Monday Morning Mailbag

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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Apr 29, 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.

 

I congratulate the Vikings for filling three huge needs in the first round of this year’s draft. We got three very talented players at great value, but lost a couple of middle round picks. I do believe it was a good move to get a playmaker like WR Cordarrelle Patterson. I thought that the Vikings might try to trade back up into the second or third round to draft a middle linebacker. Or do you believe seventh-round pick Michael Mauti may have good chance to compete for the starting position?
-- Jed B.
Chamberlain, SD

The Vikings have several options when it comes to filling the void at middle linebacker, from staging a competition between Audie Cole, Tyrone McKenzie and Mauti to signing a veteran free agent to stem the tide until a younger option can be found. But the most intriguing option to me is moving Erin Henderson to the middle. That doesn’t mean the Vikings will or should do that, it just strikes me as a move that would make a lot of sense.

There are three primary reasons I like this idea. First, Henderson has the intelligence and instincts to play the middle. The top trait I want in my middle linebacker is instincts, and Henderson has that. Secondly, at 6-3, 244 pounds, Henderson has the size to mix it up with big, burly interior linemen and fill gaps in the running game. Thirdly, Henderson already plays in the Vikings nickel package as the middle linebacker, so it would be convenient for the defense and the defensive coaching staff to have the middle linebacker in the base 4-3 be the same player as the middle linebacker in the nickel package.

Remember, it took Erin’s older brother, EJ, a couple of seasons of playing outside linebacker before he became a star middle linebacker for the Vikings defense. Right now, Erin is following a similar path. Just an idea.

Can you explain his logic at giving up four draft picks for one “B” player at best (Patterson)? The San Francisco 49ers only gave up one additional draft pick to move up in the draft. Now I know the 49ers stayed in the first round and Spielman moved from the second to the first, but that doesn't mean he needs to give up a third of his picks, especially when there was not need to do it. If he took Manti Te'o, then maybe, but there were plenty of “B” wide receivers on the board, such as Keenan Allen, Justin Hunter and Robert Woods that he could have waited for in the second round. So please explain his logic for me.
-- Steve C.
San Jose, CA

There were several fans who emailed with this type of reaction to the trade that landed the Vikings Patterson. I couldn’t disagree more strongly with those who feel the Vikings paid too steep a price to move back into the first round. From the Combine through the start of the draft, most analysts identified the second half of the first round as the strength of this draft. The Vikings targeted that part of the draft, and came away with three players in that area.

It’s a mischaracterization to label Patterson a “B” receiver. Patterson is an elite prospect whom Mike Mayock called the most explosive playmaker in this draft next to Tavon Austin. Patterson also figures to be the team’s primary return man – both kickoffs and punts potentially. Patterson led the SEC, widely considered the best league in college football, in all-purpose yardage last year, and he became the first college football player since 2008 to score a touchdown four different ways (rushing, receiving, punt return, kickoff return) in one season.

Additionally, I’d actually argue the Vikings underpaid to get Patterson. The second-round pick sent to New England was swapped into a first-round pick (No. 29 overall). The Vikings had two fourth-round picks, and the fourth-rounder they traded to New England to move up wasn’t theirs in the first place. Essentially, the Vikings gave up a third-round pick and forfeited an extra fourth-round pick to move up from the second round into the first round to nab their third first-round prospect at a position of need. A seventh-round pick was also involved, but the Vikings had three seventh-round picks to begin with and they wound up with three total anyway after another trade later in the draft. On top of all that, the Vikings still selected nine total players, which is more than most teams and is on top of the nine players from last year’s draft who are still on the team.

It was a great move by the Vikings to come away with three first-round picks and cover three positions of need in the process. The trade comes down to this question: Would you rather have two first-round picks, a third-rounder and a fourth-rounder, or would you rather have three first-round picks? I’ll take the three elite players every day of the week.

I tend to agree with some analysts that the Vikings paid too high a price to move back up into the first round to get Patterson. Do you think the Vikings could have waited until the second round to make a move for a wide receiver?
-- Juan S.
Indianapolis, IN

As I stated above, I don’t think the Vikings paid too high a price to move back into the first round to select Patterson. Could the Vikings have not made the trade and waited until the second round to nab their receiver? Yes, but the elite receivers were off the board by the time the Vikings original second-round pick (#52 overall) came around. Had the Vikings stayed at No. 52, they would’ve seen Tavon Austin (No. 8), DeAndre Hopkins (No. 27), Patterson and Robert Woods (No. 41) go off the board. The next three receivers taken were Aaron Dobson (No. 59), Terrance Williams (No. 74) and Keenan Allen (No. 76). Patterson’s skill set is so special that he’s worth the picks it took to move up and get him over staying put and choosing among the remaining receivers at No. 52.

Having picked up WR Greg Jennings in free agency and WR Cordarrelle Patterson in the draft, I think wide receiver has turned from a weakness to a strength for the Vikings. Do you know how Greg Childs' rehab has been progressing since his injury back in August last year? If he stays healthy, what impact do you think he will have on the team this season, both as a wide receiver and on special teams?
-- Matt
London (UK)

I don’t have an official update on Childs’ rehab. I can tell you he’s been working diligently and rigorously since the injury to make it back, and I can also tell you how impressive his attitude has been through the whole process. Whether you watch him workout in the weight room like me or you follow him via social media, you know that Childs is dedicated to his career. If anyone can make it back from this injury, it’s Childs.

With that being said, I’m not going to set any sort of expectation for him. This is basically unprecedented territory when it comes to recovering and playing after this type of injury. I’m hopeful Childs will continue to progress and get back on the field at some point. If he does make it back, Childs will have a profound impact on the receiving corps in Minnesota. He has great size, is a good hands catcher (doesn’t trap the ball against his body to secure it), brings some confidence and swagger to the group and would be an inspiration to those on the team who are injured and rehab their way back.

 

Here are a few reader emails reacting to the draft – not asking questions, just sharing opinions.

 

-- From Tabb P.
Hey Mike! You can't have it all, but I think the Vikings came about as close as you can get in this year's draft. Yes, the middle linebacker position didn't get addressed, but we had two aces leave our roster in Harvin and Winfield and Spielman and Co. addressed both of those positions in the first round. I know it starts up the middle, but you have to feel good about any linebacker corps that has a wrecking ball like Chad Greenway anchoring one side. All-in-all we did ourselves a favor this year by getting our first three picks in this year's draft ALL IN THE FIRST ROUND! Why wait until the second and third rounds to get your #2 and #3, brilliant!

They come at a great time, too, with Greg Jennings and Kevin Williams acting as tutor/mentors for the young talent. I also think the defensive line rotation was something that really started working well for the Vikings last season. So happy to add a new Purple People Eater to the group in Sharrif Floyd. Going to be fun to watch this group in the new "vintage" looking uniforms bring the heat on Sundays!

Skol Vikings!

 

-- From Kent E.
Not so much a question, but I wanted to applaud our general manager, coaches, scouts and everyone involved in this year’s draft. I really liked that when they saw an opportunity to grab a player they liked, they went for it, even if it meant making some sacrifices or drafting someone that didn't play a position of need. I think that the decision to target offensive linemen, even if it was in the later rounds, was an interesting but very smart move. One of the Viking's strengths last season was in the offensive line, and the only big loss to the line was backup Geoff Schwartz, and drafting linemen shows that the Vikings are committed to maintaining a high-preforming offensive line. I'm looking forward to hearing you and PA rave this season about how long Christian Ponder has to find his receivers and how big of gaps the line is creating for Adrian Peterson to rush through while he is working toward 2,500 yards!

 

-- From Dan A. in Iowa City, IA
Hi Mike – Great draft again this year. I'm beginning to think that the most important contract extension the team faces may be Rick Spielman's. Every interview I've seen or read shows young men who are great human beings and they also have awesome football skills. Spielman and the crew really did their homework, and now the next few months until the season starts is going to be the longest of the year once again!