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Monday Morning Mailbag: MVPeterson and CJ2K?

Posted Apr 7, 2014

Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the vikings.com Mailbag! Every Monday 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.

With the Titans releasing Chris Johnson, should the Vikings pursue him as the perfect complement to Adrian Peterson?
-- Zach B.
Kansas City, MO

I see two likely scenarios for Johnson. In Scenario 1, he views himself as a No. 1 running back who can still shoulder the load. In my opinion, good team fits for Johnson in this scenario include the Browns, Cardinals, Cowboys, Giants and Jets. In Scenario 2, he doesn’t find the kind of deal he wants on the market this year, and is willing to take a one-year prove it deal with a team to be the complementary back and rebuild his stock for next offseason so he can land one more big-money deal before he leaves the prime of his career. In my opinion, good team fits for Johnson in this scenario could include the Bears, Broncos, Chiefs, Colts, Packers, Redskins, Seahawks, Texans and Vikings.

I don’t know what the Vikings level of interest in Johnson is at this point, but from my view I agree with Zach that he would be a great complement to Peterson because of his ability out of the backfield as a receiver and because he is obviously an accomplished runner should the Vikings be without Peterson for any length of time. For those who want Johnson in Minnesota, you have to remember that it’s the players who decide where they play, not the teams. If a team is interested, it doesn’t mean the team will get the player. In addition, if a team didn’t sign a player, that doesn’t mean the team wasn’t interested.

With all the talk of the Vikings drafting a quarterback or linebacker in the first round, don't you think that drafting another solid cornerback will fill the Vikings greatest need?
-- Terrel T.
Honolulu, HI

While I am all in favor of the Vikings using a first-round pick on a cornerback this year, I would not characterize cornerback as the Vikings greatest need. The addition of Captain Munnerlyn gives the Vikings a pair of starting cornerbacks, whereas the Vikings are returning just one of last season’s three starting linebackers. To be clear, I am not suggesting the team prioritize the selection of a linebacker over a cornerback in the first round because there is just one returner starter at linebacker, I’m simply saying I don’t know it’s accurate to say cornerback is the team’s greatest need.

Ultimately, identifying the team’s greatest need is a fruitless exercise when it comes to the NFL draft because the smart teams don’t draft to satisfy need. The smart teams draft the best available players and find spots for those players to contribute. That’s what I anticipate Vikings GM Rick Spielman will continue to do in 2014.

Who do you see being a solid wide receiver in the late rounds that the Vikings could potentially pick up?
-- Derrick
Willmar, MN

It’s been noted by analysts, and I agree, that this is one of the deeper class of receivers in memory. The top-end talent is exceptional this year, and the depth from top to bottom is also very good. As for a few middle-round and late-round prospects, I was impressed with both Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis and Oregon’s Josh Huff at the Senior Bowl. Abbrederis impressed me with his route running and Huff was impressive because of his hands – he catches the ball away from his body and is also good after the catch. On tape, I like Fresno State’s Davante Adams because of his ability to high-point the football and make catches in traffic, and I also like Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon. At 5-8, 187 pounds, he’s undersized, but I love his toughness and he will be a dynamic returner at the NFL level, too.

With as deep as this year's draft is talent-wise, do you believe the chance is greater that we trade back to amass picks to garner position depth and position flexibility?
-- Rick L.
Saint Cloud, MN

My sense right now is that at No. 8 a trade back is more likely than a trade up. That could change, of course, but that’s where I stand on it right now. After No. 8, though, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Vikings move up or down from a particular spot. In each of the past two drafts, we’ve seen the Vikings move up from the second round into the end of the first to grab a player they coveted – Harrison Smith in 2012 and Cordarrelle Patterson in 2013. But in 2012 we saw the Vikings move back from No. 3 and in 2010 we saw the Vikings move out of the end of the first round and into the second round to gain additional picks. Spielman loves to deal, and he doesn’t mind moving up or back in any round.

Another aspect to remember is that trades are two-way streets. Team A may want to trade back, but Team A can’t move anywhere unless there’s a Team B that’s willing to take its spot.

I am a firm believer that a good secondary feeds off of a good pass rush. No matter how good your defensive backs are, if you don't have a good pass rush the defensive backs can't cover forever. We need a good scheme that gets to quarterbacks, especially in our division.
-- Phil L.
Bismarck, ND

I am a firm believer that a good pass defense is subject to the same principles as the rest of the football team – football is a team game and you’re only as good as your weakest link. Pass defense is the combination of rush and coverage – you need both to ensure a better chance of succeeding. It is true that poor pass rush can ruin great pass coverage, but it’s also true that poor pass coverage can ruin a great pass rush.

You need both aspects to accomplish the goal of being a good pass defense. I believe the additions of both defensive tackle Linval Joseph and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn in free agency this offseason is an illustration that the Vikings understand this principal and are committed to improving.

Hi Mike – Just wanted to say it’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited about the Vikings direction, but it looks to be all up from here. Great coaches and players have been added this year, plus the draft is still ahead and we have a new stadium in the process of being built. I will never give up on my team. Patience is hard sometimes, but I am a true fan and believe we will prevail. Off to a great start this year! I have my horns crossed for luck. Keep it up, Mike. Love the info, thank you.

Not so sleepless in Illinois.
-- Laurence T.

Thanks for the note, Laurence. I share in your optimism and am anxious for the offseason program to being this week. The good news is that one of the greatest sources of optimism hasn’t even arrived – the NFL draft. The Vikings have made great strides so far this offseason with the hiring of Mike Zimmer and his staff and with some free agent activity, but there will be more improvement during the draft and during offseason workouts.