Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Jun 20, 2011

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.


Have the coaches ever thought of using Toby Gerhart in a fullback role? Just from what I’ve seen, he is a “football player” and I envision him as a Tom Rathman or Mike Alstott type of player. I think it would keep defenses off balanced if Gerhart could lead block for Adrian Peterson and run some FB dives. I’d love to know if the coaches have ever considered it.
-- Shawn Blog commenter

I can’t speak for the coaches as to whether they’ve ever considered moving Gerhart to FB, but I can speak for myself and say that I don’t see it as a great fit because I think he’s better utilized as a RB. Keep in mind, Gerhart played RB at Stanford and was the runner-up in 2009 Heisman voting. He also won the 2009 Doak Walker Award (nation’s top college RB), the 2009 Archie Griffin Award (college football’s MVP) and the 2009 Jim Brown Award (another award for college football’s top RB). He’s a pure RB with the combination of power to break tackles and quickness to make tacklers miss him. One of the first things I noticed about Gerhart last year when he arrived at training camp and started practicing was that he wasn’t as big as I perceived and he was much quicker and shiftier than I perceived.

I understand the comparisons to Alstott and Rathman. Gerhart (6-0, 231) is similar in frame to Alstott (6-1, 248) and Rathman (6-1, 230), but Gerhart is more nimble and really is more of a pure RB than Alstott and Rathman.

The simple question is, Christian Ponder or Joe Webb? It's bittersweet with the decision-making process here, and if we don't go after a veteran QB,  which we still might do, I have to say I hope to see more of Webb than Ponder. What are your thoughts?
-- Kyle S.
Charleston, SC

It’s far too early to formulate an opinion on which guy should be the starting QB for the Vikings in 2011, but I think the goal is for either Ponder or Webb to end up starting games this year, not a veteran. Any veteran the Vikings add will be brought in to help mentor the young QBs and literally teach them how to practice and how to play the position in the NFL. The work stoppage hasn’t helped that process because minicamps and Organized Team Activities (OTAs), where coaches install their offense and new players become acclimated to their teams, were cancelled. If the Vikings bring in a veteran QB yet this offseason, that veteran could end up starting games early in the season, but ultimately I think the Vikings are going to push hard for either Ponder or Webb to end up starting the most games in 2011.

What do you see the Vikings doing if Sidney Rice decides to sign with another team?
-- Tyler K.
Rochester, MN

At this point we don’t know if Rice will be able to test the free agent market once a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is ratified. The new CBA will set forth whether players need 4 or 6 accrued seasons to be eligible for unrestricted free agency. If it’s 4 seasons, then Rice will be able to test the market; if it’s 6 seasons, then Rice will be under contract with the Vikings.

If Rice becomes an unrestricted free agent, then the Vikings will likely make re-signing him a high priority. He was a valuable part of the offense in 2009 and then the offense missed him in 2010 when he was unavailable for much of the season because of a hip injury. Also, Rice was a 2nd round pick who developed into one of the NFL’s top WRs, so the Vikings have some sweat equity with him and would like to see him remain with the club for many years to come.

If, however, he hits the open market and decides to play elsewhere, the Vikings will have to adjust. Percy Harvin’s role would likely increase in that scenario and Bernard Berrian would also have a greater opportunity. After those two guys, some young players will have the chance to step up and produce. Freddie Brown (practice squad player from last year), Stephen Burton (7th-round pick of the Vikings this year), Juaquin Iglesias (free agent pickup from late last season) and Jaymar Johnson are just a few of the young players who will battle for a roster spot leading up to this season. Also, don’t forget about Emmanuel Arceneaux, whom the Vikings signed from the Canadian Football League (CFL) after last season.

Aside from players currently on the roster, the Vikings could look to the free agent market to fill a vacancy created by Rice’s departure. Again, because we don’t know what the new rules will be as a result of the next CBA, it’s hard to assess the market for free agent WRs. But I’m guessing there will be several WRs out there, such as Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Vincent Jackson and James Jones.