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Monday Morning Mailbag: Final Pre-Draft Thoughts & Checking on Griffen's Status

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I have been a Vikings fan, since I was 5 years old. I am now 34. Like many other fans, I would love to see us draft an offensive lineman in the first round! I believe that is where we need to get better. I understand that, with all of the departures, cornerback is an area of need! Stefon Diggs leaves a gaping hole in our arsenal of offense! I still believe that we need to take the best player available!

At number 22, if [Oklahoma linebacker] Kenneth Murray is still available, is there any player that you can honestly say that would likely drop to us that could make the kind of immediate impact that a player of his skills could for our team? I truly believe that, if you pair his talents with Jeff Gladney at number 25 and the rest of our defense, we could become one of the best defenses in the league again!

— David Lidtke in Rose Creek, Minnesota

David starts us off with an email that perfectly captures the essence of draft week! Ask 10 Vikings fans, and you'll likely get 10 different names for who they think Minnesota should take in the first round. Wide receiver, cornerback, offensive tackle and edge rusher are the positions I have seen most-often linked to the Vikings in recent mock drafts, and we're only a few days away from finding out what direction the team will go.

Murray is certainly a great player and was a star at Oklahoma. You can read more about Murray and other LBs in the 2020 draft class here. Perhaps Minnesota takes your advice and doubles up on defense in the first round, but the Vikings could easily do the same on offense with, say, a wide receiver and an offensive lineman.

The fun begins this week, and we'll have wall-to-wall coverage of everything on Vikings.com.

Wondering if the Vikings have offered Everson [Griffen] a multi-year guaranteed contract at probably a lower amount than he might be offered for a shorter and unsure (not guaranteed) period of time? Love to see the man back and retire as a Viking. His skill level is a known. His influence and +100% effort on the field is a known. Would put the $$$ on #97 for sentimental reasons and for quality of effort and play vs an unproven rookie draft pick or undrafted player. SKOL!

— Noel in Bayfield, Wisconsin

If Everson Griffen is still a free agent, any chance the Vikings will re-sign him for a couple more years?

— Alex B. from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

We're combining these questions from Noel and Alex about Griffen. To start, Noel is spot-on about Everson's heart and passion, he's one of the best emotional leaders I've been around.

And yes, he is currently still a free agent and hasn't signed elsewhere. Most of the focus right now for teams is on the draft, but it's fair to assume the Vikings front office is staying in touch with him and his agent, even if to keep up-to-date on his status.

Perhaps things will play out regarding Everson's status after the draft is complete. But whether or not he returns to Minnesota, it's clear that he will be one of the most-respected and beloved players from this Vikings era in team history.

View NFL Network Draft Analyst Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 NFL Draft prospect rankings in photos.

Prior to the draft, do GMs talk with each other about possible trade up/trade down scenarios to see who may be interested and at what price?

— Steve in Nashville, Tennessee

I'm not privy to those front-office conversations, but you'd imagine they do happen in the days and weeks leading up to the draft. In fact, the combine is usually viewed as a starting point for the offseason, whether that's for free agency or trades, including those that may not come to fruition until late April.

Something to note this year is that NFL general managers, coaches and league officials are going to have a test run/mock draft today so everyone can have a trial run for the virtual draft that will take place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While teams will obviously play things close to the vest there, it will help everyone get comfortable for later in the week, when trade fireworks could start happening in the first round.

Teams put forth extensive and highly visible efforts in their college scouting departments, but they also have pro scouts keeping eyes on talent already within the league, and it's likely they make notes of players who could be considered for trades.

View every Vikings first round NFL Draft picks through the years.

Is there a formal process for shortening the NFL season? For example, would the one-off games versus the NFC East & West be dropped first, then games versus the AFC South? The data suggests COVID-19 is a long way from over and games may well be held without crowds for much of the season.

— Rob E. in New Zealand

These are unprecedented times and people are trying to come up with various solutions for the football-aspect of this pandemic. Those decisions will likely include the Commissioner, owners, GMs, coaches … people way above my pay grade. Since this is unlike anyone has seen in recent times, I imagine talks will have to be extensive and detailed to come up with a plan for various different scenarios for the schedule. Is it the standard 16 games, or is it reduced to a smaller number?

The league's focus is on getting through the draft, which will be different than any before. After that, there have been reports that the schedule is expected to be released by mid-May. We'll see if the league includes anything such as contingency plan when that happens. We all hope that the 2020 season goes as planned, but like with most things these days, it's a waiting game for all of us.

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