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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Oct 18, 2010

Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the vikings.com Mailbag! Every Monday during the season 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 2 games in the books now, what impact has Randy Moss had on the offense? It still doesn’t seem like we’re “clicking” on offense even with him in the lineup, but I’m guessing there are affects that we just aren’t noticing yet?
-- Esther C.
Duluth, MN

This would be a great question to ask Brad Childress, Darrell Bevell or Brett Favre, but from my standpoint I’ve noticed several ways Moss has impacted the Vikings since his arrival here. First, I think his presence gives the offense some confidence that it was lacking, especially with Sidney Rice on the sidelines. Secondly, Moss is superior at the physical nature of being a WR, from route running to catching the ball to his speed. Thirdly, he has 9 receptions for 136 yards and 1 TD in 2 games, which is good production and will cause opposing defenses to continue paying attention to him. That attention will open other things up in the offense, such as Percy Harvin in other parts of the passing offense or Adrian Peterson in the running game. Finally, Moss brings intangibles to the team, such as his leadership. QB Brett Favre mentioned in his post-game press conference that Moss stood up at halftime of Sunday’s game and spoke to the offense about getting it in gear. Also, Moss has been in the building early every morning lifting weights and doing the things that professional football players should do. He’s been a good leader already with the Vikings.

What are the Vikings going to do to shore up the offensive line so their talented playmakers can get a chance to do their thing?
-- Rick B.

This is by far the most common question I had sitting in my inbox this morning. And I think it’s a legitimate concern at this point. The offensive line needs to play better in order for the offense to get rolling. But at the same time, we need to be careful not to throw too much blame at the feet of the offensive line. It’s easy to point to a lineman whenever the QB is sacked, but there are times when that sack should not be attributed to poor offensive line play. Sometimes the QB held the ball too long or called the wrong protection scheme. Sometimes the receivers didn’t get open. Sometimes a RB or a TE didn’t pick up a blitzer. Sometimes the defender just made an outstanding play. So while I agree the offensive line needs to improve, I also want to point out that it’s not always the offensive line that is responsible for the sack.

Anyway, I think the right people are in place to get the offensive line fixed. Once C John Sullivan can get back in the lineup, the Vikings will have the same offensive line they had a year ago when the offense averaged 29.4 points per game. So that tells me the personnel is okay, it’s technique and scheme that need to be addressed and tweaked. I believe that will happen sooner rather than later.

With the problems that our backs have picking up the blitzes, what is the chance that we try to get a 3rd down back to help with that issue as well as making sure we do not over work Adrian?
-- Jeff
vikings.com Blog commenter

As with the offensive line, I’d say that the Vikings currently have the right personnel to fulfill this role. It’s a matter of those players fixing their technique to perform better. Peterson has done a nice job at times this season of picking up blitzers; but there have also been times where he’s missed. The same can be said for other RBs and FBs, such as Toby Gerhart or Fahu Tahi or Albert Young. What must happen is the players must watch film of their performance, notice the errors and then fix those errors on the practice field this week.

When is Sidney Rice able to come back? I think with him in there we could have a better offensive push.
-- Pharewynd
vikings.com Blog commenter

Beginning this Tuesday (October 19) and continuing through November 9 (the day after the conclusion of Week 9), players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP list) are permitted to begin practicing for a period of 21 days. On the day after or at any time before this 21-day period expires, the team must activate the player to its 53-man roster. If the Club chooses not to activate the player, then the player goes back on the PUP list and is unavailable for practice or games for the remainder of the regular season and postseason.

This means that Rice is eligible to begin practicing at any point between now and November 9. Once the Vikings allow Rice to practice, the 21-day period begins and the team has 3 weeks to determine if and when Rice is able to play in a game.

Rice was out at practice late last week playing catch on the side (not participating in practice), but his movements were limited.

It was an impressive win against the Cowboys on Sunday. Now looking ahead to an ailing Green Bay Packers team, what do think are some of the key points to going 3-3?
-- Oliver I.

I haven’t had a chance to dig too deeply into this matchup yet because I’m still digesting Sunday’s win. But my immediate thoughts are that a lot of focus will be on the Vikings offensive line this week. I also think the health of some important Green Bay players, such as LB Clay Matthews, will be important. Finally, I think special teams will factor into the outcome significantly. The Vikings benefited from outstanding special teams play in their win against Dallas and I’m guessing next Sunday night’s game will be closely contested, meaning a play or 2 on special teams might make a huge difference.