barham is another undrafted rookie free agent, but so far he’s proven to be more of a pass-catching threat in the offense. The same can be said, of course, for second-rounder Kyle Rudolph and another undrafted rookie free agent TE, Allen Reisner.

As you can see, the competition is thick at this position. The Vikings are looking for a player who can lead block and be physical, but also a player who is versatile and can be relied upon to line up in various spots in various formations. I’m guessing we’ll learn a little more about the Vikings search for the right FB onTuesday afternoon because offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave will meet with reporters after practice.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 56 Comments »

56 Responses to “Roster Full Of Options At Fullback”

  1. By Frederick Jones on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Perhaps D’Imperio should get a tryout at Linebacker!

  2. By vikings4life on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply


  3. By vikings4life on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    I think the vikings should just eliminate the fb position period, from what i’ve seen in the preseason a lot of pre snap motioning by tight ends lets hope they don’t create more penalties we all know in the past penalties of illegal motioning is something we need to fix also, I’m happy to see we didn’t have many penalties that’s a surprise.

  4. By vikings4life on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Why does this offense look identical to chilly bevell vanilla offense I see a lot of short routes that go nowhere its like were helping other teams with their time management lets wake up and score playing against packers, bears , lions we don’t have time to help them by just gaining 5-7 yards per pass play.

  5. By CP7FTW on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Throw it deep BABY!

  6. By Garrett on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    We have enough talented offensive options right now already. We do not need a FB to be an offensive weapon, we need a great blocker as the offensive line can’t do their job..they need some backup.

  7. By Frederick Jones on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    The Vikings will never put Kleinsasser at Guard or Tackle, but I would like to see it!!!

  8. By Frederick Jones on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply


  9. By vikings4life on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Cut asher, chris cook put sherals and burton to replace them, ballard should be the starter he seems to have that inside edge to eat up qb’s.

  10. By vikings4life on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    I think the first unit o line did fair, not up to par but I would keep that starting lineup degeare should start at right guard and that one new face and the left. I think with time they should gell if we keep moving lineman around they won’t gell so I say stick with the first unit lineup in the preseason. Maybe give love a shot also on the left or right side. Move kleinsasser to center.

  11. By Skol_Vikes98 on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    okay, can we stop ripping on Cook so much? I know he hasn’t been fantastic yet, but sheesh he’s a 2nd year player who spent most of his rookie season on IR with a knee injury. Can we at least give the kid 1 full season to see if we make something out of him?

  12. By Skol_Vikes98 on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Move Kleinsasser to center? Are you nuts Vikes4life? Sully isn’t a bad center, its just bad line play makes him look bad. I know Kleinsasser was moved to TE by Tice (or THAT coach), which was probably his only good move. But Jimmy is a great blocking TE and can still catch a bit, I doubt he could handel the play in and play out grind of the center spot. Plus, I don’t think he’s ever made a snap.

  13. By vikingrob22 on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    It’s good to see this year vikes have in camp 3 deep on OL and are working to sift the best 5 to the top..keep up the good work Frazier and Davidson!!!

  14. By Norseman on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    I have to say as a vike fan, I would take 5-7 yard pass plays all day long, as long as it was at least 67% completion…

  15. By xvike on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Do you want to go through a season of pulling out your hair every time the opposing team scores a touchdown because chris cook got beat? I sure don’t. LOL. I still want to keep my hair. But honestly, i really think that he will be picked on a lot just like last year. He has shown no improvement at all. He got beat, he couldn’t cover, and he couldn’t tackle. He’s like tyrell johnson. I don’t even know why johnson is still on the team. Same with asher allen. If the front four cannot put any pressure on the qb, this team is doomed. I also think the vikings blitzes are pathetic. Really they are. Might as well not blitz at all because one, whoever blitzes doesn’t know how to blitz, two, the secondary is already horrible enough, bringing the safety or a linebacker to blitz is not going to help, three, they just never work for this team. When the vikings blitz, after the play is over the other team is probably like, “wow, did they just blitz? Because it didn’t do anything..” I don’t think that its a coincidence that every team the vikings play against always do a spectacular job at picking up the blitz… If they are going to blitz, there’s only one person who should blitz and that’s winfield.

  16. By David P on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    I agree in giving young players a chance but with Cook I do not think it is about learning. His case is the lack of speed. I hate to point a finger but the boy is SLOW. And no matter how many reps you give someone, speed is not taught or learned. I would recommend cutting both he and Allen. When you get beat by a 295LB TE on a simple route it is time to get a new job.

  17. By David P on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Another thought, does the 2nd pince Bevell, TJack and Rice are there, I think it would be a hard bill to swallow if TJ and Rice burned the viking DB’s early and often. I hope it does not happen.

  18. By David P on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    My question was does the second preseason game mean anything? The message got scrambled for some reason.

  19. By xvike on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Why don’t they move cook to safety? He did play both safety and corner in college. He’s way too slow to be a corner in the NFL. I find it hard to believe that he ran a 4.46 at the combine… I know this has nothing to do with anything but his rating went up when i switched him to a safety in madden.. LOL maybe thats a sign?

  20. By Brad on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Allen Reisner is a BEAST! I was pumped when I heard we signed that guy! He’s a smart player with good hands and an outstanding blocker.

    Kliensasser and Dugan are both awefully long in the tooth. I’m a big fan of both players, but when a team has guys that are 10+ years in the league, it’s time to get younger at those positions. I’d be all for letting them retire to be replaced by younger and more agile guys like Ryan D’Imperio or Allen Reisner.

  21. By Don on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    needs to be cut safety johnson & asher allen..let cook play safety..let rookie safety play with starters next game..

  22. By skol patrol on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    jimmy kleinsasser neeeeds to be FB or at least get a chance. he is one of the best blocking tight ends in the nfl, (according to analysts) and needs to lead the way for peterson, gerhart and booker. even if theres someone who you think is better at fullback, you should still give kleinsasser a chance. come on, the guy chose football over farming, you gotta like a guy like that

  23. By Don on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Put’n him back at fullback would be nice because he can catch as well as block..and i still want to see are rookie TE with the starters

  24. By CA Norwegian on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Maybe teams with Vick and Webb style play do not need a FB. But I think the QBs are going to meet more blitzers without one. Cutting off of fast moving blocks is often how tailbacks will get free. I think they will make the right choice here. Unlike the free agent pool. Shoulda spent money on OL and DBs, let Ponder lead, with some Webbcat plays thrown in. 1st downs guys! Not bombs and punts.

  25. By CA Norwegian on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    It may me that SD looked ready to score on 1st team, in 1st game. It would have been nice if we could have found the zone with one of our QBs. Who cares if we win or loose a preseason game? Oh yes, Shawn. But, I care if we cannot execute any TD plays for an entire game, even if it is preseason. Hopefully, all this team development were doing will change that.

  26. By Frederick Jones on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    @CA Norwegian,

    The Titans only had 290 yards versus against the Vikings 248.

    Neither team played well.

  27. By Frederick Jones on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    @David P,

    The starters will play more in the second game, and play almost 1/2 of the third game. Something like that.

    I would think in the 4th game the starters would play no more than 1/2 of the game.

    I usually don’t watch the pre-season games. Since we have 4 new quarterbacks, it’s a little bit different this year. Then again, if I have to work, it won’t bother me that much to miss these pre-season “exhibition” games.

  28. By Frederick Jones on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    It is disappointing the Vikings didn’t look better versus the Tenn. Titans.

    I hope this was a wakeup call for Coach Frazier and the team ! ! !

  29. By Carl K on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply reports as of Aug 15th that the Vikings have only 380K in cap room. That is tight! No room to pick anyone up at this point if someone good becomes available.

  30. By Frederick Jones on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Trades are possible. ANYONE could be used to solve some of our weak spots.

  31. By Frederick Jones on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Philly Vike made a good comment: “How come we never heard anything about Mike Jenkins.”

    Did he even play in the last game? It seems as if a lot of players either did not play much, or didn’t play at all ! ! !

    That was not the Vikings best team out there !

  32. By Arrow86 on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    @Frederick Jones:

    We all would have loved to see a 56 point beat down on the Titans last Saturday night, but when I look and see A.P. ran the ball 1 time. Jared Allen (who has had his best camp yet) didn’t play, and other key weapons were used scarcely. I think the Viking coaches know which veterans will be in San Diego on September 11. Tennessee was the home team, and they needed to win that game to put some butts back in the seats. They parted ways with a popular player (Vince Young) a popular coach (Fischer) and their studd runningback CJ2K was holding out. I think the coaches used Saturday night to evaluate the new players added to the team, and veterans that they have concerns about. Isn’t it usually the 3rd pre-season game that the projected starters play the entire first half? Maybe I’m wrong. I think that will be more of an indication of what the Vikings will bring to the table in the 2011-2012 season.

  33. By Arrow86 on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    @Carl K:

    The information you found on the Vikings salary cap is important to know. I wouldn’t be suprised if the Vikings trade or release a veteran player at a position where they have great depth to clear space to pick up someone to shore up a weakness. What if Rudolph and Reisner prove they can both block and receive. Do we keep Kleinsasser and trade Schiancoe, or vice versa. I’m only speculating. The final cut usually has some qualty players around the league become available. Time will tell.

  34. By Arrow86 on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    It sounds like Asiata has had a great camp. Also, Kleinsasser, and Dugan can fill the role. What did the Vikes see in D’Imperio to switch him from linebacker to fullback? That project sounds as uninspiring as the T-pups betting the farm on Ricky Rubio. Who was the Viking receiver a few years back who couldn’t catch a ball, but the Vikes and Coach Green were high on his athletic ability, so they switched him to d-back? He wasn’t very good there either.

  35. By jv3rnon on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Lets just hope the o-line will hold up for McNabb and AP. Also, hopefully the DBs want get burned all year like last year. I think Taylor Mays would help us. Just give a draft pick like everybody else does.

  36. By kenny on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    I know he may be undersized for the position but why not move Winfild to safety with him and Addulah at safeties thwy will have 2 hard hitting crack Sfeties and they will provide alot of help with our DBs Winfield is not a shut down corner and never been 1 so moving him tp safety would prolong his carrer and leave him free to light WRS up! I wish we would had stocked up as much depth with DBs as we did with WRs

  37. By Daniel on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    I like reisner and asiata. Reisner is a big dude. I could have sworn it was Rudolph when I first saw him. Great size, and speed, and hands. Great pick up. If shank goes next year Reisner could move into rudolph`s spot and rudy to shanks. Shank will go though. I have a feeling. I still feel like the sassage needs to go. We can use that cap space. I know he is not a bad blocker at all. But the guy who is is Johnson. He has not the right size, or strength and is not fluid enough to take the LT possition. We should go out and pick up taylor mays (S), Jamal Brown (LT) and sign Peterson. All this could be done buy letting go of the Sassage.

  38. By Rocksalt on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    OK so winning may indeed not be a priority in preseason, but Hasselbeck and their RB moved down the field on us at will. Our Offense struggled to maintinan drives.
    Maybe y’all just think this is not important, but wait…….if haf-efforts continue into regular season, then we are in trouble.
    P.S. I still believe you go out there to play to win, not play to not show your opponents what you could do if you really tried to……..

  39. By DaVikis on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Chicago Bears Scare –
    BREAKING NEWS: Chicago Bears football practice was delayed two hours after a player reported finding an unknown white substance on the field. Coach Lovey Smith immediately suspended practice and police were called to investigate. After a complete expert analysis, it was determined that the white substance unknown to players was the GOAL LINE. Practice resumed after a special agent decided the team was unlikely to encounter the substance again..

  40. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Unfortunately, the Bears found the end zone last weekend……we couldn’t.

  41. By Titus on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Arrow– nice analysis. No doubt the Vikings will be a very good team this year. If people would do the research, they would see preseason is no indicator of regular season outcomes. None at all. If I were coaching, the last thing I would do is fight to win in preseason– I am not letting out all my cards– this is time for training and figuring the roster– not much else.

  42. By Titus on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    I better not see any of these negative nellies in my seat come February when I am watching my Vikes in the Superbowl in Indy.

  43. By sandiamond on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    lol titus… tickets on sale?

    could that be real kw over there?

  44. By Matt on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    put klein at FB!!!!!!!!!

  45. By Parody on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    LOL@ DaVikis – That was a great bit, but like Nova pointed out, it is more liklely to be representative of us at the current moment. However, that can all change quickly.

  46. By Parody on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Unless one of the young guys can really shine, I’d like to see Kleinsasser worked in at FB when needed. I was a big fan of his when he played the position early in his career, and with two TEs likely to get ahead of him on the depth chart, we need to find other ways to make use of the high salary blocking TE. Let’s get him back there to help pave a way for AP and keep the pocket clean for our QBs.

  47. By vikings4life on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Vikings never get creative when they blitz its always linebackers coming to the middle, there is no exotic blitzes so predictable when the vikings blitz there is only one style its linebackers coming through the middle and they suck at even getting to the qb, jake locker was feeling comfortable he knew the pressure was weak I’m sure he could of took a one minute nap without anyone touching him. This defense is so basic can they get more pressure and get to the qb. How pathetic is that you can’t even get close to a qb blitzing too much hesitation and slow reaction from defensive players.

  48. By vikings4life on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Cut allen and chris cook put in sherals and burton, no more giving asher chances he’s not even worth the wait anymore just let somebody step in. Allen will continue getting beat I don’t care if he shines from now until end of pre season he will get burned comes regular season.

  49. By Dome is "half full" on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    @XVike and Viking4life.

    I think our coordinator Pagac will probably blitz a lot more than Frazier did. Mayock during the 2nd half Saturday pointed out that Pagac called Antoine Winfield to blitz Vick 19 times in the Philly game last year. XVike, you’re right in your analysis of Antoine, that he is very good at coming off the corner without giving it away, and he doesn’t miss. Is our speed at linebacker a factor in our limited success with blitzing linebackers.

  50. By Dome is "half full" on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Is our speed at linebacker a factor in our limited success with our linebackers blitz’s? (Editing my error in the previous post.)

  51. By Frederick Jones on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply


    Your comment about it not being important to win pre-season games is right on.
    They should play hard and try to win, but it’s not a big factor in determining the outcome for the season.

    When Denny Green was here they won a lot of pre-season games by big margins. This was surprising to me because it seldom or never happened with Bud Grant.

    Either way, success is possible! (Wins or losses in the pre-season are NOT an indicator of regular season success.)

    Titus…how should the word “alot” be used? Does it have to be written as
    “a lot” sometimes?

  52. By CA Norwegian on Aug 17, 2011 | Reply

    @Frederick Jones
    OK. I think more highly of our D than most… Except the Db ??? marks. I expect us to make the other guys look feeble. I do think the 4th and shorts not happening is a reminder of last years Miami game. It is the pushers and not the stars that are making or breaking many of these defining moments. I have faith we will come around… Just how long? We will be good, but will we be good enough?

  53. By CA Norwegian on Aug 17, 2011 | Reply

    The Vikes of the earlyu 90s were my fantasy D. Lots of points were there.

  54. By Spinelli on Aug 17, 2011 | Reply

    The switch D’imperio made from linebacker to fullback was an easy one for him. He played the position of fullback in high school where he received all conference and state honors. He is one of the hardest workers on the field on any given day. He will make the team and lock down the #1 spot at fullback.

  55. By mike L on Aug 17, 2011 | Reply

    chris cook needs a position change to safety it worked for corey chavous when he got “slow” so its worth a try if hes not a starter at least add some depth to the position

  56. By Thomas A. on Aug 17, 2011 | Reply

    I really like the rookie Asiata from Utah! He looks like he could do very well in this league. I hope that he makes the team and gets some playing time to show what he can do! I also think that Kleinsasser is excellent at the full back position. I would like to see some full back sets shared between these two players. Skol Vikings I know we will have a great year!!!

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