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Monday Morning Mailbag: The Classic Look; Tech's Impact on Player Safety

Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the Mailbag! Every Monday we'll post several comments and/or questions as part of the Monday Morning Mailbag. Although we can't post every comment or question, we will reply to every question submitted.

Click here to submit a comment or question to the Mailbag. Remember to include your name and town on the email. If Twitter is your jam, you can send a question to me that way as well.

Who's ready for Vikings Training Camp?

Quarterbacks, rookies and select veterans reported Sunday, and the remainder of players are scheduled to report Tuesday.

The first public practice is scheduled for Saturday.

Before we get to questions, I'd like to welcome Ellis Williams to the Editorial Team as a full-time seasonal assistant. Ellis is starting with us today. He has prior experience covering the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers at major newspapers. Having read numerous stories he's written, Lindsey Young and I are looking forward to what he'll add to our coverage.

Sorry for being a bit vague last week when I said we'd have some fun content. That was a veiled reference to the launch of The Classic, a new, retro-inspired way of paying homage to the team's earliest voyages. We'll start today's Mailbag with a reaction to The Classic, which features a deeper purple on the jersey than the modern version, traditional stripes on the sleeves and numbers with gold trim on slab serif font.

Players who participated in the promotional photo shoot all reacted positively, which was captured in a video by my Vikings Entertainment Network colleagues.

Love, love, love The Classic uniforms. The richness of the purple, along with the stripe pants is outstanding and should be adopted as the norm every day. Haven't seen the helmets. I hope they match. I for one, was never someone who liked the lighter purple color used the past few years. Opposing teams need to fear us, and the darker color promotes that idea.


— Nicholas Balkou

The deeper purple is a nice touch, even if it maybe is not quite as dark as some of the shades worn in the 1960s and '70s. It will be interesting to see how it appears on televisions in Week 1 when the Vikings sport the look as they open the 2023 season by hosting the Buccaneers.

Purple can be a tricky color to work with and match. The difference in materials of the jerseys and helmets prompted a long effort to match the colors of the modern versions. The Classic helmets will continue to match the modern jerseys, but the Week 1 look will have gray facemasks and older horns.

I've seen multiple people say they wouldn't mind for The Classic to become "the standard," but I also think the details on the modern jerseys do a solid job of identifying the Vikings.

Personally, I think it's great options for NFL teams have increased. I don't see a need for every franchise to become like some college programs with how often they change things up, but it is nice to offer a different look.

View photos of the first-wave of players arriving for 2023 Vikings Training Camp at the TCO Performance Center.

In 2022, the Vikings o-line spent a lot of time helping [Kirk] Cousins get up after hits. Considering the lineup today, the same o-line is returning. How will things be better this season?


Without spoiling Episode 3 of Quarterback, I think the series does a tremendous job of illustrating what Cousins does every week to be at his best. This chronicling by the Netflix series includes plenty of NFL Films footage of walloping hits that Cousins took, endured and overcame multiple times.

The offensive line is projected to have high continuity. Familiarity with each other and playing for a second consecutive year in the system should help the unit, but improvements also rest with each player advancing himself.

If you missed Lindsey's camp preview on the offensive line last week, please check it out.

Christian Darrisaw's leap from Year 1 to Year 2 was incredible. Brian O'Neill recalled making a similar jump earlier in his career. While it might not be fair to project a leap quite as big for Ingram, it seems like the Vikings believe he will take a step forward with his pass blocking at the NFL level. Ingram, Garrett Bradbury and Ezra Cleveland had to function well together on the inside to help.

Greetings. I have a couple tech/equipment questions. I understand at least some players have GPS tracking devices in their pads. How is that used? Do all players have those? Are there other sensors within the pads or helmet? Also, what preventative precautions do the training staff do concerning potential heat exhaustion. Do players still swallow those electronic pills to monitor body temperature?

— Florian Kubes in Montreal, Canada

Appreciate the interest in some of the behind-the-scenes impacts on the game.

This story is almost two years old, but it briefly explains the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags in helmets, pads and even mouthguards. NFL stadiums have a system to process the data for every player.

Those inputs are being used to try to advance the designs of equipment and advance player safety.

They've also been able to contribute to the burgeoning world of advanced statistics (Next Gen Stats).

The Vikings track data during practices as well, including walk-throughs, to monitor player participation and try to prevent injuries/lighten some workloads from time to time.

I'm sure most have heard about "vet days" during training camp. Well, the Health and Performance staff can use advanced information before suggesting to Head Coach Kevin O'Connell when the best time might be to grant a vet day or lighten the load.

I must admit that I had no previous awareness of the ingestible temperature trackers until this email, so I did a little reading on them and their use in the medical community.

All NFL teams take seriously the effects of heat on players. It's been nearly 22 years since the Korey Stringer tragedy occurred in Mankato. Korey's wife, Kelci, and the Korey Stringer Institute have been committed to preventing exertional heat stroke. Colleagues have shared just how special Korey was, and we can all hope that people take those seriously.

View photos of the Vikings top defensive tacklers of all-time.

What do the Vikings have to gain by extending Justin Jefferson when he has TWO years left on his rookie contract? I can see doing it next year, but why two years early? Is it just to gain the goodwill of the player? I mean, they sign these contracts for a reason, right?

— Steve Crescenzo

There's been some talk in the media and elsewhere about extending Jefferson, but I've generally pointed out that he is now under contract through the 2024 season thanks to Minnesota exercising it's fifth-year option.

Jefferson has earned qualifiers to increase his salary on the fifth-year option to that of a player who has been franchise-tagged, so that will be in the ballpark of $19 million for a receiver in 2024.

The Vikings have stated their interest in Jefferson being with the team for years to come; maintaining goodwill between both parties is never bad. Beyond that, I suppose if the Vikings wanted to try some salary cap maneuvering for elsewhere on the roster, they could try to make a long-term extension, but at the very least, Minnesota will be prepared to pay him through the current contract as the parties work on terms for the second contract.

Rookie contracts are a bit different than any others because of the scaling that was agreed to by owners and the NFL Players Association. Teams gained the fifth-year extension option for first-round picks, which is helpful considering the scarcity of first-round picks.

Sometimes teams try to rework contracts; other occasions, players want to revisit them.