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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Mar 18, 2013

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.

With the singing of WR Greg Jennings, which I believe was a good addition to our team, do you think that will lead to Jarius Wright moving to the slot receiver position in place of Percy Harvin? Also, do you think we will select another good wide receiver with one of our first-round picks this year? If we do, our receiving  corps will go from just okay to being a really good group in a short time.
-- Jeff
Kirkwood, MO

Wright’s size and skill set is such that he may be best playing from the slot. But we also saw moments in 2012 where Wright proved he could be a downfield threat as well - he had a 54-yard reception in his debut against Detroit and a 65-yard reception in Week 17 vs. the Packers. Jennings has that same (or better, even) versatility. I expect to see plenty of Jennings playing in the slot. Essentially, the signing of Jennings gives the Vikings great flexibility. It gives them flexibility in the early stages of the draft because now the team isn’t as desperate for a playmaking wide receiver. It gives them flexibility on the field because you can line him up in the slot or out wide, you can motion him or shift him, and you can run a variety of different routes with him.

With the signing of QB Matt Cassel, what do you think we will do with Joe Webb?  I know you've been a firm believer that he will stay at quarterback, but with four quarterbacks on the roster do you see a possible switch to wide receiver or a special teams role?
-- Brandon
Fond du Lac, WI

At this point I do not see Webb switching positions. I see Webb putting his best foot forward and competing for a roster spot as a quarterback. Eventually the coaching staff will make a decision on the quarterback depth chart, and if Webb is the odd man out then they’ll have to figure out the next step. They could keep four quarterbacks, they could trade Webb, they could cut Webb or they could ask him to switch positions. Switching positions is an easier-said-than-done proposition of course, so that may be the last resort. For now, though, I expect Webb will remain a quarterback and will show the coaching staff just how competitive he is by making the coaches make a tough decision in stacking the depth chart.

With the NY Giants putting a first-round tender on WR Victor Cruz, could you see the Vikings using that #25 pick (acquired from Seattle) to acquire him? Or is he asking for too much money for it to be worth it?
-- Dakota K
Newport, MI

My sense is that a Vikings-Cruz union is unlikely. In fact, it would surprise me if any team could pry the talented receiver away from the Giants. For starters, Cruz has to agree to join the club that is pursuing him. Secondly, any offer Cruz receives and accepts from another team can be matched by the Giants. Also, keep in mind that Cruz recently hired Tom Condon as his agent, and Condon is the agent who represents Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

Being able to bring Cruz into the mix would be great for the Vikings, don't get me wrong. But the cost associated with doing so is heavy. Not only would the Vikings have to give up their first-round pick (#23 overall), but they’d also have to offer Cruz a lucrative free agent contract that the Giants would either be unable or unwilling to match. That seems like an unlikely scenario at this point for the reasons stated above.

With Antoine Winfield being released and Jasper Brinkley signing with the Arizona Cardinals, we need a couple replacements for those positions. Do you have any free agents in mind that could fill those roles? Or will the Vikings look to the draft to fill those positions?
-- Brad S.
Albertville, MN

I don’t have any specific free agents in mind for the Vikings to fill holes on the roster at this point. I’m not saying the Vikings won’t be active in the free agent market moving forward, rather I expect the Vikings to take some time to assess the market and look for some bargain prices on players they believe can compete for roster spots during the offseason program, training camp and the preseason. A year ago the Vikings brought in veteran free agents such as Zack Bowman and Chris Carr – those are the types of free agents we could see the team bring in again this year, with optimism that those signings will work out better this year. Again, I’m not saying the Vikings are done with well-known names in free agency, I just think now is the time for the Vikings to look for bargain prices on those kinds of players.

But the team will still rely mostly on the draft to fill needs on the roster. The Vikings have had success doing this in the past, illustrated best by the fact that nine of the team’s 10 draft picks from 2012 are still on the roster. The Vikings have 11 selections in their arsenal at the moment, which gives the personnel department plenty of chances to increase the talent level and competition level on the roster.

It seems almost universally accepted that the Vikings will draft a wide receiver in the first or second round, but I'm not convinced of that. What advantages are there, if any, in waiting until the third and fourth rounds to draft multiple receivers while using our first two picks to address defense or offensive line? Maybe my optimism for Jarius Wright, Jerome Simpson and Greg Childs drives this question.
-- Bill S.
Reading, PA

The advantage to that approach this year is that the wide receiver class is deep. With some exceptions, the difference between many of the receivers taken in the middle rounds and many of the receivers taken at the end of the first round and in the second round may be negligible. With that being the case, a team looking to add receivers could rely on that depth by addressing other positions earlier and then going back to the deep receiver class in the middle-to-late rounds.

I’m not suggesting that’s what the Vikings or other teams looking to address the receiver position will do, I’m only pointing out – with the help of Bill’s question – that it’s one option.

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