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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Jan 14, 2013

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.

 

After watching these young quarterbacks in the playoffs running read-option offenses with great success, I was wondering if you think this would be a viable option for our offense. With Christian Ponder's athletic ability and the best running back in the league on our team, I could see the read-option being very effective.
-- Allen A.
Prior Lake, MN

I understand some of the performances of these young quarterbacks – particularly with their success running the ball out of the read-option – will have fans desiring their teams to employ the same tactics. But I don’t believe it’s a wise or prudent strategy for most teams in the NFL, the Vikings included. I’m more comfortable with an offense that asks the quarterback to be productive from the pocket, and to use his legs to make plays only when necessary (pocket breaks down, receivers aren’t open, etc.).

Robert Griffin III is perhaps the best at running the read-option, and he’s dealing with a severe knee injury/rehab right now as a function of being injured while running with the ball outside of the pocket. He suffered his original knee injury against Baltimore while running outside the pocket with the ball, and then he reinjured the knee while running outside the pocket with the ball against Seattle in the playoffs. Granted, all quarterbacks at times have to run outside the pocket, but running the read-option will obviously expose a quarterback to those hits with more frequency.

The read-option is an attractive and tempting offensive style, but I think in the long run it’s fool’s gold. The NFL is a passing league, and it’s my belief that the key to long-term success on offense is not with running quarterbacks – it’s with pocket passers who run only when there is no other option.

Do you expect an increase in prime time games for the Vikings next year? I'd really like to see a Thanksgiving game. We haven't had one of those for quite some time, and considering we have road games against both Detroit and Dallas, I feel like it could happen. What do you think fans should expect in regard to prime time games next year?
-- Joe H.

Given the star power on this team with guys such as Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson and given the team’s dramatic turnaround from three wins in 2011 to 10 wins in 2012, I absolutely anticipate an increase in scheduled prime time games for the Vikings.

The Vikings had just one scheduled prime time game in 2012, and I’d guess that number will increase to three scheduled prime time games in 2013. That’s just a guess at this point on my part, but I’d think it’s reasonable to speculate that both Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football will want to put the Vikings on their docket next season, plus the NFL Network will likely try to put every team on its Thursday Night Football package at some point during the season.

Additionally, when you consider the fact that the three other teams in the NFC North are also attractive draws, that only increases the chances of the Vikings appearing in more games during prime time. Joe also makes a valid point that the Vikings will be on the road in both Detroit and Dallas this year, and we all know that they both host Thanksgiving Day games.

Do you think the Vikings should draft Georgia DT Jonathan Jenkins with the 23rd pick (in the 1st round)? He’s 6-3, 360 pounds. Remember how good the Vikings run defense was when Pat Williams was still here? Drafting Jenkins would allow for less run blitzes by our linebackers and allow for the linebackers to drop into coverage more frequently. With a great defensive tackle, the Vikings defense would ultimately improve against both run and pass.
-- Adam C.

Admittedly, I don’t know this year’s draft class well enough yet to make any sort of determination on players that may or may not be a good fit for the Vikings. So I won’t comment on Jenkins specifically, but I will say that I appreciate Adam’s point – that the Vikings defense is at its best when the defensive tackles play in such a way that the defense can rush four and drop seven into coverage.

I’m interested in seeing Kevin Williams return for the 2013 season. Next to him, I think the starting job is open for competition. Letroy Guion has been okay in that spot, but I think there’s still room for him to improve. Fred Evans has provided excellent depth, and I think he has a spot on this club as well. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Vikings add some depth along the defensive line via the draft. Whether that’s with a 1st-round selection or not, only time will tell.

Do you think Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe would be good fit for the Vikings as a true number one receiver? We need more depth in the passing attack, and Bowe has shown that with even subpar quarterback play, he can still be a very dangerous man to defend and make a passer look good.
-- Gabe M.
Coon Rapids, MN

I will qualify my opinion on this topic by acknowledging there is much about Bowe that I don’t know, such as his medical history, personality, etc…those are all issues that matter and that must be vetted out with any player by any team recruiting them in free agency. Also, let’s keep in mind that he’s property of Kansas City at this point and there’s a good chance new head coach Andy Reid won’t let him sniff free agency.

With all of that being said, Bowe most certainly passes the eye test and I think he’d be a nice addition to the Vikings offensive attack. Gabe is correct that he can be a productive player even with substandard production at quarterback, as evidenced by the fact that he’s had three 1,000-yard seasons (plus a 995-yard season) and a 15-touchdown season while playing with quarterbacks such as Matt Cassel, Damon Huard and Tyler Thigpen. It’s my belief that with Christian Ponder, the Vikings will have well above average production at quarterback, thus making Bowe even more of a lethal weapon in the passing game. I love Bowe’s catch radius, size and versatility.

Again, there are many aspects to this issue that I don’t know, but I do know that Bowe passes the eye test.