RSS Mailbag - 11/13

Posted Nov 13, 2009

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Why don't we throw the ball more often to Adrian Peterson in space? He has his big runs when he gets through the defensive line and into the defensive secondary where he is very elusive and hard to tackle. So why haven't we been throwing the ball more often to him in open space when he's already past the defensive line?

-- Derek G.

Peterson is on pace for a career year in receptions and yards; he already has 19 receptions this year and his career high is 21. So I do think the Vikings are making a concerted effort to get him the ball more via the pass.

But I think Derek’s point is more about where Peterson actually catches the ball. The term “in space” is probably used loosely in this case, but a lot of times it’s hard to get a RB the ball too far beyond the line of scrimmage because the primary job of the RB on many pass plays is pass protection. Certainly there are designed routes for Peterson to run, but given the fact he lines up in the backfield primarily the types of routes he can run are limited.

With all of that said, I think the Vikings offensive staff has done a nice job of incorporating Peterson into the passing game and putting him on the field in some 3rd down situations. RB Chester Taylor is an excellent 3rd down back, and I think the Vikings should continue to use him in that capacity, but it’s also nice to see Peterson grow his game.

Mike, what position do you see the Vikings focusing on in the draft next year with their first couple of picks? Also, what is Chester Taylor’s contract status? Thanks!

-- purple08, Blog commenter

I think it’s a bit too early to speculate on what the Vikings will target in the draft. I think you’d start, though, by saying they’ll take the best available player, whomever that may be 5.5 months from now. A lot of it also depends on the Vikings roster at that time – we don’t know who will still be here and who will not be here. Injuries also play a role.

As for Taylor, it’s my understanding that his contract is up after this season. I’m not aware of his exact contractual status or any conversations that have been had regarding Taylor re-signing here. There’s no question Taylor has value in this offense, but there’s also no question that most other teams would love a shot at acquiring him as a free agent this upcoming offseason.

I know Adrian and Kevin Williams are playing at a Pro Bowl level, but who are the guys that aren’t talked about who should also be Pro Bowlers this year?

-- Whitney S., Baltimore, MD

I’m walking a slippery slope here because I want to promote all of our players as Pro Bowlers. I’m writing for the team’s website and I want to do what’s best for the team – and that’s to promote as many players as possible for the Pro Bowl.

But to directly and concisely answer your question, I’ll give you 3 names of guys who I don’t think are getting the proper amount of consideration for the Pro Bowl – LB/special teams ace Heath Farwell, K Ryan Longwell and LT Bryant McKinnie.

-- The Vikings kick coverage units have drastically improved from last year and I think Farwell is a big reason why. Certainly credit goes to special teams coordinator Brian Murphy and his assistants Chris White and Jason Glenn, but Farwell brings talent, leadership and experience to those groups and his return has been invaluable to the Vikings special teams effort.

-- Longwell has been as reliant as any kicker in the league over the past few seasons and this season. He’s also improved on his kickoffs. Longwell has made 60-of-62 (96.8%) field goals from inside 45 yards since joining the Vikings in 2006 and he’s tied with Fuad Reveiz for most 50-plus yard FGs in Vikings history.

-- I think McKinnie is playing as well as he ever has under head coach Brad Childress. QB Brett Favre hasn’t taken many sacks and the Vikings rushing attack is again one of the league’s best. Also, McKinnie has given up just 1.0 sacks this season and he’s gone against pass rushers such as Dewayne White, Terrell Suggs and James Harrison.