SI Vault
 
SPOTLIGHT
Peter King
July 25, 2005
Nate Burleson
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
July 25, 2005

Spotlight

View CoverRead All Articles

Nate Burleson

The development of Nate Burleson, a third-round draft pick in 2003, is the main reason the Vikings felt confident in trading Randy Moss in the off-season. When Moss was slowed by ankle and hamstring injuries in '04, Burleson responded with six touchdown catches and two 100-yard games. Skeptics say that doesn't mean Burleson can fill the role of a bona fide No. 1 receiver, but that's not the point. He's the best wideout the Vikings have, which makes him a valuable commodity in an offense that likes to stretch the field. Plus he already has a strong bond with quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who often invites his receivers to his home for dinner; Burleson rarely misses a meal. Such off-the-field time can lead to great chemistry on game day. Combine that with Burleson's best traits--elusiveness, sure hands and an ability to find openings in the secondary--and a big year could be in the offing.

1