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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Mar 12, 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.

 

The St. Louis Rams are clearly set up for good drafting over the next three years after they traded out of that spot with Washington. It is pretty clear that they could use a big-threat wide receiver on that team.  Since they just fleeced (in my opinion) the Redskins for picks, what are the chances the Vikings try to leverage a deal with the Rams so that they can be sure to grab Justin Blackmon? What are your thoughts on this happening?  I personally think it is a move that would set up both the Vikings and the Rams for years to come.
-- Kris
Richmond MN, currently deployed to Kuwait

First off, thank you for your service, Kris. I wish you a productive deployment and a safe trip home very soon. That would be a great scenario for the Vikings, but I don't see it happening, at least not with the Rams. The Vikings are in a great position at sitting at #3 following the Rams-Redskins trade because they essentially hold the #1 pick for all non-quarterback selection. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will go 1-2 to the Colts and Redskins, respectively, so now the Vikings have roughly six weeks to see if any team wants to jump up to their spot to grab a specific player, whether it is Blackmon, Kalil or even cornerback Morris Claiborne.

I don’t expect that team to be the Rams because they’re likely quite content to hold onto the bevy of picks they just acquired and sit back at the #6 spot to take the best available player when they're on the clock. Much like the Vikings, the Rams are coming off a disappointing season and have enough holes to fill that they can find an immediate impact player for their roster at #6. Even so, it wouldn't surprise me if Blackmon was on the board at #6 and St. Louis was able to nab him without having to trade up.

I think Christian Ponder is our guy at quarterback. He only has one year under his belt and it bothers me that some of the fans are already giving up on him. I think he will be a great quarterback once he gains more experience. Does the negative talk about Ponder bother you?
-- Ian S.

I try not to let negativity from fans about aspects of the team bother me, but I do agree with Ian that it's far too early to start giving up on a player that was selected just a year ago in the 1st round. I've mentioned this many times in the past, but look at how the NY Giants have been rewarded after their patience with Eli Manning. It wasn't until his fifth season in the NFL that Manning completed 60% of his passes or registered a passer rating of above 80.0. Giants fans surely grew frustrated with Manning and undoubtedly there were those who felt the Giants needed to move on from Manning. But the Giants understood the value of having patience with a 1st-round quarterback, and that patience has paid off big-time because Manning is now a two-time Super Bowl champion and a two-time Super Bowl MVP.

I'm not saying that Ponder will be a two-time Super Bowl MVP by his fifth season, but I am saying we don't yet know that he can't do that. Saying right now that Ponder will never be a good quarterback is as unfounded as a supporter of his guaranteeing that Ponder will one day be a Hall of Famer. It's just far too early to make a water-tight judgment on Ponder, and in fact I think the single most important aspect of the 2012 season for the Vikings is to find out if Ponder is the answer long-term at quarterback.

My opinion on the draft is that the Vikings should take LT Matt Kalil with their 1st-round pick and use their 2nd and 3rd round picks on a CB and WR (unless a good opportunity for a great value pick arises, of course). What are your thoughts on this, and who do you like as Day 2 prospects for CB and WR?
-- Ben B.
Little Falls, MN

I like the idea of addressing either cornerback or wide receiver in the 2nd round, but as Ben indicated in his question, it's also important to not force a pick just because it fits a position of need. The best strategy to build a talented roster is to take the best available player and trust that his talents will flourish on your team in some way. That's exactly what the Vikings did in 2007 when they selected Adrian Peterson at #7 even though they had a 1,000-yard rusher in Chester Taylor and a capable backup in Mewelde Moore already on the roster.

In terms of Day 2 prospects at cornerback and wide receiver, I like the following players: CBs Stephen Gilmore, Chase Minnifield and Josh Robinson; WRs Chris Givens, Stephen Hill, Alshon Jeffery, Mohamed Sanu and Kendall Wright.

Love having your opinion and I read everything you post. I am, like most experts, predicting we snag Kalil in the draft. If we also grab a top tier free agent WR to line up opposite Percy Harvin, I am extremely confident in Ponder (also with a full offseason to digest offense and all that) to allow us to compete for the playoffs. In your opinion, what other ways would you like/foresee the Vikings to supply Ponder for success besides Kalil? Thanks!
-- Sean
Frostburg State University

The number one player on free agent wish lists seems to be wide receiver Vincent Jackson, but I’m thinking that another team will be more interested in him than the Vikings, such as Buffalo, Chicago, New England or even San Diego. The good news is that there isn’t a steep drop-off in the market after Jackson if you factor in long-term production value as well current talent level. Other soon-to-be free-agent wide receivers to consider are Pierre Garcon, Mario Manningham and Robert Meachem. I believe any one of those three receivers could help Ponder take another step in his development as an NFL passer in 2012, and my first choice of those three would be Garcon. He’d be a prototypical Rick Spielman-type of free agent signing – a guy coming off his rookie contract who was productive with his former team and has a career arc that is on the upswing.

Do you think Peyton Manning has a chance of going to the Vikings?
-- Jack M.

Rarely do I use the word “never” or the phrase “no chance,” but Manning signing with the Vikings this offseason as a free agent is about as close as I’ve come to using either of those to describe a possibility. It’s not a good fit for Manning in Minnesota, for a variety of reasons ranging from his salary demands and the Vikings cap situation to his new team’s chances of making a deep playoff run. Given the division the Vikings play in and the fact that the Vikings are coming off a 3-13 effort in 2012, I don’t believe Manning has Minnesota in his crosshairs. At this point, I’d say the four most-likely landing spots for Manning are, in alphabetical order: Arizona, Dallas, Denver and Miami.

Do you think the Vikings would be willing to select an offensive guard with their 2nd-round pick (#35 overall)? I ask because when I watched the Combine, I saw players from Wisconsin and Iowa who I would love to see added to our offensive line. I might be talking out of turn, but I love Christian Ponder’s potential, and hated seeing him on the ground every other play because the offensive line was weak. Draft LT Matt Kalil with the #3 pick and then a guard with #35.
-- Erik M.
Hoople, ND

If an offensive guard is the best player available when the Vikings are on the clock at #35, I don’t think they’ll hesitate to select that player. Given the Vikings are in rebuilding mode, as they should be at this stage, the best draft philosophy is to take the best available player. The best interior lineman in this draft, in my opinion, is David DeCastro. He’ll be gone by the time the Vikings 2nd-round pick comes around, so after that the names to watch are Wisconsin’s Kevin Zeitler and Georgia’s Cordy Glenn, who might have position flexibility to play both guard and tackle in the NFL.

Hey Wobby, huge fan and I think you do a great job communicating with the Vikings fan base and it is appreciated by us who bleed Purple. Assuming the Vikings take Kalil with the 1st-round pick, I think the Vikings will go defense, primarily linebacker or safety with that 2nd-round pick. I prefer the Vikings sign S LaRon Landry in free agency and then draft a speedy linebacker who is good in coverage, such as Zach Brown or Lavonte David. But if S Mark Barron falls, do you think the Vikings will pull the trigger in the 2nd round on him? Much like Kyle Rudolph last year, he will not be able to work out and could slide to the 2nd round. I think they will deal with cornerbacks via free agency and later rounds. Gotta love draft season!
-- Ben M.
Inver Grove Heights

If Barron is there at #35, I think the Vikings will pounce. In fact, I believe Barron is one of just a few guys for whom the Vikings would trade up if he was available in the late stages of the 1st round. Lavonte David is another guy that I am enamored with right now. I think he’s the kind of player who can matchup with some of these beastly TEs who are too fast for LBs and too physical for safeties.