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Monday Morning Mailbag: Bradbury's 2020 Outlook, Using the Franchise Tag on Harris?

View the top photos of Vikings C Garrett Bradbury from the 2019 season.

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I noticed that a lot of the experts were a little down on Bradbury because he would get pushed around in pass blocking. Do you think he needs to add more weight or just get better technique?

— Pete in New Richmond, Wisconsin

Thanks for starting us off, Peter. Bradbury will never be the biggest guy on the field, but he might be one of the most athletic, and that's what fits the Vikings offensive scheme and what the coaches are looking for. The hope with Bradbury is that he takes a step forward in Year 2, similar to what Brian O'Neill did this past season at right tackle.

Here is what Coach Zimmer said about Bradbury, a 2019 first-round pick, at the combine this past week:

"I think Garrett had a heck of a year. He played a lot of plays, played a lot of games, made a lot of the right calls. I would say just continuing his development. Early in the year he had some holding penalties that he needed to clean up with some of his hands, so partly that. Part of it would be pass protection."

The Vikings were generally pleased with Bradbury's first season. He became the first Vikings rookie to start all 16 games at center in franchise history, and the team is optimistic that he can anchor down the middle of the offensive line for years to come.

Is it more likely we sign Anthony Harris to a contract or franchise him for the 2020 season?

— Drew in Plainfield

Good question on Harris, and we'll likely find that out in the coming weeks as free agency is officially scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. (CT) on March 18. Remember, the "legal tampering" period starts on Monday, March 16. Teams and agents can start negotiating contracts with prospective free agents during that window.

In my view, there are 3 options regarding Harris:

1. The Vikings re-sign him to a long-term deal.

2. The Vikings use the franchise tag, either for the duration of 2020 or to buy time to work out a long-term deal.

3. Harris signs with another team.

I'm not going to hand out percentages on those three choices, but the Vikings have rarely used the franchise tag in recent years, so that might be the least viable option. Hopefully he is back in Purple, as he has proven to be a dynamic player, and is beloved my teammates and staff alike.

I know I will offend many, but [running backs] are plentiful in this draft. I love [Dalvin] Cook — he gives it all every play — but he has been out with injuries every year. If we could get a really good back with maybe a first and two third round picks, it could help the team. What do you think?

— Jeff Gutierrez

I have to respectfully disagree with you on Cook. He is one of the game's top playmakers at his position. Yes, he missed time in his first two seasons due to ACL and hamstring injuries, but the games he missed this past season were more out of precaution.

He could have played if needed in the final two games, but didn't since the Vikings were already in prime position for a playoff spot — thanks for Cook's strong season. He finished with 1,135 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns, and was a key reason why the Vikings finished sixth overall in rushing yards in 2019.

I highly doubt the team will spend an early pick on a running back — much less two of them — especially since the Vikings also have Alexander Mattison on the roster. He could take on a bigger role in 2020, and could team with Cook to give Minnesota one of the top 1-2 punches in the backfield among all teams.

_I have a question regarding Xavier Rhodes. I would love to see us re-sign or franchise tag Anthony Harris, but I'm realistic in believing it won't be financially feasible._

View the top photos of Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes from the 2019 season.

Is there any chance that Xavier restructures and moves to safety? I think his tackling skills and ability to cover tight ends would benefit the team rather than keeping him out on an island. He still has plenty of speed to be effective at safety. Thoughts?

— Spencer Davis in Fargo, North Dakota

You make a good point, and we've seen players such as Terence Newman move from cornerback to safety when needed in the past. Switching from cornerback to safety involves numerous changes. Your scenario with Xavier is a possibility, but I'd put it as low since he still provides value as a cornerback. Perhaps this is a scenario farther down the road, but isn't likely in 2020.

While it's looking more and more likely there could be somewhat significant personnel change this offseason, what are the chances the Vikings can restructure the contacts of guys like Riley Reiff, Xavier Rhodes, Linval Joseph, etc., to save enough cap room to retain guys like Everson Griffen and Anthony Harris? It seems to be pretty rare in the NFL these days to have a core group of players like the Vikings that have been together this long, and it would be cool to see them together for as long as possible.

— Michael in Chicago

Those are great questions, and ones we'll hopefully have the answers to soon. The Vikings have been able to restructure deals in the past, and they may need to do so again, especially given their current cap space. That's a two-way street though, as players have to agree to that as well.

You are correct in that it's rare to have a unit be together this long. Every decision that will be made this month, and in the draft, will be about trying to reach the ultimate goal.

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