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Prepare To Be Moved To Tears, Folks

Just one more thing to toss onto the pile of disappointing crap from this season.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we may be witnessing the final three games of one of this site's favorite Vikings and the only player on the roster left from the Denny Green era.

According to Tom Pelissero of ESPN 1500, Jim Kleinsasser is giving indications that he might be done with football after this season

Kleinsasser was the Vikings' second-round pick (44th overall) in the 1999 NFL Draft out of the University of North Daokta. As I mentioned, he's the only player on the team that remains from the Denny Green era. . .and heck, he's one of the few that's left over from the Mike Tice era. This season, he has just one catch for four yards, and through his career has racked up 192 receptions for 1,688 yards and six touchdowns. His best year came in 2003, when he had 46 catches for 401 yards and four of those six career scores, but he's always been better known for his crushing ability as a run blocker than he has for his pass catching prowess.

Unfortunately, as sad as it might be, it makes sense for the man we refer to around here as The People's Champion to hang it up at this point. He's been fighting an elbow issue all season, to the point where he only played 10 snaps in this past Sunday's loss to the Detroit Lions. He's in the last year of his contract, and the Vikings are obviously going in a direction to get younger. Kleinsasser is quoted in the story as saying that there's no point in him uprooting his family for a year or two in order to go play somewhere else, so it sounds like it's either the Vikings or nothing.

I, personally. . .and probably selfishly. . .hope that we aren't watching #40's last three games these next few weeks. Even a youth movement needs something that resembles veteran leadership, and when Kleinsasser is healthy, he's still a force in the run game. If he's not playing for the Vikings any more, I would hope that Leslie Frazier could find room for him on the coaching staff. . .I'm sure he could give a pretty significant hand to folks like Kyle Rudolph and Allen Reisner going forward, particularly if Visanthe Shiancoe isn't back next season.

But, if this is the end, I expect we'll see him in the Vikings' Ring of Honor at some point. As somebody that has followed Jim Kleinsasser's career since high school when my dad was calling some of his games on the radio back in southeast North Dakota, I'm happy as hell that the guy has spent his entire career as a part of my favorite professional football team, and he's been a hell of a player to have around. It will be a sad day in Vikings' history when the man hangs it up.