Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Jul 5, 2010

Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the Mailbag! Every Monday during the offseason we’ll post several comments and/or questions as part of the 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 Remember to include your name and town on the email.


With the starting positions at S pretty much set for the team, the identification of the backups seems to be the only real uncertainty going forward. I am particularly interested in your opinion regarding the upside potential of Husain Abdullah and Eric Frampton to be starters at S should both Tyrell Johnson and Madieu Williams go down. Both seem to be really only special team role players. Could we be caught short at the position during the season? Am I wrong on this as we have only gotten to see those players infrequently during the past season or two?
-- Bob H., Richmond, VA

Depth at S is not a concern for the Vikings at this point because of the 2 names Bob mentioned in his question but also because of the potential Jamarca Sanford flashed last year as a rookie. Sanford was a solid member of the special teams group last year and he also stepped into the defensive lineup toward the end of the regular season. So with Sanford and the pair of Abdullah and Frampton providing depth behind Johnson and Williams, I think the Vikings should feel comfortable with their depth.

What are Ryan D'Imperio chances of making the team? He was a great FB in high school and I believe he's a great fit for the Vikings.
-- Alessandro LaCroce, WTP, NJ

D’Imperio probably has an uphill climb because he’ll begin training camp behind Fahu Tahi on the depth chart and because the Vikings are deep at RB. With so much depth at RB, there’s a chance the offensive staff chooses to keep an extra RB as opposed to a FB. But even if the Vikings stick with a FB, Tahi is that guy right now and D’Imperio will have to climb the depth chart quickly to move ahead of Tahi. With all of that said, though, D’Imperio does have a chance during camp to earn a spot on the 53-man roster as well as on the practice squad.

I really enjoy reading your posts on and your regular updates, especially since I don't live in the Twin Cities area.  How is Tarvaris Jackson doing this offseason? I remember last offseason before Brett Favre decided to join the Vikings that there was a report that TJ was one of the hardest working Vikings.  Is he still improving and putting in the hours? Or has he settled in to thinking that Favre will be back and he'll be 2nd team again?  I personally still believe he is a capable QB if he is given a legitimate chance to prove himself, but I haven't heard much about him lately with all the Favre news.
-- Tim C.

Some of those questions are for Jackson to answer, but my view on it is that he’s had the right mindset during Favre’s tenure with the Vikings and I believe #7 has been doing the things he needs to do to improve. It’s hard for the casual fan to see this because Jackson doesn’t appear in many games, therefore the improvements he makes are during practices and offseason workouts. Also, the improvements Jackson needs to make are not always physical improvements.

As we get closer to the start of training camp, I’m wondering when we might start seeing more of our draft picks signing contracts.
-- Curtis M.

I haven’t been given any indication that more signing are imminent, but I do see the Vikings positioning themselves to be able to sign draft picks in the next few weeks. I’m not anticipating any of the draft picks missing training camp time because of contractual impasses.

Elite pass-catching TEs are able to force opposing defenses to bring an extra CB on the field. Does Visanthe Shiancoe get this type of respect? What is your opinion on having 2 pass-catching TEs (who can block) on the field at the same time? Do you believe that could force teams to take off the extra LB? If so, this could be a very good advantage for our running game. Based on your observations, could Mickey Shuler be that all-round TE who could force team to defend him with a CB? I know we have Jeff Dugan and Jim Kleinsasser, but while they are good blocking TEs I personally do not think they have the requisite speed to be “weapons” in the passing game.
-- Christopher S.

Shiancoe has earned the respect of defenses around the league for his pass-catching ability, although I’m not sure on how often he’s covered by a CB and how often he’s covered by a LB. I’m guessing he sees coverage from both positions and probably also is covered by Ss from time-to-time. For some teams, having 2 pass-catching TEs might work great, but at this point I don’t see that being the optimal setup for the Vikings offense. With talented WRs such as Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, I think it’s more beneficial to use 1 TE (Shiancoe) in the passing game as opposed to 2 or more TEs.

AS for Shuler, perhaps he has the potential to 1 day be a reliable target in the passing game, but without watching him play 1 game or participate in 1 full-contact practice, I’m a bit uncomfortable setting too high of expectations for him. I was impressed with him during the offseason program and mandatory minicamp, but those activities are a far cry from regular season action.