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Monday Morning Mailbag: Roster Depth Paying Off For Vikings

Posted Oct 16, 2017

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The great play of our backups, from quarterback to running backs to wide receivers, shows the great players that GM Rick Spielman brought in. They stay competitive no matter who's out there.
-- John McGuire
Lone Pine, California

The performance of Vikings backups this season is a credit to both the personnel staff for stocking the roster and the coaching staff for developing depth behind starters and being able to put the backups in positions to succeed when their number is called. Every team is dealing with injuries and needs to rely on backups to play, but some teams fare better than others in those spots. The Vikings had several starters out on Sunday against Green Bay, including left guard Nick Easton and safety Andrew Sendejo, but their backups stepped up and the other starters stepped their game up to compensate for the absences.

Great win. Defense played lights out. Two things I would like to see the Vikings work on: Fewer turnovers and longer drives in the 3rd and 4th quarter. I would love to see us moving the chains and eating time off the clock. Your thoughts?
-- Gerald Goblirsch

Yes, I can hear both of those critiques and I would add penalties to it, as well. The Vikings were penalized seven times for 65 yards. It’s somewhat nitpicking considering the Vikings won the game, but making corrections is just as necessary after wins as it is after losses. The Vikings had a 12-play drive to begin the second half and then an 11-play series on the following drive, but after that they were unable to sustain a drive for longer than four plays and they didn’t tally a single 1st down. To close out good teams down the stretch, the offense must do a better job sustaining drives and scoring points in the second half. 

I think we have a best backup quarterback in the League. He is smart, he is quick and he makes a really good decisions.
-- Tomáš Vitásek
Czech Republic

We can leave the ranking of backup quarterbacks across the League to others, but there’s no doubt Case Keenum deserves credit for the way he’s played and for the way he’s handled the first six weeks of the season. He’s come in when his number has been called and he’s done what it takes to win games. Outside of the tipped pass against Green Bay, he hasn’t turned it over and he’s also doing a good job of not taking sacks and reducing the Vikings negative-yardage plays. Lastly, one of his best traits is his ability to use his legs to get out of trouble and to tuck the ball and run for yardage when everything else breaks down.

If we can beat the Ravens and Browns in the next two weeks, we should be in good shape going into the bye week. Although I do remember what happened after the bye last year!
-- Rey Johnson
Montrose, MN

One week at a time, Rey. One week at a time. You can only be 1-0 each week and that is the mindset the Vikings must take into each game. This is a week-to-week League, and I think the Vikings are as good an illustration of that as any team. While the games coming up against Baltimore and Cleveland look favorable, I think we all would’ve said that the Broncos game against the Giants looked favorable, and look how that turned out for Denver. The Vikings are in good position through six weeks, but there is a lot of football to be played and this week’s game against Baltimore will not be a walk in the park.

Strong effort from our side. Sad to see Aaron Rodgers go down that way, but that's the game. If we can't get Latavius Murray going, how long do you think we will stay with him? He doesn’t seem to be the same kind of back he was in Oakland
-- Nicholas Balkou

I promise you that the Vikings will call on Murray’s number several times yet this season. Right now there is no question that Jerick McKinnon has the hot hand, and you can expect the Vikings to ride with the hot hand for the time being. But Murray is a big, physical runner who has proven to be productive in this League and who is only going to get better the further away from his ankle injury he gets and the more comfortable he gets in this offense. I thought he displayed some niftiness and make-you-miss moves against Green Bay, something that he hadn’t shown previously, so I think his arrow is pointing up.

I know we're going to hear a lot of "but Rodgers,” but we're down a starting quarterback, a starting wide receiver and our No. 1 running back. I think the Vikings prove that it's about the players lining up but obviously coaching is huge, too. Isn't that something people should take away from this one as well? Anyway, great win. Looking forward to next week already.
-- Stefan Sodbinow

This is a quarterback and coach League, no doubt, and I do agree that Sunday’s Vikings-Packers game illustrated that. But I also think this is why Green Bay has a shot to make things interesting for the Detroit Lions and Vikings the rest of the way. Green Bay has a good coaching staff and they still have some players on their roster who can do their jobs well. Every team is dealing with injuries and the Vikings and Packers are no exception. They won’t feel sorry for themselves and they won’t expect others to feel sorry for them, and I won’t be surprised if the Week 16 game between these two teams has meaning for both clubs.

Want more info about the Vikings? Join Team Reporter Eric Smith for his weekly Vikings Live Chat on Tuesday at 1 p.m. (CT) from Winter Park.

The chat can be found here. You can send in questions ahead of time, or you can use the #SupSmitty hashtag on Twitter to also submit your questions.

Want more info about the Vikings? Join Team Reporter Eric Smith for his weekly Vikings Live Chat on Tuesday at 1 p.m. (CT) from Winter Park.
The chat can be found here. You can send in questions ahead of time, or you can use the #SupSmitty hashtag on Twitter to also submit your questions.