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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Jul 4, 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.

 

Now that the Vikings have tied up LB Chad Greenway (with the Franchise Tag) and we have an ageing Ben Leber at OLB with only Erin Henderson to come in behind him, my question is: Is there any merit to the idea that the Vikings may look at signing LB Mark Herzlich when free agency kicks off? I think with his dedication and drive he could be a long-term LB for the Vikings. I must say I was a little disappointed that he was not picked up in the draft.
-- Grant
Brisbane, Australia

Before I answer the question about Herzlich there are a few things to address within Grant’s question. First, keep in mind that the Franchise Tag secures Greenway for just one season. So he’s not “tied up” for the long term just because of the Tag. But the Tag does give the Vikings and Greenway’s representatives more time to draw up a long-term contract extension. Both the club and Greenway would like to reach that sort of agreement. Secondly, Leber will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) whenever the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is reached, so he’s certainly not a guarantee to return to the Vikings. Thirdly, although Erin Henderson will likely be on the roster, the Vikings will also have other OLBs on the LB depth chart, including Heath Farwell and Kenny Onatolu. So the cupboard is not completely bare at the position.

With all of that said, though, Grant brings up a name that will gain considerable buzz once a new CBA is ratified and free agency begins. Herzlich was diagnosed with cancer while in college but has battled the disease and made it back to the football field. Before the cancer, Herzlich was considered a 1st-round pick. He was a standout LB at Boston College with 40 plays behind the line of scrimmage and 11 INTs during his career. He’ll definitely be the most sought-after college free agent and he’ll surely make a team in the NFL and be a contributor on special teams and at either MLB or strong-side LB.

Considering the amount of preparations that defenses do these days, would it not be to our advantage to have two completely different QB looks? Specifically, the Dolphins did well on most days with their wildcat package. With a new guy out there and new packaging for the rest of the players to learn, why not have him frequently communicating on the sideline, while Web runs a Viking "wildcat" play or two? It would be like having tons of timeouts for QB talks. With the QB injuries today, you have two sets of warm hands.  You also have a better team down the road with both these guys in the game and having talks on the sideline. Webb could have silent snaps from the shotgun, if cadence penalties are the concern.
-- Robert L.
Irvine, CA 

I appreciate the creativity in this idea and I agree that it’s important for the Vikings to find a way to utilize Webb if he’s not the starting QB, but I think the strategy that gives a team the best chance for success is to have a franchise-type QB who plays the large majority of the snaps and is the leader of the offense. If you look at the most successful teams over the last few years (Green Bay, Indianapolis, New England, New Orleans, Pittsburgh), you’ll notice that they all have a QB who doesn’t leave the field. Again, it’s not a bad idea to have a few gimmick formations and plays to make life tougher on the defense, but there’s nothing tougher on a defense than a QB who is in rhythm with his offense.

Mike, I'm a Vikings fan and I always read your Monday Morning Mailbag. Considering this year's drafted players and the veterans on the roster, in which position is the biggest need(s) of the team? I know there are some free agent players and to answer that question, consider the player(s) you're quite sure that will leave the club. By the way, I'll see a Championship Game of American football this Sunday here in Brazil.
-- Ricardo A.
Sao Paulo, Brazil

I hope you enjoyed watching the Championship Game in Brazil. It’s great to see the America version of football having a place in Brazil.

As for your question about the Vikings biggest needs in free agency, it’s difficult to answer at this point for a variety of reasons, the biggest of which is that we truly don’t know who will leave the team because we don’t know the rules of free agency. Those rules will be set forth in the next CBA, so until then we can only guess what will happen.

But to directly answer your question about biggest needs, I think it’s fair to look at depth along both the offensive and defensive lines as areas that could be addressed. This is not necessarily an indictment against the guys currently on the roster, it’s just that you can always use more depth in the trenches. A couple other areas to perhaps consider are WR (if Sidney Rice does not return) and a veteran QB to help the young QBs already on the roster.

The Vikings drafted two DBs this year, but I think they still need to upgrade their pass defense. Do you think the Vikings would reach for CB Nnamdi Asomugha as soon free agency starts? Does it makes sense to add him and would the Vikings even have a chance to sign him instead of other teams? Are there other free agent DB's who would be good additions to the Vikings defense?
-- Philipp B.
Wilhelmshaven, Germany

It’s never a bad thing to upgrade a position. But often times the issue is cost, and that’s precisely the issue with Asomugha. Sure, any team would love to add a player of that caliber to their roster, even if they already had a pair of solid players. But for many teams, and I’d probably be inclined to include the Vikings in this mix, the price of signing Asomugha will preclude a pursuit. He’s going to get a contract in the neighborhood of Darrell Revis’ deal from last year, which was reported as a 7-year deal that will void down to 4 years and will pay him something like $46 million, including $18 million next year. You can see why that sort of price tag is going to force some teams to look elsewhere. Right now I’d guess that Houston, Oakland and Philadelphia are the favorites to land Asomugha.

But there are other options out there for free agent DBs. We’ll get into more of the analysis of these guys at a later date, so for now I’ll just list a few guys I’ll be keeping my eye on once free agency finally begins: Brent Grimes (Atlanta), Johnathan Joseph (Cincinnati), Richard Marshall (Carolina) and Ike Taylor (Pittsburgh).