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Vikings Hope To Send The People's Champion Out In Style

Sunday marks the end of a 13 year career for Jim Kleinsasser, People's Champion, and the Vikings want to send him out with a bang.

I'm not one to step on Chris' Fantasy Sleeper of the Week, but you might want to think about starting KSauce, because from the sound of it the Vikings are going to do everything they can to get him into the end zone, and get him a fair amount of touches.

In this lost season, one of the few guys that has performed at a consistently high level has been #40. He looks like he's the best tackle on the team, which is as much a compliment to him as it is an indictment on the regular tackles. He consistently seals off the edge or delivers a punishing lead block to spring Adrian Peterson or Toby Gerhart, and he's done it for 13 years. According to Pro Football Focus, he has been the best TE in the NFL over the last three years in pass blocking efficiency, and they've labeled him their 'Secret Superstar.'

Almost every game, without fail, Kleinsasser puts the smackdown on somebody and I look at my Dad and go 'ooooh, did you see that block'? My Dad smiles and says 'yeah, was that #40?' I smile and say 'yeah, that was him'. (My dad has a horrible time pronouncing names, so he gave up on Kleinsasser a long time ago. He just calls him '#40' or 'that kid from North Dakota').

My Dad and I hoot and holler like the VIkes just won the Super Bowl whenever he catches a pass--seriously, it's an event in the Glover household. If/when he scores against the Bears, I might accidentally knock a lamp over or something...if my Dad doesn't beat me to it.

What am I going to miss the most about Kleinsasser? Well, next season we are going to come to find how sorely the Vikings miss his ability to obliterate people, and I think it's going to be noticeable. I like Kyle Rudolph, and I think he's going to be a great TE for the Vikes, but if I could paraphase the late Lloyd Bentsen: Mr. Rudolph, I know Jim Kleinsasser's blocking. Jim Kleinsasser's blocking is a friend of mine. You can't block like Jim Kleinsasser.

Mostly, I'll miss Kleinsasser because he was just an awesome guy to root for. He took his job seriously, but never really seemed to take himself seriously, and seems to have a perspective about who he was, what his role was, and how to lead by example. It's a quality not found in a lot of athletes these days, and it's still appreciated by a lot of fans, this one included.

The Vikings are entering into uncertain waters this off season, and it kind of feels like the rudder is leaving.

And that bums me out.