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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Dec 26, 2011

Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the vikings.com Mailbag! Every Monday during the offseason we’ll post several comments and/or questions as part of the vikings.com Monday Morning Mailbag feature. Although we can’t post every comment or question, we will reply to every question submitted.

To submit a comment or question to the mailbag, send an email to Mike Wobschall at wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net. Remember to include your name and town on the email.

 

I'm sure you'll be flooded with Joe Webb vs. Christian Ponder e-mails, but these are my observations. I have learned over the years that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. The Webb-led Vikings beat the favored Eagles with an upset win on the road last year. He darn near did it against the Lions last Sunday, too. Webb has had the benefit of learning, listening, and watching alongside Brett Favre last season. Webb has shown that he can come into the game off the bench and move the chains and score touchdowns.  He is unbelievably athletic and gives defenses absolute fits. The fact that Ponder has already missed games due to injury during his rookie season raises questions about durability. It's commonly known once a person has been concussed, he will be more susceptible to future concussions. Some guys in the Vikings organization have to swallow their pride over selecting Ponder and name Webb as the starter, not only for the Bears game, but for the 2012 season.  Webb not only gives the Vikings the best chance to win short-term, but long-term, too. To keep Webb on the sidelines holding the clipboard is waste of his gifted abilities.
-- Terry L.
Campbell, CA

There’s no denying that Webb has shown flashes of brilliance while playing quarterback over the past two seasons. His ability to step into a game and raise the level of play around him while also making sensational plays himself is a valuable commodity. That is precisely what you expect out of your starting quarterback and it’s also something a team looks for in its backup quarterback. Keep in mind, though, it’s one thing to enter a game mid-stride – when the defense has three quarters of wear and has not prepared for you – and play well. It’s quite another to start the game at quarterback and have the same kind of success for 60 minutes when the defense is fully prepared to defend you.

Webb has a place on this team, not only now but in the future as well. I’m glad he’s on this roster and I believe it would behoove the Vikings to find more ways to utilize his talents in 2012. But I don’t agree with Terry that the team should name him the starting quarterback for 2012 when we’re still not done with the 2011 season and we haven’t given Ponder the chance to develop over his first real NFL offseason. As Terry pointed out, Webb has had some great performances versus the Eagles in 2010 and against the Lions and Redskins in 2011. But just as Ponder has struggled at times, Webb has had times of struggle also. I’m not saying Webb can’t be the starting quarterback for the Vikings long-term. Rather, I’m saying it’s too early to give up on Ponder, and if Webb is to be the starting quarterback he’ll have to continue to play well and earn that role over the offseason and throughout training camp and the preseason in 2012.

When the season is already defunct, and a win or loss will make absolutely no difference on it whatsoever but holds great impact on the future, I can't help but think we made a tactical error by winning on Saturday. The best quarterback prospect in 30 years was dropped right in our laps and we found a way to lose it. If not Andrew Luck, we could have at least traded that #1 pick for quite a cache of talent that we need. Do you think this was ever considered?
-- Dares Olson
Burleson, TX

There is never an error in winning and I can assure you that laying down and losing intentionally was never considered by the Vikings. It’s a despicable idea, and to say that a win or a loss “will make absolutely no difference” on the season is a statement of ignorance. In the NFL, jobs are on the line each week, whether it be the 53rd guy on the roster, a member of the coaching staff or a member of the scouting department. Coaches and players are evaluated on their individual performances and on wins, not on the ability to secure the #1 pick. The coaches and players on the Vikings right now aren’t concerned about which players will be available in next year’s draft, nor should they be. Winning is the most important result, and everything else after that will take care of itself.

Hey Mike,
With Adrian Peterson’s injury, will this affect his play? We’ve seen Cedric Griffin have two similar injuries, and he’s not the same player as before. The reason I ask is that Peterson does a lot more than a cornerback; he has to juke and stop in a second and push off. Will this injury affect his career and will he be the same Peterson? Or will he start taking it slower now being injured twice in two months. Thanks, and Merry Christmas
-- Jeremy
St. Louis Park, MN

This is the question I’ve been asking myself constantly for the last two days, and it’s a question I’m sure has gone through the mind of Adrian Peterson and many others within the organization. I certainly don’t know enough about Peterson’s injury to even begin to speculate about his future. I’m sure we’ll begin to learn more about the injury and his prognosis once Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier addresses the issue at his press conference on Monday and once Peterson has the necessary procedure done on his knee and begins the rehabilitations process.

All I know is that Peterson is one of the hardest-working and most fit players I’ve ever been around, and that tells me he’ll do everything required – and more – to return from this injury and make it back to the field. For his entire career, Peterson has used his physical ability and unmatched drive and determination to do things on the football field that were unimaginable. Now he’ll use that same physical ability and determination to rehab the injury and get back to being himself.

I just want to give a quick shout-out to my man Jimmy Kleinsasser. My local newspaper had an article about how he plans to retire after this season. He has always been my favorite Viking for a couple of reasons. One, he’s representing my state of North Dakota. Two, he is a rare type of NFL player. Jimmy has been here for years (his entire career actually, which is incredibly rare itself). He has gone in each and every day and done his job efficiently and quietly. Do we ever hear articles about Jimmy crying to the media about a bad contract or committing any crimes? No, he is a respectable and hard-working man who deserves much more credit than he gets. Nearly every big run that our favorite #28 gets, Jimmy is right there sealing the edge making the play what it is. All in all, I’m going to miss him and fully believe the NFL could use more players like him.
-- Zach Raknerud
Northwood, ND

I couldn’t agree more with Zach. Kleinsasser has been one of my favorite Vikings ever since I began working for the team and he’s someone I will truly miss. He added value to the organization as one of the NFL’s great blocking tight ends, and he also added value to the organization with his charity off the field and leadership within Winter Park. Here are a few more impressive notes on Kleinsasser…
-- Paved the way for seven of the eight top single-season rushing marks in Vikings history.
-- Ranks second in team history for starts by a tight end with 128.
-- Played under four different head coaches and on five teams that made the playoffs.
-- Has not missed a game since 2005.
-- Is the longest-tenured pro athlete with their team in the Twin Cities.

Hello Mike,
I once wrote to the Monday Morning Mailbag about two weeks ago after we lost to Detroit, and I want to commend you on the rational, logical answer you gave to my question. It’s always good to have a section like this that can alleviate all the Vikings fans’ anger, frustration and sadness while at the same time giving hope for the future. Watching the Vikings beat the Redskins made me realize one thing – we may have bad times, but the Vikings NEVER give up on the team or the fans. With us having three wins now, where does that put us in terms of the 2012 draft and who might be an option the Vikings could look to? I also noticed that Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave has started getting more creative with the plays being called. Was this something we could have explored initially in the season?

My prayers go to Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder. At the same time, I am so happy to see Joe Webb and Toby Gerhart play their hearts out. I love the Vikings so much and I want to use this opportunity to tell the Vikings fans around the nation this: Our team plays every week for us, we all know it. Let us never abandon them. Congratulations to the entire team on this win and SKOL VIKINGS!

Sincerely,
Goutham R.
West Lafayette, IN

Thanks for the kind words, Goutham, and thanks for being a loyal reader of the Monday Morning Mailbag. The Mailbag is important to me because it gives the fans a chance to direct the content that we post on vikings.com, and the purpose of vikings.com is to bring fans the kind of Vikings information that they desire.

I agree with and appreciate your sentiment about the Vikings and their competitive spirit. This team has been out of playoff contention for a long time now, but they have not quit competing. I think that’s a good sign about the character and heart of this team, and I think it’s a good sign for the 2012 seasons because obviously this is a locker room that contains players that care and want to improve. Obviously improvements need to be made to have a better 2012 season, but the first step in making those improvements is to care about your craft. There are a lot of players on this team that take pride in what they do, and that leads me to believe this team will be much improved in 2012.

As for draft positioning, the Vikings are currently in the #3 spot, with Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams ahead of them with 2-13 records. Three teams – Cleveland, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay – are sitting one win ahead of the Vikings. It’s too early to start speculating seriously about whom the Vikings may select with that pick. We’ll get into that much more once the season ends and once the deadline for declaring entry into the draft passes.

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