Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Aug 16, 2010

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.


I was wondering about WR Logan Payne; what do you think the chances are that he will be on the Viking roster for Week 1? It seems everywhere he goes there is nothing bad to say about him but he never seems to make the teams. What quality does he lack that keeps hurting him?
-- Johnny B.
Land O' Lakes FL

I’m not going to speak to any qualities that he lacks because I haven’t followed him every step of his career. I can only go on what I’ve seen of him during his tenure with the Vikings, and what I’ve seen from Payne is improvement. I remember watching him during OTAs and the mandatory minicamp and coming away unimpressed. But during training camp he’s been impressive and has taken advantage of extra reps created by the absence of Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice. Then he goes out and has a nice game on Saturday night, which will only help his chances of making the 53-man roster.

It’s far too early to start making predictions on who will and will not make the final cut, but right now I’d give Payne a legitimate chance because of his ability to display improvement and because of his game this past weekend. The key for him now will be to keep improving during the preseason and then have that improvement translate to more in-game success during the preseason.

Why are the defensive players always trying to knock RB Toby Gerhart down and take pleasure in beating him up?  Is that what teammates do with a rookie who could be a very important part of the team this season? Maybe respect will come with more time?
-- Whitney L.
Sacramento, CA

My observation on this is that the supposed mistreatment of Gerhart during practices has been exaggerated. You see, ALL RBs and WRs get hit in camp and are at times knocked to the ground. It's just that Toby is a rookie and has big name recognition, so any event involving him is going to gain more exposure. You don’t hear about Albert Young getting hit. Or Garrett Mills. Or Ian Johnson. But they get hit just as much as Gerhart does in practice. It's just that Gerhart has more sizzle to his name, so you hear about him more often.

We have heard about Chris Cook, Gerhart and Joe Webb, but what about the other draftees or free agents who are looking good?
-- Doug

The 2 that come to mind immediately are Payne and OL Chris DeGeare. We talked about Payne in the 1st question, so I’ll move on to DeGeare. He was a 5th round selection of the Vikings this year and he’s performed well enough to be considered a top candidate for a key reserve role along the offensive line. Although he played both G and T in college, DeGeare has been working mainly at LG in training camp and has also spent some time at RG. I haven’t gotten a full report yet from anyone on how he played on Saturday night, but I will shortly. The next step for DeGeare is to improve this week and then give a good accounting of himself in Sunday night’s preseason game at San Francisco.

Mike – We are in danger of losing the Vikings! The state of Minnesota has stepped up to help the Gophers and the Twins build new why not the Vikings?  They bring in a ton of money to the area and they bring a sense of pride to so many of us!  They have been a huge part of our lives and I can't imagine life with them not in Minnesota.  Minnesota has lost a pro basketball team, a pro hockey team and soon will lose a professional football team without some major help or intervention.  Do we need a miracle or can something/will something realistically be done? 
Skol Vikings!!!!!
-- Craig D.
Newell, Iowa

It won’t take a miracle to get it done. Rather, it takes our State Legislators and local community and business leaders working together with the Vikings to come up with a long-term stadium solution that will keep the Vikings in Minnesota and also benefit the state of Minnesota. This is an issue that’s been on the table for a long time and it’s also an issue with a solution that only gets costlier as time goes on. Positive momentum was generated last Legislative session, so now our leaders need to take the next step in finding a solution.

To learn more about the stadium situation and to learn what you can do to help, go to

Do you see the Vikings putting more screen plays into their game plans? It seems with a weapon like Adrian Peterson they would use this more than they have. It would also slow the rush down. Getting AP outside is a big key, and the screen play could be the ticket to some big gains.
-- Randy Blog commenter

I actually think the Vikings use the screen pass quite well in their game plans. Randy is right in that the screen pass is a mechanism to slowing pass rush and he’s also correct in that getting Peterson the ball in open space is a good thing for the Vikings. But also remember that playcalls are often determined by the defense. You don’t want to try and jam a square peg into a round hole, as Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress says so often, so I don’t anticipate seeing the Vikings utilizing the screen more often that is necessary. But I do see the Vikings using the screen on a regular basis again in 2010 because it plays to the strengths of several offensive weapons, including Peterson and WRs Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin.

I’ve heard that there has been a good battle for the starting S spot opposite Madieu Williams between Tyrell Johnson and Jamarca Sanford. I know Johnson has the upper hand right now, but who do you think will win the starting job by Week 1? Do you think Sanford has a good chance at winning it?
-- vikings012 Blog commenter

Because Johnson entered camp as the starter and because we’ve only been through 2 weeks of camp and 1 preseason game, my estimation is that Johnson remains the starter at this spot. But because there is a competition, I think Sanford has a legitimate chance to win the starting job during the preseason. He’s been sprinkled into the 1st-team defense rotation throughout camp and I anticipate that to continue over the next couple of weeks. Ultimately, I’d expect Johnson to hold Sanford off for the starting job, at least to start the season. From there we’ll see if Johnson solidifies his spot in the starting lineup or if Sanford continues to push him for the starting job. Either way I think the Vikings win because they have good competition between 2 solid players.