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Monday Morning Mailbag: Competition at OL, Improved Special Teams, More

Posted May 7, 2018

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Could the Vikings still bring in a starting-caliber offensive guard? Or are they content to let the rookies and backups compete for the remaining spot?
-- Ike Ackley

For now, my sense is the team is set to stage a competition for a couple starting spots and a bunch of reserve spots among the group they currently have on roster. Aside from 2018 draft picks Brian O’Neill and Colby Gossett, the Vikings also added free agent Tom Compton this offseason. Those players join a host of others who return from last year’s squad, such as Aviante Collins, Rashod Hill and Danny Isidora, among others. If the coaching staff remains unsettled about any position – starting or reserve – after the offseason program, then the team can look to the market to add a new body for training camp and the preseason.

One thing that might be getting overlooked in the Vikings 2018 draft is how we have improved our special teams. By selecting Mike Hughes, not only are we providing depth to the defense but at the same time we are adding value to our return game. If Daniel Carlson can win the kicking job, that will also improve our kicking game. I feel like the Vikings had an awesome draft.
-- Bal Gill

Excellent points. With that being said, I would not write off Kai Forbath or Marcus Sherels. But I do agree this year’s draft did have a particular special teams feel to it because of the Hughes and Carlson selections. The Vikings know what they have in Forbath and Sherels, and it’s solid. The intriguing part about rookie players is the ceiling is unknown. We’ll all get a glimpse as to what that ceiling can be over the next several months. It will be interesting to watch the training camp competitions at several special teams positions this summer.

I really like this year's draft class and I think they found some gems in the undrafted free agent signings, as well. With Mike Hughes’ hands and ball skills, do you think they will consider him as a two-way player at wide receiver?
-- Mark
Idaho

Hughes may already be trained as a multi-way player if head coach Mike Zimmer and special teams coordinator Mike Priefer decide to employ him in either/both the return game and the coverage units. So I wouldn’t anticipate any role on offense for Hughes at this stage. He’ll have enough on his plate trying to learn the defense and finding a niche on special teams.

Do you think Tyler Conklin will be able to compete for the No. 2 tight end spot because he is more of a factor in the passing game than David Morgan?
-- Andrew Barum

Don’t shortchange Morgan. He had five receiving touchdowns as senior in college and he averaged 13.0 yards per catch during his college career. He also has two years of equity built up with the Vikings. Morgan is a willing blocker and is smooth catching the ball. Conklin projects to be a solid pass catcher, too, but he’ll also have to prove his worth as an in-line blocker before he’s elevated above veterans such as Morgan and Blake Bell.