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Monday Morning Mailbag: QB Options, Vikings' Super Bowl Window

Posted Feb 5, 2018

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The Eagles won the Super Bowl in the trenches. We are not far behind. We are a good and young veteran team. We are just a few pieces away from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Our window is wide open. I look forward to seeing what our leadership does to make us better in the trenches and with the rest of the roster.
-- Gerald Goblirsch

There is probably not another team in the NFL who is better along both the defensive line and offensive line as the Philadelphia Eagles, and their victory in Super Bowl 52 last night is all the proof we need that, despite this being a quarterback-driven league, games are won and lost largely by what happens up front. The Vikings have a good base with which to start if they want to emulate the collection of talent and toughness the Eagles have put together in the trenches, and it won’t be surprising if the Vikings elect to use both the draft and free agency to continue fortifying both lines this offseason.

Do you think the Vikings will target Kirk Cousins? And if so will they keep any of the three that are free agents? (Case, Teddy, Sam)
-- Anders Swanson-Lane

I’d say it’s safe to assume the Vikings will certainly look into the viability of signing Cousins this offseason. There’s a significant take-give element to this question. Acquiring Cousins will likely require significant compensation, and that could adversely impact the team’s ability to retain some of their current core players. Would it be better to break the bank for a quarterback and then pinch pennie and make do with other parts of the roster? Or is a more economic approach at quarterback the better option so the team can spend the big bucks on retaining young core players? Whether the Vikings actually pursue Cousins remains to be seen and will be dictated by A) their opinion of Cousins as a quarterback and B) what they decide to do with the three quarterbacks who took snaps this season – Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater and Case Keenum.

So which round do the Vikings target a quarterback? I think offensive line should be our first target. More depth on both lines I believe is key throughout a long season, no matter who's at quarterback.
-- Kyle Alexander
Texas

Both are important – the quarterback and the play of the lines. With the potential availability of Cousins plus Bradford, Bridgewater and Keenum also all in the mix, I don’t know that the Vikings are a strong candidate to take a quarterback early in the draft. Picking at No. 30 also doesn’t help make the case for the Vikings to go quarterback in the first round. But late in the first round is where the Vikings found Bridgewater, so it’s certainly not unprecedented to find a gem late on Day 1. This is a tough question to answer because so much will happen between now and draft day that will determine how the Vikings approach the quarterback position in the draft.

I’m sure that several people are consulted but who makes the final decision on retaining the current offensive assistant coaches—GM Rick Spielman, head coach Mike Zimmer or the new coordinator?
-- Tom Hellie
McMinnville, Oregon

It would make sense that Zimmer has the most influence, but I also know that Zimmer and Spielman work well in collaboration on high-level decisions such as the coaching staff. Certainly whomever is hired as offensive coordinator will have some sway in the decision of assistant coach hires, but I would say Zimmer has the most influence.

Do you see any way Case and Teddy would both be willing to come back to the Vikings as we know Teddy wants to start without a doubt? 2. Are you truly confident that we can take the next step with either Case or Teddy? Skol!
-- Jerry

Yes to both questions. I do see a way the Vikings could secure the services of both quarterbacks, especially with the franchise tag available. And I do feel the Vikings can win the Super Bowl with either guy. Neither Bridgewater nor Keenum are the kind of personalities who feel entitled to a starting position. They are both competitive and they both want to be held accountable, so I wouldn’t say it’s impossible for the Vikings to find a way to retain both of their services in a compete-to-start type of situation. But I also wouldn’t say it’s a probable scenario because starting quarterback is a premium position, many teams are looking for that position and both Bridgewater and Keenum have already proven their ability to fill that role at this level.

My concern with the Vikings is at wide receiver. I really wasn’t impressed with Laquon Treadwell this year. As a 1st-round draft choice, he hasn’t shown the potential we would expect. I wonder if he has fallen out of the graces of the coaching staff and I wonder if he will be back next year. What’s your take on this?
-- Doug

With Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in the fold plus a full offseason of free agency and the draft ahead of the Vikings, there isn’t much to be concerned about at wide receiver. It’s safe to say that Treadwell’s development has been slower than hoped, but it’s also fair to point out the emergence of Diggs and Thielen as bona fide NFL playmakers has taken some opportunities away from Treadwell. It’s also safe to say that giving up on Treadwell is not the right approach at this time. He’s under contract, he’s got great veterans in his position group from which to learn and he’ll have a fresh start with a new coordinator in 2018.