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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Dec 24, 2012

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.

 

Wow! Another impressive road win against one of the best teams in the league. We clearly dominated the football game in most phases. Have to give (Defensive Coordinator) Alan Williams a ton of credit for helping fix some of our defensive issues, which include the secondary. How did this team go from winning three games to being a playoff contender? Also, how do you think we fare against Green Bay next week to clinch a playoff berth? Personally, I think we should have won in Lambeau Field, so playing at Mall of America Field should give us a huge advantage.
-- Derek S.
 New York

A lot of factors combined to generate the Vikings improvement from last year to this year. Obviously the season Adrian Peterson is having has been a huge factor. On top of that, the Vikings have improved play from the offensive line; a big jump up from the secondary; and Blair Walsh and the rest of the special teams group stepping up and playing well consistently.

Also, the Vikings added a lot of talent in the draft. Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith have started every game as rookies, Walsh is doing his thing, Josh Robinson has helped the secondary and Rhett Ellison does the dirty work on both offense and special teams.

In terms of next week in Green Bay, about the only thing I know is that the atmosphere will be electric, the crowd will be raucous and the Packers are going to get the Vikings best possible effort.

That was a great win. It seemed like the whole offense was playing as one unit, compared to previous games this season. It just looked smooth. But I think the key to this win was our defense. They were dominating in every aspect of the game. How was our defense able to play that well against such a good offense?
-- Steffan L.
Aarhus, Denmark

There’s no question that the defense played a key role in Sunday’s win over Houston. The Texans came into the game averaging 25.5 offensive points per game, and the Vikings held them out of the end zone all game and surrendered just six points total. Houston running back Arian Foster was the AFC’s leading rusher entering Week 16, and he managed just 15 yards on 10 carries while Houston averaged 2.1 yards per carry as a team. Quarterback Matt Schaub was frustrated and ineffective all day, completing 18 of 32 passes for 178 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. The Vikings took the ball away twice, Houston was just one of 11 on 3rd downs and the Vikings outgained Houston by a count of 345 to 187.

It was truly a dominant defensive effort for the Vikings, and it’s only fair to give equal credit to the coaching staff for a creative game plan that included wrinkles and to the players for executing that game plan and just flat-out making plays.

Fantastic game again this week! It’s time to recognize the job head coach Leslie Frazier is doing this year. Three straight wins against playoff contenders with the last two on the road. The team is playing with a camaraderie and intensity that’s inspiring. He and GM Rick Spielman have drafted well, and bringing in Bill Musgrave and Williams is really starting to pay off. So what’s a guy got to do to get a Coach of the Year award?
-- Dan A.
Iowa City, IA

Dan is right that Frazier is deserving of consideration for coach of the year honors. I’m sure there are other deserving candidates as well, including Bruce Arians in Indianapolis, Pete Carroll in Seattle, and either Jason Garrett in Dallas or Mike Shanahan in Washington (depending on who wins the NFC East next week).

It’s an incredible feat that Indianapolis, Washington and the Vikings comprised the original Top 3 in the 2012 NFL Draft, and it’s possible that all three of those teams will be in the playoffs the same season.

In order to stay competitive in the postseason, would you agree that it'd be in the Vikings best interests to bring in a bigger receiving threat for the short-term (Terrell Owens?) before the Green Bay game in order to keep our offense multi-dimensional, open running room for Adrian Peterson, and of course keep defenses honest by creating additional confusion? Skol Vikings!
-- Ted B.
Issaquah, WA

No, I would not agree. At this point, with one game to go, bringing in a receiver like that when it’s not an act of necessity would only complicate the offensive preparation and operation. It might not seem like it, but I think wide receiver is one of the hardest positions to come into and make an immediate impact as a new player. My sense is the Vikings are better off sticking with the receivers they have and scheming up ways to win with them. Jarius Wright was the leading receiver on Sunday, Jerome Simpson played an important role as well and made two significant catches – both on 3rd downs that extended eventual scoring drives. No, the Vikings don’t have an embarrassment of riches at receiver and they will look to upgrade the position over the offseason. But on Sunday in Houston, this group performed well and showed that the Vikings can win with them.

With the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants losing, is it now “win and you’re in for the Vikings?
-- Paul S.

Yes, simple scenario. If the defeat Green Bay on Sunday, they will qualify for the playoffs as the #6 seed and play at Green Bay, Seattle or San Francisco.

If the Vikings make it into the postseason, do you think Percy Harvin could be activated off of the Reserve/Injured list and make a playoff appearance?
-- Zach R.
Grand Forks, ND

No. Harvin has been placed on the Reserve/Injured list, which means he is ineligible to play for the remainder of the season. Cornerback Chris Cook was placed on the Reserve/Injured list, but he was given the “designated to return” tag, a new roster nuance this season in the NFL that allows each team one opportunity to bring a player back after going the IR. The Vikings used the new IR on Cook after his injured his arm in Week 8; Harvin was injured in Week 9.

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