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Are the Vikings looking to add anyone off the free agent market, or are we relying more on training with the new coaching staff and/or the draft? -- Matthew R. Richfield, MN
I anticipate the Vikings being aggressive in all avenues available to them, including free agency. Last year the team was aggressive in signing receiver Greg Jennings, and it wouldn't surprise me to see the organization consider similar type of impact players to the defense this offseason. I don't believe the Vikings will spend past their means or more than a player's value, but I do believe the front office is determined to add talent to the roster, and the free agent market is one resource to help get the job done.
Seeing as the Vikings finished 14th in points per game and last in points allowed, wouldn't it make more sense to keep our quarterbacks and help out a struggling secondary in the draft? -- Matt G. Manitoba, Canada
Regardless of the results from last season, I don't believe any position is immune from being addressed in the offseason. While one can argue the defense bears more attention this offseason than the quarterbacks, another person could look at the situation and judge it the reverse. The bottom line is you can never have enough talented players on your roster, competition is always a good thing to have on your roster, and the process of building your roster is never-ending. My sense is we can expect to see the Vikings add talent to both the secondary and the quarterback position.
With all the talk of quarterbacks, I'd like to switch it up a bit. Another position of need that has been mentioned is offensive guard. Do you see the Vikings signing a free agent guard or drafting a guard in the second-to-third round? -- Zach W. Shorewood, MN
With a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator in the fold, with starting left guard Charlie Johnson scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency on March 11 and with a full complement of draft choices plus Seattle's third-rounder from the Percy Harvin trade, it would not surprise me in the least to see the Vikings add an offensive guard this offseason. That is not an indictment on the play of the Vikings guards in 2013, rather it's a suggestion based on the Vikings continued effort to improve the roster and leave no position immune from being addressed. One name to keep in mind through all of it is Jeff Baca, who was drafted in the sixth round last year out of UCLA and will be in line to compete for playing time at guard this offseason. I'd also be remiss without mentioning Brandon Fusco, a player I feel has steadily progressed since being drafted by the Vikings in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. Hitting on players such as Fusco is key to building a talented roster that can compete for the long-term. A team simply can't afford to have first-rounders and blue-chip free agents at every position. At some point you need your mid-round, late-round and undrafted guys to step up and become quality starters with whom you can win for 16 games, and that's exactly what Fusco has become for the Vikings.
Let's say the draft is tomorrow and you are the GM of the Vikings. What would you do with our first three picks? -- Jose T.
One thing I would not do is predetermine my actions; I believe that is the best way to get yourself in trouble and end up foregoing the chance to add talented players to your roster. For the purposes of answering Jose's question, though, as of this moment my course of action would be to take my favorite quarterback in the class at No. 8. If he wasn't available, I would either take the best defensive player on the board or trade back if there wasn't a defensive player worthy of the No. 8 pick. I would then look to take a quarterback in the second round, and if there wasn't a quarterback worthy of the 40th overall selection I would follow the same process as I did with No. 8 (taking the top defensive player or trading back). I would then take the same course of action in the third round. Remember, the Vikings currently have two selections in the third-round, which gives them the option of using one of those third-rounders to move up or stay put with both selections and add two good players.
I sent all sorts of complaints this last season. I thought I'd send something positive now. I'm extremely impressed with the coaching choices. I look forward to next season now. I think Mike Zimmer should make an immediate impact. Just thought I'd say something positive. -- Tim B. Grand Rapids, MN
I share in Tim's optimism about the coaching staff and excitement for the 2014 season. While 2013 may not have been the Vikings year and there were times when it felt like the team was a long way from attaining its goals, the 2013 season also illustrated to us once again that things can and do change rapidly in the NFL. At this time last year, the Baltimore Ravens were celebrating a Super Bowl victory, but they didn't even make the playoffs this year. At this time last year, the Kansas City Chiefs were preparing to make the first overall selection in the draft. This year they started the season 9-0 and finished 11-5. The NFL is a great league for many reasons, and one of those reasons is that the only thing you can expect is change.