Monday Morning Mailbag

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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Apr 6, 2013

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

 

Like every Vikings fan, I have been playing armchair GM and I have a different take on our first few picks. I believe the strength of this draft is in the second round. I would not be surprised to see the Vikings for multiple second-round picks.  There is excellent talent at receiver and on defense in the second round that may be a reach with a first-round pick. What are your thoughts on this?
-- Alan A.

I can’t say I disagree with the assertion that this is a strong draft in the late stages of the first round and all the way through the middle rounds. We’ve heard GMs and draft analysts make comments supporting this assertion as well, including NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock, who told us during a recent Wobcast that last year’s playoff teams should be laughing this year because they will get similar talent at the end of the first round to what teams picking early in the first round will get.

A lot of fans have emailed asking about USC wide receiver Robert Woods. He’s a great example of the kind of talented player that will go in the early-to-middle stages of the second round (or later) who in another year may be one of the best receivers in the draft. There are many other players who may fit this mold as well, including: Florida State DE Tank Carradine, Marshall WR Aaron Dobson, Clemson WR DeAndre Hopkins, Tennessee WR Justin Hunter, Georgia DT John Jenkins, LSU DE Sam Montgomery, Louisiana Tech WR Quinton Patton, Purdue DT Kawann Short and Baylor WR Terrance Williams.

Are there any defensive linemen or wide receivers who garner the conversation of the Vikings moving up from No. 23 or No. 25 as opposed to just taking the best player available at each of our picks?
-- David H.

It’s hard to make that assessment sitting in my chair because I’m not privy to all the information that goes into making such a determination, but for the sake of answering the question I’ll mention three names.

The first is receiver Tavon Austin. The diminutive playmaker was perhaps the most versatile playmaker in the country for much of his career, hauling in 215 receptions for 2,475 yards and 20 TDs receiving the past two seasons. In four seasons at West Virginia, he scored 40 combined touchdowns (29 rec, six rushing, five returning). The addition of Greg Jennings gives the Vikings some flexibility as to when they chose a receiver in this draft, but if Austin falls to around the No. 20 range he might be worth a trade up. According to our latest Mock Madness, Austin’s average drafted position is 13.1.

The other two names play the same position – defensive tackle. Florida’s Sharrif Floyd is first. He’s projected to be a Top 5 pick. Last season alone Floyd made 19.5 plays behind the line of scrimmage (tackles for loss sacks). I don’t see him taking a major slide, and his average drafted position in this week’s Mock Madness (5.6) supports that assertion. The other defensive tackle is Star Lotulelei, who you may have heard of due to the heart condition that flared up at the Combine and resulted in him being sent home. Lotulelei has since been given the go-ahead by doctors. The past two seasons he’s made 27 plays behind the line of scrimmage, and in 2012 alone he registered four pass breakups, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. His medical condition might cause him to slide, and in fact one of our mock drafters in Mock Madness 3.0 doesn’t even have him going in the first round. But his average drafted position is still very high (8.8). If he slides into the late teens, perhaps the Vikings will take a look at moving up to get him as a partner on the interior line with Kevin Williams.

With the Redskins signing CB DeAngelo Hall, what is the chance the Vikings will put more of an effort in trying to bring Antoine Winfield back?
-- Lee H.
Winona, MN

From the day Winfield was released, the Vikings have made it clear publicly that the door is open for him to return. It’s not about either party putting more effort toward a reunion, it’s more about the two parties agreeing to a contract that will pay Winfield a requisite salary for the role he’ll play in the Vikings defense.

Why aren't the Vikings pursuing any of the veteran talent at the linebacker position? For example: Karlos Dansby or Daryl Smith.
Max M.
Minneapolis, MN

A few things here. First, we don’t know if the Vikings have or have not expressed interest in signing either of those players. That we haven’t seen a report of the Vikings being interested in one of those players does not mean the Vikings haven’t explored those options. Secondly, the draft is less than a month away now and you would expect that most teams are focusing on that avenue for the moment. We may see an increase in free agent signings once draft plans are finalized and after the draft concludes. Third, there may be free agents who have decided to sit back and wait now that they’ve missed on the first couple waves of signings and will instead wait until closer to training camp so they can sign with a team that has a need for their position because of injury or poor performance.