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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted May 28, 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 have been following the Vikings for over 40 years and I'm excited about where this organization is going. The Wilfs leadership is what this team has needed for a long time, GM Rick Spielman has been making nothing but solid decisions and the coaching staff that is assembled is one of the best the Vikings have had in many years. People can call me crazy, but I fully expect to see this year’s team at least in the hunt for a wildcard spot in the playoffs.

I think we are fairly solid in most areas. The only concern I have is in the offensive line. We have added LT Matt Kalil and some free agents, but I don't know if we have done enough to overhaul it. I'm wondering what your feelings or thoughts might be when it comes to the offensive line. Go Vikings!
-- Johnny T.

I share Johnny’s opinion about the direction of the franchise, but I don’t share the concerns for the offensive line. As I stated above regarding the wide receiver position, one of the reasons for optimism about the 2012 season for me is the improvements made along the offensive line. The addition of Kalil allows the Vikings to move Charlie Johnson to offensive guard, which only adds to what will surely be robust competition for two starting positions at guard. The Vikings are set with John Sullivan at center, and Phil Loadholt is poised for a solid season in my opinion because he has one year in the new offensive system under his belt.

How many draft picks have the Vikings signed? And are there any threats of a holdout with any of the Vikings picks?
-- Tim L.
Austin, TX

The Vikings have seven of their 10 draft selections under contract. The three who have not signed yet are LT Matt Kalil, S Harrison Smith and CB Josh Robinson. At this point there should not be concern about a potential holdout because it’s not out of the ordinary for rookies to be unsigned at this point, plus the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is such that there is less about which to negotiate for agents and teams. This is not to say that the process is necessarily easier or that holdouts are not possible, but my sense is that holdouts won’t be an issue for most teams this year.

As a reference, the website ProFootballTalk.com reported on May 24 that 174 of 253 (68.7%) draft picks have signed their contracts, which means that the Vikings, with 70% of their picks signed, are just ahead of pace. Additionally, just 10 of 32 first-round picks have signed their contracts, which indicates that Kalil and Smith not being under contract for the Vikings isn’t a concern.  

I have read that with so much depth at wide receiver, the New England Patriots may get rid of Chad Ochocinco. Is there a chance we could see Ochocinco with the Vikings? I still think he is a very talented receiver, and if I'm not mistaken, I'm pretty sure New England did not use him much in their system last year. I think if we go after him, he can provide a more veteran-atmosphere on our offense. I realize the Vikings are in rebuild mode, but maybe if we add a few pieces like him, we can be a contender this season. I'm actually very optimistic about this season.
-- Chad O.
Grand Forks, ND

I’m optimistic about this season for the Vikings, too, and some of that optimism is because of what the Vikings have going on at wide receiver. Percy Harvin is one of the best slot receivers in the NFL, Michael Jenkins is a reliable veteran, the Vikings selected a pair of receivers (Jarius Wright and Greg Childs) in the fourth round, and there are several other young options at the position that will battle for a roster spot this offseason and in training camp. This group of players will be a competitive one leading up to the 2012 season, and they are complemented by a talented group of tight ends as well, which will also help the passing game improve.

As for Ochocinco, I agree with Chad that he’s a talented pass-catcher who wasn’t used often by New England last season. I’m just not sure if the Vikings and Ochocinco are a great match at the moment. There are a sufficient number of receivers on the Vikings roster right now, and many of them are younger players who represent a better long-term option than Ochocinco. Given the Vikings current situation, I’d rather see a roster spot dedicated to giving a young player the chance to develop than to a veteran looking to extend his career.