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Monday Morning Mailbag: Backfield By Committee, Depth at TE

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In 2015, Adrian Peterson rushed for 1,485 yards. If the Vikings can get to or exceed that mark in 2017, what is the best way to get there? By committee approach with Latavius Murray, Dalvin Cook and Jerick McKinnon? One running back stepping up and shouldering the load? Or doesn't it matter – as long as a threat is there and we get close to 1,485 yards, we're good? -- Kris in UT

There are a lot of different ways a team can effectively rush the ball, but for now it appears for the 2017 Vikings it will be a joint effort among Cook, McKinnon and Murray. What I like about this triumvirate is that they aren't distinct from one another, which means offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur won't be tipping his hand as to what's coming with a play call based on which back is on the field. All three backs can play on all three downs. Cook has done nothing but impress since he arrived for rookie camp last month, McKinnon is currently taking reps with the first-team offense and Murray has yet to see the field as he recovers from an ankle injury. Ultimately, I expect this new-look Vikings backfield to help yield vastly improved numbers in the running game and I am certain they will collectively account for more than 1,485 yards.

Do you see Terrance Newman possible filling the nickel cornerback role? Or where do you see him fitting? -- Caleb Gibbs Malawi, Africa

The beautiful thing about Newman's presence on the roster is he gives the Vikings great security at multiple spots, including both outside cornerback and nickel cornerback. With Newman on the roster, the Vikings can put Trae Waynes as the starter outside and Mack Alexander as the starter at nickel and still know they have a solid contingency plan in place should either of those young cornerbacks need a reprieve. Waynes showed me enough last year and has shown me enough so far during OTAs that I see Newman spending a bit more time as the nickel this year, but at this point it's just a guess. With all of that being said, Newman is good enough to play regularly on the outside, so don't rule out him playing significant snaps there.

The Vikings have made it known that they like to pass the ball. They tried to sign Jared Cook. Why don't we try to go after Gary Barnidge? A Barnidge/Rudolph pair would be pretty good for Sam Bradford -- Josh Jankowski

Since Cook's visit and subsequent decision to sign with Oakland, the Vikings have drafted a tight end and they've seen an impressive several weeks from both David Morgan and free agent signing Nick Truesdell. My sense is the team is more interested in seeing what those three can do than they are in bringing in a veteran. That could change at some point and then Barnidge would be an option, but for now I see the Vikings sticking with what they have and trying to develop their own young players.

Who is going to replace Chad Greenway at the linebacker position? -- Kristian Showman

That is still unknown at this point. Kentrell Brothers and Edmond Robinson are logical choices to be that third starter, but there are as many as five viable candidates. The interesting part about this position battle is some of those five are inside linebackers and some of them are outside linebackers, which could make for some interesting depth chart shuffling at some point before the season starts.

How is Bucky Hodges looking in OTAs? I feel he would be a great red zone threat opposite of Kyle Rudolph. Your thoughts? -- Jay Joseph Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Hodges may become that kind of players, but as stated in an earlier answer, both Morgan and Truesdell have impressed the last several weeks, too. More importantly, Rudolph looks great. He's had a really good offseason program and looks to be picking up right where left off following a strong 2016 season. I expect Rudolph to see a ton of targets in 2017 and I think he'll make the most out of them.

With minicamp coming up, how close are the Vikings to filling the 90-man roster? How many are veterans, free agent acquisitions and rookies? -- Blake Dufner Richmond, MN

The Vikings roster stands at 90 players entering this week. By my count, the breakdown goes like this:

-- Draft picks: 39
-- Undrafted free agents: 23
-- Free agents: 22
-- Trade: 3
-- Other teams' practice squads: 3

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