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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Jul 9, 2012

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 know WR Percy Harvin and CB Marcus Sherels have the most experience at returning punts and kickoffs, but is there a possibility of the return job going to players such as WR Bryan Walters or WR Jarius Wright? Or is there any player you can see as our top kickoff/punt returner?
-- Jake L.
East Bethel, MN

This is one of the competitions I’m looking most forward to watching during training camp. Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer told me and others multiple times over the course of the offseason program that he’s thrilled with the number of players on the roster who can capably field kickoffs and punts. That tells me there will be a fun competition to watch during training camp and the preseason.

There’s no question Harvin is one of the most dangerous return options in the NFL, but he’s also the Vikings most dynamic offensive weapon. You can’t blame the team for wanting to use Harvin only sparingly on special teams to keep him fresh for his offensive snaps. In order to do that, though, a viable option must emerge to handle kickoff return duties. That’s where players such as Walters, Wright, rookie CB Josh Robinson and several others enter the picture.

As I stated above, it will be a fun competition to monitor and I’m sure it’ll be an issue we revisit here on the Monday Morning Mailbag, in our Pick 6 segments and elsewhere on our many Vikings Entertainment Network (VEN) platforms.

Do you think we'll see little, if any, of the Wildcat offense this season? It always seemed to be such a momentum-stopper for us last season. I think if you have your quarterback honed in and performing at a high level it can be effective. But if the quarterback is still in the learning stage and deceiving the defense is not one of his assets, then the defense is not dazzled by the razzle.
-- Dale K.
Decorah, IA

I agree with Dale here that the Wildcat offense – or similar offenses to what is referred to as the “Wildcat” – can be effective if employed at the appropriate time. It’s not the right idea for every team, and it’s not a great offense to run more than occasionally. Whether the Vikings include this type of scheme in their offensive arsenal this season remains to be seen. I wouldn’t count anything out, but I also don’t expect it to be a dominant part of the game plan on a weekly basis. Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave understands the talent he has on his offense, and he will do everything he can to deploy that talent in an effective manner.

Not knowing when RB Adrian Peterson will return as a starter, and knowing RB Toby Gerhart won’t be able to take every snap, who is in line to be the Vikings third running back option?
-- Patrik E.
Prior Lake MN

In the event the Vikings are without Peterson during the regular season, I have no doubt that Gerhart will be able to shoulder the load in capable fashion. In fact, Gerhart would be a starter for many teams in the League and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gerhart be among the NFL’s rushing leaders if he has to fill in for Peterson on a full-time basis.

The bottom line is we won’t know Peterson’s status – and how much Gerhart will play in his stead – until we get much closer to the regular season. In the meantime, Patrik is right that identifying the right third running back is important for the Vikings in 2012. Typically we see the third-string running back as a scat back – a player who comes out of the backfield to catch passes on third downs. But Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier commented earlier in the offseason that the Vikings might be looking for a more all-around running back to fill out their running back depth chart this season given their situation this year with Peterson coming back from injury.

The Vikings have several runners on the roster currently who will compete for that spot, including undrafted rookie free agent Derrick Coleman, veterans Jerome Felton and Lex Hilliard, and a second-year player named Jordan Todman. I wouldn’t favor any of those players over the other at this point, as it’ll be a competition that gets sorted out in training camp and, ultimately, the preseason games.

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