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vikings.com Mailbag - 12/11

Posted Dec 11, 2009

Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the vikings.com Mailbag! Every Friday we’ll post several comments or questions as part of the 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.

Why are we throwing the ball 40-45 times a week? Most of the time it seems like the right decision, but in the end we need to keep that confidence in Adrian and hand him the rock 22-28 times a game.

-- Andrew B.

The Vikings are actually averaging 34.9 passes per game this season, but you are right in that they are throwing it more than usual over the past 2 weeks. Against the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals, the Vikings have averaged 46.5 passes per game.

I think the reasoning for it has a lot to do with the situation of the game. For instance, against the Cardinals the Vikings were down for much of the game and therefore relied on the pass to try and come back.

But your point remains, the Vikings might benefit from going back to the ground game a little more. I expect them to do that this weekend against the Bengals.

Why is the "up the middle" ran so much during a game for little gain?

-- Kelly C., Louisville, KY

It seems like I receive this question quite often. Fans are quickly bothered by running up the middle because they don’t see it as productive. Also, fans tend to think the Vikings run up the middle more than they actually do, probably because they are inpatient with shorter gains that often come when running up the middle.

The Vikings actually don’t run the ball up the middle very often. Here is how it breaks down:

Runs to the left: 131 attempts and 4.47 yards per attempt

Runs to the middle: 91 attempts and 3.02 yards per attempt

Runs to the right: 129 attempts and 4.83 yards per attempt

So the Vikings actually run up the middle just 25.9% of the time.

Any chance we will pursue Derrick Brooks or Junior Seau to replace EJ this season?

-- Bryan T., Georgetown

I don’t see the Vikings pursuing either player. They will stick rookie Jasper Brinkley in there first to see what he can do. I suspect that he’ll perform capably and he’ll remain the starting middle LB for the season.

As an aside, I blogged earlier today about how Brinkley is poised for a smooth transition as the Vikings starter at middle LB. The Vikings are in a better position to replace Henderson this year than they were last year.

Does the team practice differently the week after a loss compared to a win?

-- Timothy Z, State College

From a general standpoint, the answer is no. The practice schedule and routine is generally the same. One thing that might be different, however, is the team might not have meetings on a Monday after a win. But players are still required to come in for weight lifting and treatments, even after a win.

Hey Mike,

Want to know what is in store for Erin Henderson in the future. Do the Vikings have any plans at all on using him? He has ability and he is the brother of E.J so I’m sure he has learned quite a few things being with big brother. What do you see in Erin's future?
-- Anthony, CT

I actually blogged about this, too, earlier this week. Erin’s playing time will dramatically increase because of E.J.’s injury. As we’ve mentioned already, Brinkley will be the one to replace E.J. as the starting middle LB, so that opens up a bunch of holes in special teams coverage. Erin will be the guy to replace Brinkley on those special teams units.

Erin has been active for only 1 game this year – at Green Bay on November 1. In that game, Erin tallied 2 special teams tackles. I expect Erin to excel in his new role and really step up for the Vikings special teams unit.