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A Reclamation Project

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Can a player like T.J. Clemmings regain his confidence and become a productive player?

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Jacksonville Jaguars
T.J. Clemmings had a rough 2016, can he be salvaged and made into a productive offensive lineman for the Vikings?
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

T.J. Clemmings

“I won’t say he sucks, but he inhales deeply.” – Anonymous

After last season, many of the woes and deficiencies of the offense could be attributed directly to the anything but stellar play by the offensive line. One contributor who earned many nicknames and was cursed at almost on a weekly basis by fans watching the game, was T.J. Clemmings. Due to the many injuries that occurred, TJ played a little bit at right tackle but ended up mostly at left tackle and was absolutely horrid. PFF had him ranked near the bottom of all tackles in the NFL. We all saw that, but I still think there is hope.

TJ was drafted from Pitt, and I for one was looking forward to his development as a future bookend on the right side of the line. Remember this writeup here at SB Nation?

“This guy T.J. Clemmings, a right tackle from Pittsburgh, fits that bill. He is an offensive tackle, but I swear he had the kind of on-field demeanor you would usually associate with a defensive tackle. Turns out that made sense because he started off his career at Pitt on the defensive side of the ball. As a matter of fact, he is also a former basketball player which explains his high level of athleticism in space.” – Stephen White, SB Nation, 24 Apr 2015.

We all like the fact that he was big, athletic, but especially that he had attitude, so what happened?

Just looking at is penalty stats, you can see that there is a big difference between when he played the right side in 2015 versus the left in 2016.

Clemmings line stats

Is this because of comfort levels, or the fact that he lost all of this confidence? Or, is Tony Sparano not as good an offensive line coach as we think?

With a hat tip to Adam Patrick who had a TVA exclusive interview with Todd Steussie, and the second part of the interview they discussed T.J. Clemmings. Adam had asked whether it’s too late to save him and Todd’s response was dead on.

“No, I don’t ever think it’s too late, (especially) If you’re willing and you’re not somehow, broken or damaged goods. (25-years-old) is far from too late.”

It was reported that Todd even offered to mentor TJ, and help build his confidence. I really do hope that Clemmings takes him up on that as soon as we hit the dead time between OTA’s and training camp. Mentorship from former players, especially ones that were very successful, can be a very good thing. I think we’d all like to see TJ become much better, because we know that the Vikings are still sitting one injury away from him starting. We do not wish to see a repeat of last season, we want success. I believe in the TJ reclamation project. Do you?

Luft Krigare

Speaking of reclamation projects, I’d like to introduce myself. I've been writing for many years and started when the Vikings blogosphere was in its infant stages and we were talking on chat boards. Ted Glover was actually the one that encouraged me to start seriously writing on the topic we loved back in the early 2000’s, so you can blame him. Over the years, I wrote for places such as Vikings Board, my own individual blog called Luft’s Locker Room, as a fan writer for the Sporting News, lead writer for VikingsValhalla.com, and even the Daily Norseman in earlier years in the fan post section. Life then got way too busy and I was having too much fun in the desert to devote the time needed. I was still connected however, and since 2014, I could be found a at Viking Fanalysts, a private Facebook group. I am presently in retirement mode and devote most of my day to following Vikings news and tweets from various sources, listening to KFAN or 1500 ESPN, most of the Vikings podcasts out there, and interacting with fans. It is a year-round “obsession”, and what I enjoy.

As for writing style, I try to write pieces in a family friendly manner that will spur discussion and thought. I like debate over a subject that is backed up with sound reasoning and evidence and will tend to generate visuals of charts and graphs, as well as images to illustrate the topic at hand. I can sometimes play devil’s advocate just to get people thinking and spur discussion. Some of you have read some of my stuff over the years and know I'd like to be quite reasonable, not too much of a soured old curmudgeon, and not too drunk on the purple Kool-Aid when discussing the Vikes. I also look to take the reader sometimes down to a field level of how the game is played, talking about simple techniques when dealing with players’ performances, the helmet on helmet part of the game. As a third-generation football player and coach, I try to bring some of that psychology to the readers.

I am extremely grateful to join such a fine team of contributors here the Daily Norseman and look forward to great discussion over the team we all love. As always, SKOL!

Dave, a.k.a. Luft Krigare