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I was wondering if you know or could you ask [Vikings Offensive Coordinator] Klint Kubiak if he is going to put in some third-down and red-zone packages for Kellen Mond this season. This would get him some game-time experience and utilize his mobility.
— Steven from California
An interesting question from Steven, who leads us off with an inquiry about Minnesota's rookie quarterback.
Numerous fans have asked about Mond since he was drafted in the third round this spring, whether they want to know how he's looked in practice or what his long-term future could be like in Purple.
I've hit on this before on Mond, and I'll say it again here, but there's a strong chance that Mond doesn't see the field at all as a rookie in 2021.
Mond didn't get any first-team reps this spring, which is a bit expected since Kirk Cousins is the unquestioned starter. But he appeared to be behind Jake Browning and Nate Stanley in team drills, too, as those two primarily worked with the backups.
In other words, Mond had limited reps in what we've seen from him so far. And that leads me to believe that getting him on the field in certain packages doesn't seem plausible this season.
This is an important season for the Vikings, as there is pressure on many to win and get back to the playoffs after how disappointing the 2020 season was. Based on that, the team will be heavily focused on winning games and not so much on getting a rookie quarterback a chance to show what he has in his first season.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer is a known stickler for the finer points of the game, and he often refers to how important critical areas such as third downs or the red zone are to winning games. I doubt Zimmer will want a rookie quarterback on the field in those times if Mond isn't fully ready to go.
And for what it's worth, Cousins has been really good in the red zone in his entire career. According to pro-football-reference.com, he has a 100.7 passer rating inside the 20-yard line, his best rating of any area on the field. Cousins also has a 123:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 439 career attempts.
Mond certainly has a potentially bright future in this league. It just may take some time to see it based on the situation he's in and the team he is on right now.
I love the talent, versatility and depth at all levels of the defense. We have a great mix of youth and veteran presence. I really feel we will go into this season with a chip on our shoulder. Our defense will want to prove themselves each and every game.
— Gerald Goblirsch
Appreciate the email from Gerald, who hits on a few key points about the defense. He is correct in that there is plenty of optimism around that unit right now, especially after how last year played out.
And there is certainly a strong veteran presence across the board, along with a handful of intriguing young players.
Up front, Danielle Hunter, Michael Pierce, Dalvin Tomlinson and Sheldon Richardson are proven vets who have had great success in the league. Pair them with rookies Patrick Jones II and Janarius Robinson, plus D.J. Wonnum, and that group should be much better than last year.
Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr obviously lead the way at linebacker, but that third spot could go to a youngster such as Troy Dye or Chazz Surratt, depending on what happens in the coming months. The Vikings might have the league's top linebacker duo, with lots of options behind them.
And there is now plenty of experience on the back end, something that wasn't the case a year ago. Harrison Smith, Patrick Peterson, Mackensie Alexander, Bashaud Breeland and Xavier Woods could be the starters in the secondary, and all have played at least four NFL seasons. Smith and Peterson, especially have tons of knowledge, while Breeland has played in back-to-back Super Bowls.
That doesn't mean that youngsters such as Cam Dantzler, Harrison Hand, Jeff Gladney and Camryn Bynum won't be helpful; that's good, young depth on any team.
Gerald is also spot on that there will undoubtedly be a chip on this unit's shoulder this season. The 2020 season was frustrating for all involved, including Zimmer, and the whole defense is determined to not have a repeat performance.
I expect that unit to return to the form we've seen in previous years. Maybe they don't lead the league in points and yards allowed per game like 2017, but the potential is there to be a top-10 defense that helps the Vikings get back to the postseason.
View photos of the Vikings 2021 coaching staff.
This may sound crazy, but given the Vikings use of a fullback in their offense, is there any chance that the team would consider signing Adrian Peterson to play that role? I like C.J. Ham, but I do believe that AP would be a significant upgrade at the position. AP's pass catching has improved to the point where his ability is equal to C.J.'s, and I believe his blocking, especially being the lead blocker for Dalvin Cook, would open up even bigger holes. Then there's always the chance that he may get the carry, more so than C.J., which I believe would do wonders for the offense, especially Dalvin. I'm not sure AP would be interested in playing that role full-time, but I believe it's worth a shot. What do you think?
— John Burchardt
John's email follows up on a question we tackled in a Mailbag a month ago that asked if a reunion between Peterson and the Vikings would be possible at running back.
The answer to that question was a no, and the answer for this one is the same.
Sorry John, but I just can't see a player with the fifth-most rushing yards in NFL history taking a role as a leader blocker on any team, much less the one where he holds franchise records in essentially every statistical category.
"Yo Adrian, get out there and block Bobby Wagner so we can hand the ball to Dalvin."
That will not be happening. Plus, it's not like the Vikings have some below-average player at that position already.
Ham is a Pro Bowler and one of the most selfless and popular players on the team. He's a big reason why Cook has made back-to-back Pro Bowls himself and is considered one of the league's best running backs.
Perhaps we'll get more Peterson-Vikings reunion emails until he either signs with another team or retires, but let's put the visions of him wearing a Vikings Purple uniform again to rest.