Monday Morning Mailbag

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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Nov 18, 2013

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

 

The Vikings were defeated by a better team on Sunday. We did well to hang tough for three quarters, but the 4th quarter collapsed on us. The defense played strong all game. Ponder made some mistakes and unfortunately it cost us the game. That kind of thing will happen. Teams have figured out how to stop our running game. Wobby, do you have any ideas on how or what we can do to fix this? Ponder looked sharp at times, but he did have some bad throws. Really disappointing considering how well we played the last two games. I don’t agree at this point we should change up what we are doing. Maybe it’s time to evaluate Josh Freeman, but I am not convinced that is going to be any better for the team. Your thoughts? Still six more games to be played and looking forward to some more wins. Go Vikings!
-- Mike B.
Goodwin, SD

The frustrating part of Sunday’s loss in Seattle is that the entire team played well enough to be in the game well into the second half, but then turnovers became a problem for the Vikings and ruined the game. Keep in mind that at halftime Ponder was nine of 13 for 114 yards with a touchdown, and the Vikings were keeping stride with Seattle despite an early turnover and not much explosion in the running game. Then with no scores for either team in the 3rd quarter, the Vikings went into the final period trailing by two scores and with Seattle facing a 3rd and 11 inside their own territory. At that point, there was reason to believe the Vikings could capitalize on improved defensive play by putting a couple of drives together to challenge Seattle’s lead.

Unfortunately, the beginning of the 4th quarter is also when Seattle was able to do what they do best – overwhelm teams at home. Ponder threw interceptions on consecutive drives, with the second going back for a touchdown. Matt Cassel replaced Ponder and he also threw an interception on his first series.

What can be done to fix it? I don’t have the answers on that, but I think once the team goes back and looks at the tape of Sunday’s game they’ll see a lot of good things through the first three quarters and a lot of not-so-good things in the final quarter. The key this week in Green Bay will be to keep doing the good things we saw in the first three quarters for the whole game and to stop doing the bad things we saw in the fourth quarter.

I find it hard to stay positive and support the Vikings as a fan during a losing season. Sometimes I get angry and negative to the point where it drips off of me and eats holes through the floor. Other times I have blind optimism to the point that I think the Vikings could win out and still make the playoffs. Some fans check out and look forward to draft picks. Other fans crush beer cans or vent and rant on blogs. What is the formula for survival for us Vikings fans?
-- Jim R.

This is one of my favorite emails in a long time. I’m sure a lot of people reading this right now can relate to you, Jim. Everyone handles losing (and winning) in their own way, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. I, too, am easily discouraged after loses and during a losing season. It’s easy to be that way.

But it’s also easy for me to remain supportive because I know that eventually things will turn around. And when that happens, I want to be able to say that I was being supportive of those who eventually were able to right the ship.

I encourage you, too, to be one who builds up, not one who tears down.

I think the play of rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has been crucial for the Vikings this year from a special teams standpoint. I don't think that he is as raw as people are saying as a receiver, however. On the touchdown reception he made last week against Washington, he showed strong hands and awareness in where to position himself in his route. Should the Vikings consider giving Patterson more targets and even handoffs on offense?
-- Colton G.
Bowbells, ND

Yes, I am in favor of more playing time and more opportunity for Patterson. The offensive staff has done a nice job of bringing Patterson along and that strategy is starting to pay dividends now. On Sunday, in fact, Patterson stepped into an increased role with Greg Jennings sidelined due to an Achilles injury. Patterson was targeted nine times and was still able to be productive as a returner.

Many things have not gone according to plan for the Vikings this season. But one thing that has gone according to plan has been Patterson’s rookie season. When the Vikings drafted him, both General Manager Rick Spielman and Head Coach Leslie Frazier explained that it would take some time for Patterson to assimilate into the offense but that as the rookie progressed in that objective he would make an impact as a returner. That has indeed turned out to be the case, as Patterson entered this weekend’s games as the NFL’s leading kickoff returner.

For a couple of seasons, I've seen Fred Evans get better and better. This season in particular, I think he has played at a solid starting NFL nose tackle level, and yet he never seems to get the start over Letroy Guion. Nothing against Guion, but I think he’s more of a natural 3-technique. Do you have any insight on why this is?
-- Tyler H.
Jamestown, ND

I can’t offer an explanation as to why Guion starts over Evans other than to say it’s a decision the coaching staff makes based on what they believe gives the team the best chance to win. With that said, I can’t agree more with what Tyler said about Evans’ level of play. It seems as if Evans makes some kind of play behind the line of scrimmage every game. He did it again on Sunday when he burst past Seattle center Max Unger to hit running back Marshawn Lynch in the backfield and force a fumble. Evans makes a play like that frequently, and because of that he’s a valuable part of the defensive line rotation.

When are the Vikings going to utilize Joe Webb in their offense?
-- Melvin W.

The Vikings do already utilize Webb quite a bit in the offense, especially when you consider the fact that Webb is arguably the Vikings best run-blocking receiver. Granted, blocking is not the A topic when it comes to receivers playing well, but when you have Adrian Peterson and an offense that is built around running the ball, having receivers who are effective blockers is important.

Webb isn’t putting up gaudy receiving numbers, but let’s also keep in mind that not many receivers are doing that this season because the Vikings are still trying to establish some consistency and production through the air.

Just read about how Jeff Locke donated the $10,000 he charged Josh Freeman for his jersey number to the VA in Minneapolis. Could you perhaps write a piece about that? It's such an incredible thing and says a lot about the Locke and the team.
-- Joe H.
Sioux Falls, SD

You just did it for me, Joe. Thank you. But Joe is right – Locke’s donation is certainly worth a more thorough look and I will look into giving this story more exposure because the cause is most certainly worthy and time-appropriate given it’s Salute to Service month.

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