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Monday Morning Mailbag: A Running Mate For Rudy?

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Will Sam be doing any offseason work with the WRs, TEs and RBs like Teddy did last year? -- Florian @flokubes

I can see Bradford doing that at some point this offseason, but keep in mind that the most important offseason work a quarterback and his skill position players can do is the work they do in the offseason program with the oversight of the coaching staff. The coaches put the players through drills and situations during offseason program with the knowledge of the kinds of things they'll want installed for training camp and the preseason, and players can't do that same thing working on their own away from the facility.  

I think we have a solid WR core. That being said, do you think adding another top level tight end next to Rudolph, somewhat similar to how New England does it, could help improve our passing attack. -- Austin Bryant

Certainly it could. Rudolph put up career numbers last season, so it's clear that A) offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur likes incorporating the tight end into his plans and B) Bradford feels comfortable with Rudolph and therefore may also feel comfortable with another pass-catching tight end. Throughout the coverage of last week's Senior Bowl practices, we heard a lot about how this is supposed to be a deep tight end class. If you're one who would like the Vikings to invest in another tight end who can similar things to Rudolph, this year's draft may be a place to look.

Without a first-round pick, what are the chances the Vikings can get an offensive lineman who can start? -- Mark Pothen

Only three of the 10 offensive line starters in this year's Super Bowl were taken with a first-round pick. The other seven are broken down like this: two second-rounders, one third-rounder, one fourth-rounder, one fifth-rounder, two undrafted. Also, Green Bay has the best offensive line in the NFC North and they started just one first-rounder – Bryan Bulaga. The other four starters consisted of two fourth-rounders, a fifth-rounder and an undrafted player. Not having a 1st-round pick shouldn't inhibit the Vikings from improving their offensive line at all. The offensive line isn't unlike any other position in that the higher a draft pick you use on one, the better chance that player has to succeed. But maybe unlike a lot of other positions, there are a lot of success stories of players taken in middle or late rounds and as undrafted players.

I was wondering if you knew of any books or sites for learning the concepts and nuisances of the game we both love? I'm trying to further understand the sport by understanding terminology and techniques. -- Gabriel Morse

I love this question and I absolutely have a few things for you to check out. Aside from perusing vikings.com multiple times on a daily basis, checkout the website www.realfootballnetwork.com. Those guys do a terrific job of posting audio-only, video and written content that is very Xs and Os driven. They do stuff about the current happenings of the League and then they also break the game down at a fundamental level, such as diagraming what Cover 2 or Cover 3 is and explaining the differences between a 4-3 front and a 3-4 front. In terms of books, I think Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look is a great place to start. I have it and I've read it, and I think it's an interesting read for anyone who loves football, whether you're new to the game or a seasoned observer. Lastly, if you can swing the cost of a subscription, being able to dial into Sirius XM NFL Radio is a great way to gain insight into the game because they have a variety of hosts and their programming is geared 100% to the NFL 365 days a week.

TJ Clemmings to me is the wild card with the offensive line. Do the Vikings think he could start at right guard? If he can that would be huge. -- Duane Miller

I don't know if the team thinks he play or start at right guard and I don't know if the team plans to kick him inside to guard. We'll find out that answer based on the players the team acquires in free agency and the draft and then based on where they play Clemmings and others once the offseason program begins. The thing with Clemmings is he's young and still fairly new to the offensive line because he transitioned from defensive line at the University of Pittsburgh, but he also has two years of starting experience under his belt. To me, that makes him an interesting project for offensive line coach Tony Sparano and the rest of the offensive staff. In Clemmings, you have a young, impressionable player who has been through some battles already. That gives him a chance to continue developing and improving and perhaps become a valuable guy to have on the roster down the road in terms of depth.

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