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Monday Morning Mailbag: Battle for Third WR Spot, Going Defensive Line with Pick No. 18, More

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A lot of experts have the Vikings taking an offensive lineman at No. 18. But with the strength of this class being on defense, specifically the defensive line, do you think the Vikings would consider taking a defensive lineman in the 1st round if a top 10 talent falls to them?
-- Robbie Massie
Minnetonka, MN

Yes, I do believe the Vikings would take a defensive lineman at No. 18 if that is what their board dictated when they were on the clock. We all know GM Rick Spielman's philosophy by now. He is not going to bypass a higher-graded player for a lower-graded player solely because of need. With that being said, team need is factored into the process of building a draft board. So if two players at different positions have the same grade, they are prioritized based on several factors, including team need.

What are we doing in free agency or in the draft to compete with the elite teams in the NFC and the rest of the League?
-- Jerreginal Royal
Summerville, SC

Draft, develop and re-sign. That has been the Vikings philosophy under Spielman and it's worked well (Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer have notched 48 wins in five seasons together). That philosophy has allowed the Vikings to maintain a core of players that includes Anthony Barr, Stefon Diggs, Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks, Xavier Rhodes, Kyle Rudolph, Harrison Smith and Adam Thielen, among others. Because the Vikings draft and develop as well as they do, they don't have to get into the free agent market and the trade market very often to try and splash. While this philosophy has not yet propelled the Vikings to a Super Bowl win, it does have the Vikings in position to compete annually for a division title.

What is the Vikings offensive line going to look like this year?
-- Jim Strutz
White Bear Lake, MN

Without question, this is the position group that Vikings fans are thinking about most this offseason. Yes, this is a group that will be expected to improve in 2019. But let's also remember that it's a group with a solid foundation. Riley Reiff has been a solid free agent signing and has position flexibility, which will help the Vikings be flexible in this year's draft. And then Pat Elflein and Brian O'Neill have been solid draft picks the past two years. So in those three, the Vikings have a solid foundation and now they're in the process of putting together a group of players who can compete for two vacant starting spots and as well as important depth spots, such as swing tackle and backup center.

We all know the need to upgrade the offensive line in the upcoming draft. However, I'm also looking for the Vikings to get a legitimate No. 3 receiver to mix in with Diggs and Thielen. What are your thoughts on this? Do we get one via the draft, look at the undrafted free agents or are we waiting for other teams training camp cuts in August?
-- Peter Philip
Sandhurst, United Kingdom

This will be a true position battle this spring and summer at TCO Performance Center. And it's fair to assume to competition will be robust and plentiful. Chad Beebe, Laquon Treadwell and Brandon Zylstra are three names to watch in terms of returning players. There is still time to sign a free agent or two before the offseason program begins. And then there's the draft and undrafted free agency, as well. This position battle is wide open and it will be interesting to see how it unfolds as well as how many receivers the Vikings decide to keep heading into the regular season.

I'm glad to hear about defensive and offensive pass interference calls being reviewable calls. What about the missed call in Seattle that led to them blocking our field goal? Could that call be reviewed? That missed call really hurt us and possibly led to a loss and missing the playoffs.
-- Terrel
Honolulu, HI

As of now, that would not be a reviewable call. The change that was ratified this offseason includes defensive and offensive pass interference calls and non-calls only and it's on a one-year trial. If the one0-year trial goes well, then I would expect pass interference calls and non-calls to be permanently included among reviewable plays and I would also expect debate to continue about other categories of calls (illegal contact, roughing the passer, etc.) being included.