Monday Morning Mailbag

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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Dec 30, 2013

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.

While many of us were sad at the loss of Percy Harvin, I feel GM Rick Spielman and crew deserve a huge amount of credit for acquiring Cordarrelle Patterson in his void. All I can say is I'm already excited for next year!
-- Paul P.
Kirkland, WA

I’ve been saying this for a few weeks and my opinion is emboldened after Sunday’s game: Patterson should be the Offensive Rookie of the Year. I don’t believe the voters will award it to him, but to me he is the best rookie in the NFL and deserves that recognition. The competition – mainly Chargers receiver Keenan Allen, Bengals running back Giovani Bernard and Packers running back Eddie Lacy – is stiff for the award, but I don’t believe any of those three players impact the game as profoundly or in as many ways as Patterson.

Do you think that the Vikings offense has become too focused on being a run-first outfit? Having an MVP running back has seemed to make this the obvious first choice and that running a pass-first offense would run the risk of under-utilizing this valuable resource. With our emerging wide receiver unit, is it time to open up more of a pass-first, run second offense that is more akin to the potent style of offense that rolled over teams in the 2009 Favre season?
-- Will J.
Sleepy Eye, MN

This is an interesting question and one certainly worth a lot of thought. Balance should be the ultimate goal because it allows you the ability to be run-first or pass-first at any time, depending on the situation. A balanced offensive approach allows a team to build up a lead with the passing game in the first half, then work on the clock with the running game in the second half. Or, a balanced attack will allow a team to go pass-heavy in the second half to catch up after falling behind early in the game. Or, a balanced attack allows a team to be pass-heavy for some games and run-heavy for other games, based upon the weaknesses of the opponent or based on the injuries and personnel that team has. I wouldn’t build a team to be always run-first or always pass-first. I would build a team that is capable of doing both. Perhaps the offense wouldn’t be equally capable, but in an ideal world it would be pretty close, allowing that team the flexibility to do whatever the situation dictates.

What is happening at the linebacker position? I think Audie Cole has been playing very well and has the capability of developing into a true middle linebacker, yet I saw Erin Henderson back in that spot against the Bengals (and Lions). Do you know what the plan is for the middle linebacker and outside linebacker positions going forward? What are your thoughts on the Vikings linebacker corps generally?
-- Steven L.

I do not know the team’s plan at linebacker going forward, but I agree with Steven that Cole has the makings of being a middle linebacker; he was one of the Vikings most productive tacklers since entering the starting lineup in Week 12. The good news is the Vikings do have talent and plenty of numbers at the position heading into the offseason. Cole, Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti are all in their first or second years, Greenway is still in his prime and led the team in tackles once again this season (six straight seasons), and there are a few veterans (Erin Henderson, Marvin Mitchell) in the mix who may or may not be back. Plus, the Vikings can fortify that talent and depth by signing another veteran in free agency and/or by selecting another linebacker in the draft this offseason.

When the Vikings selected Sharrif Floyd in the first round, everyone thought that we got a steal of a game-changer. With only 19 tackles and 3.5 sacks, do you think that he will have a brighter future?
-- Terrel T.
Honolulu, HI

Granted, Floyd’s production this season is not what some would expect from a first-round pick. But let’s keep in mind that he wasn’t a high first-round pick (he was selected 23rd) and let’s also keep in mind that Floyd wasn’t a regular starter and was a rotational player. With that said, there were several times this season, including against the Lions on Sunday, where Floyd flashed the playmaking ability that caused the Vikings to select him with their first first-round pick last April. Floyd does have a bright future in the NFL, and what excites me the most about his skill set is an explosive first step and an innate ability to avoid blocks by contorting his body and using his agility. He could probably improve at the point of attack and learn a lot from veterans such as Fred Evans and Kevin Williams, but so far so good on Floyd.