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Happy Canada Day to us Skol Canadians and Happy Fourth of July to the folks south of the border! My question is: Why do you feel the Vikings always get overlooked? No complaints, as flying under the radar is great for teams. It's just all "experts" I see think Aaron Rodgers makes the Packers the team to beat.
-- Stirling Bennett
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
It's understandable why a Vikings fan would feel their team is being overlooked when an analyst predicts a team other than the Vikings to win the NFC North. After all, the Vikings have won two of the past three division titles and this offseason they added Kirk Cousins and Sheldon Richardson. At the same time, let's not forget just how good Rodgers is. When he's on the field, Green Bay can win any game. No matter how you slice it before the season begins, both of these teams should be in it to win it as the season comes to a close.
With a new offensive coordinator and quarterback, do you think our offense takes off Week 1 or do you think it will take a few games to get going? I think we may see a bump in the road the first few games.
-- Curtis Moore
Interesting question and one upon which two intelligent football people could easily disagree. The fact that such important parts of the offense are new to the team would seem to make it logical that some growing pains may be in the offing. At the same time, what should mitigate those growing pains is the fact that virtually every other part of the offense is returning, including five offensive linemen who started at least seven games last year and everyone who plays a primary role running or catching the football. With as quick a study as Cousins is, as talented as offensive coordinator John DeFilippo is and with a great defense as the team's anchor, I expect the offense to perform well early in the season and keep getting better as the season progresses.
I feel some Vikings such as Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith and Adam Thielen were shorted on the NFL Network Top 100 Players list. They should've been rated higher on the list. What are your thoughts?
-- Joseph Sexe
Look, the NFL Top 100 Players list is not a perfect list and I don't think anyone, including the hard-working folks at NFL Media, would proclaim it to be so. It's a player-voted list and it's designed to A) recognize talented players and B) generate conversation. I agree some Vikings were probably rated lower than they should've been. Rhodes coming in at No. 55 and Linval Joseph coming at No. 83 is a bit laughable. But I'm sure many other teams' fans believe their players were shorted, too. I feel that Mike Daniels at No. 94 is far too low, as an example. And how about Taylor Lewan at No. 78, Landon Collins at No. 92 and Malcolm Jenkins at No. 96? All far too low, in my view.
How are the undrafted free agents looking? I'm especially interested to hear about WR Jeff Badet and DB Holton Hill.
-- Sean Sinkola
Badet was a big banged up early in OTAs, so it was hard to get a great look at him. But his speed and quickness are exciting traits, so I'm excited to see him in training camp later this month. Hill has great size yet still moves very well, so it will be fun to watch head coach Mike Zimmer work with him during training camp. Hill is part of a cornerback depth chart that has some depth to it.
I just purchased my flight and Delta Sky360 Club tickets for the Vikings vs. Saints game. What games this year are you excited about?
-- Justin Wilson
The home game against Green Bay is always one to circle, especially when it's on Sunday Night Football; that Saints game is also a home game on Sunday Night Football. This could be the Vikings last (regular season) look at Tom Brady, so that is certainly a game to which I look forward. The Thursday night game in Los Angeles should be a great atmosphere and a highly-anticipated clash. And how can you not be excited for the season opener (vs. San Francisco)? The Vikings home slate of games is solid and also includes an appearance by Sam Bradford, Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. and the Arizona Cardinals.