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Monday Morning Mailbag: Assessing The Wide Receivers

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Let's begin this week's Mailbag with a solemn and sincere thank you to the brave men and women who have served our country and protected our freedom. Without their sacrifice, and the subsequent sacrifice made their loved ones, our ability to do the things we love to do every day would be challenged. Memorial Day allows for great fun and is the official kickoff to a great part of the year, but it comes to us at the expense of many great Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice. We thank you.

On to your mail…

I am very excited about all of the talent I see on the team this offseason. There seems to be a nice mix of veterans leading a strong group of young guys. Though the receiver position is certainly loaded, why aren't we taking advantage of the veteran WRs on the free agent market that we could likely get for a good price? Such as Anquan Boldin, Roddy White, Marques Colston, James Jones, etc. Thanks! Skol Vikings! -- Kevin Louisville, KY (Go Cards!)

We are at a point in the offseason where you're not going to find many veteran free agent signings. Teams are right in the middle of their Organized Team Activities and minicamps, so rather than adding a new veteran to the mix right now they are going to let the guys they already have battle it out for spots on the depth chart. Adding a veteran now would only take reps away from some of the younger players on the roster who likely have a higher ceiling or at least have a longer career in front of them. A time will come for teams to add veterans to their roster – perhaps right before training camp or perhaps once it becomes apparent that the current players on the roster won't be enough to get the job done. Also keep in mind it might be the unsigned veterans themselves who are choosing to stay available on the open market, waiting for a team need to pop up so they can use that as leverage in contract talks rather than desperately taking the only offer that is out there currently.

I think people are forgetting about how great Charles Johnson played in 2014. Last season he broke a rib in September. I've had a broken rib and every breath hurts! I can't imagine running, much less exposing your injury to extend for a ball. He is as big as Treadwell and he is healed up and now knows the system better. Teddy should have time to throw this year. That can give him the long ball. Great depth, great coaches! Really excited to see this year's team play! Sky is the limit! -- Joel Duluth, MN

That's a good point. Phil Loadholt and John Sullivan are frequently mentioned as veterans who are returning from injury and could make their positions group stronger, but Johnson certainly fits this description, as well. I do think his injury held him back more than people realized last year and now I think he's healthy and is poised to step up and compete for serious playing time in 2016.

How does Cordarrelle Patterson look so far in terms of his route running and attitude? -- Cullen Dillard

Patterson looks improved. He's made a bunch of plays in 11-on-11 action during OTAs so far and, as you can tell by his interview with us last week, he has a great attitude. I am optimistic about his progress as a developing WR and about his ability to impact the offense in 2016.

How do you think the Vikings coaching staff will evaluate MoBo? Will it be how far and what he has learned from the time they started coaching him or will it be where he is in relation to other rookie wide receivers? -- Kim Wetzel Bismarck, ND

Excellent question. And I think the answer is "a little bit of both." At the end of the day, he'll be judged based on how he looks relative to the other WRs. If one assumes he won't make the 53-man roster, then it'll come down to how he looks compared to other players being considered for the practice squad. But the issue of how far he comes between now and roster cutdown day is also relevant because that growth will help represent his ability to learn and to realize his potential. If the coaches and scouts believe Böhringer grows a significant amount in the short time he's here, that may give them confidence that he can continue his growth and one day realize his potential. That, in turn, would motivate the Vikings to keep him over another player who may not display the same ability to realize his potential, even if that potential may be higher than Böhringer's.

Do you think having John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt back, along with the addition of Alex Boone and Andre Smith, Adrian Peterson can be back in contention with Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record? I mean, without four of those key players he managed nearly 1,500 last year. -- Brock Elbers

I've learned to never bet against Adrian Peterson. So, yes, I do believe the improvements to the offensive line give Peterson the chance to challenge Dickerson's record again. But I believe Peterson has the ability to challenge the record regardless of who is blocking in front of him; he's that good. In the end, though, the hope is that the improvements to the offensive line result in the Vikings actually being more balanced on offense, which would in theory more likely result in Peterson not rushing for 2,000 yards because the team would find more opportunity in the passing game.

With the heightened expectations for the Vikings this year (like players openly saying that the Super Bowl is the goal), how will Coach Zimmer address the new complexities this brings to the psychological aspect of playing the game? For example, does this potentially create the problem of players trying to do too much? -- Patrick Strain Onalaska, WI

Players trying to do too much is something coaching staffs have to manage regularly and is not something unique to teams with high expectations. I would also say that teams and individuals on teams are frequently open about ambitious goals, even winning the Super Bowl. With how great the parity is in the NFL right now, every team should have winning the Super Bowl on its goal list every year.

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