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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Jan 2, 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.

 

Mike, the defense looked good against the Bears from the last time they played them. My only worry of the game is why the Vikings did not choose to throw the ball deep on some plays? It was mostly the same short passing plays from beginning to end. Do you think we will pass the ball down the field next season like we were when we had Brett Farve, and create a better offensive line?
-- Pat W.
Chicago, IL

There are several factors that come into play with the question. First, without going back and re-watching the game, I can remember at least two throws to Devin Aromashodu that were “down-field” throws, so it’s not as if this element of the Vikings offense was completely absent. But I agree that the vertical element of the Vikings passing game needs improvement, both with the frequency with which the Vikings throw downfield and the success rate when they do throw downfield. Secondly, and as Pat mentioned in the question, an important part of being able to throw the ball deep down the field is getting good pass protection. I don’t feel as if the pass protection – which includes running backs and tight ends as well as the offensive line – has been consistent enough to allow the Vikings to throw the ball downfield consistently. Thirdly, you can have the right playcall and excellent protection, but if receivers don’t get open, the quarterback can’t throw them the ball. If the Vikings can improve in all three of those areas, then I do believe the offense will throw more deep passes next season.

Tell me why, after adding running backs Caleb King and Jordan Todman (earlier this week), they put them on the inactive list before the game? This makes no sense to me, especially when Toby Gerhart got injured. I would have thought the Vikings would have wanted to evaluate them. Can you share thoughts on this? This is another example of the ineptitude of the Vikings front office.
-- Paul H.
Denver, CO

I disagree with that being an “example of the ineptitude of the Vikings front office.” First of all, the front office isn’t responsible for making the call on active and inactive players. Certainly a few members of the front office may have input, but the active/inactive decisions are made based off of the game plan and injuries. Secondly, I would guess that King and Todman were inactive for a few reasons, with one of them being that the Vikings already had Lorenzo Booker and Gerhart set at running back, plus Percy Harvin has been playing some running back in recent weeks as well. Furthermore, playing running back in the NFL requires more than just carrying the ball. Running backs have to know pass protection schemes and route-running concepts in the passing game as well, and the Vikings coaches may not have felt comfortable having King and Todman in the game because of their unfamiliarity with the pass protection scheme and the passing game.

Tony Dungy made a comment on NBC’s Football Night In America that the Colts may look at quarterback Robert Griffin III out of Baylor over Andrew Luck in the draft. That would be beneficial to the Vikings, as St. Louis might be tempted in trading down. Although, it’s way too early. The left tackle from USC might not be out of the picture for the Vikings. In your opinion, who are the top three choices (no QB) available for the Vikings? Love your column!
-- Brian G.
Keokuk, IA

I must first qualify this opinion by acknowledging that I haven’t even begun to dig into the draft with any depth at all. Most of what I know is based only off of watching games and listening to others talk about these players. Also, my opinion is based more on the positions I think the Vikings could address via the draft, rather than the actual players who play the position.

With that being said, the Top 3 (non quarterback) players who could be available to the Vikings with pick #3 are (in alphabetical order) cornerback Morris Claiborne from LSU, wide receiver Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State and offensive tackle Matt Kalil from USC.

Now that the season is over and we can look to the offseason, what types of acquisitions would you like to see the Vikings make? I personally would like to see them at least make an attempt for DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garcon. Is Mike Wallace going to be a restricted free agent (RFA)? Also, are there any veteran offensive linemen that are going to be free agents that you know of this year? Thanks, Mike. Looking forward to the next couple seasons!
-- Derek
Fargo, ND

At this point I’ll refrain from including names because we don’t know which of their own free agents the Vikings will attempt to re-sign. Once that process is over, then we’ll have a better idea of what areas the team may try to address with the free agent market.

Regardless of that, though, I would like to see the Vikings address the wide receiver position. Whether it’s with a high draft pick or in the free agent market, the Vikings offense would be improved if they could add a field-stretching threat on the outside. This would allow Percy Harvin to play more in the slot and operate in the middle of the field, where I believe he’ll be more dangerous. I think it would also be good to address the offensive line, the secondary and depth at both the defensive line and linebacker.

This isn't really a question it is more of a thanks. I just wanted to say great job Jared Allen on a great season and I wish you many more to come. Also, Jim Kleinsasser, thanks for everything you have done for the Vikings organization and the fans, you will be greatly missed. To the rest of the team, thank you for fighting until the end and never giving up. We can only get better from here, and the heart the whole Vikings organization showed is why in my mind no matter what the record is we are still champions and I look forward to next season. I also wish the best for Adrian Peterson and the rest of the injured Vikings.

With that said, where are the Vikings going to call home next season? I hope they get to stay in Minnesota, but what does the great state of Minnesota have to say about that? Is it possible the Vikings will leave Minnesota? And thank you for having the Monday Morning Mailbag. I looked forward to reading it every week, and will continue to also.

Thank you Vikings

Travis L.
Pueblo, Co

Thanks for reading the Monday Morning Mailbag, Travis, and thanks also for taking the time to write. I appreciate and share your positive outlook on Allen, Kleinsasser and the prospects for improvement in 2012.

I believe that our State leaders in Minnesota will continue to work on the stadium issue and will ultimately come up with the right answer, which is passing a stadium bill that will keep the Vikings in Minnesota – which is where the Vikings belong. Where specifically that will have the Vikings playing their games next season, I’m not sure. But from a general standpoint, I believe it will be in Minnesota.