Vikings Back Up Centers

by on August 27, 2004

in Football,Sports,Vikings

The importance of depth at center became apparent to the Vikings during the Falcons game when, with Matt Birk already out with an injury, Cory Withrow suffered a concussion on the first play of the game, forcing third-string center Billy Conaty into the game. As the Strib‘s Kevin Seifert points out in his piece today, the Vikings didn’t miss a beat with Conaty manning the line.

Seifert goes on to report what a pleasant surprise Conaty has been to Tice and the other coaches and says that the center could become a nice piece of trade bait, possibly commanding a conditional late-round draft pick.

Or, maybe, a back-up corner? That’d be nice.

But how ’bout this scenario that, surprisingly, Seifert didn’t broach?

Seifert reports that Conaty is also a long-snapper. In the article, he says that Tice could keep as many as 10 lineman, but carrying three centers is luxury few teams can afford. Tice has complained about incumbent long-snapper Brody Lilliard, whom he says has a hitch in his snap. And, in order to spur Lilliard to fix his hitch, he brought in Cullen Loeffler to compete with Lilliard.

Well, if you’ve got a guy who so far has cost you nothing, who’s proven to be a quick study in picking up the offense, who’s proven himself capable of handling the duties of a center during much of a preseason game, and who is a long-snapper, why not have Conaty compete for the long-snapper position?!? If he wins the job, you’ve got your long-snapper (minus the hitch) and you’ve got an emergency center you can feel confident about. And you’ve got an extra roster spot to boot!

Is it just me, or is that a no-brainer?

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