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Monday Morning Mailbag: Breakout Season Candidates

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Are the Vikings interested in Seattle S Kam Chancellor? What a great combo he and Smith would make. Or do you think they will want too much? -- Monte Conrad

I don't know if the Vikings are interested in Chancellor, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were because he's one of the best safeties in the NFL and I would think most teams would love to have him. The problem is that the cost is prohibitive because he likely wants (and deserves) a lot of money, plus it will probably take a premium draft pick (or more) to pry him from the Seahawks. The way ESPN Staff Writer Dan Graziano tackled this same topic as it relates to the NY Giants and their need at the position makes a lot of sense and is worth a quick read once you get through the Mailbag.

I think Teddy Bridgewater's mobility is underrated. Will there be more running plays for Teddy this year? -- Jackson Schell

I don't expect to see many designed runs for Bridgewater. Aside from the occasional designed QB draw when the coaches expect the defense to be in man coverage, expect Bridgewater to do his best work from the pocket. Jackson is correct in that Bridgewater's mobility is very good, but the best use of that mobility is as a way to dodge pressure in the pocket and even escape the pocket as a way to buy time for receivers to come open. Running is a last resort. In the NFL, QBs win games in the pocket, not by running. Also, having designed runs for Teddy will expose him to unnecessary hits.

If you got to pick one player on each side of the ball special teams to make the Pro Bowl, who would be on your "watch list." -- Steve Hageman

Cool question, Steve. I will go…

Defense: DE Everson Griffen
Offense: RB Adrian Peterson
Special Teams: KR Cordarrelle Patterson

Who do you think that will have a breakout season on offense and defense? -- Cage Patterson

On defense, I will go with LB Gerald Hodges. He's going into his third season and has seven starts over his first two Vikings campaigns. I won't be surprised to see him start more than seven games this season and be a versatile defender who can play in base and sub packages.

On offense, it looks to me that WR Charles Johnson will have a good opportunity to make all of his touches count. Opponents will spread most of their attention between stopping Adrian Peterson and rolling coverage to Mike Wallace's side. On plays where Bridgewater doesn't find TE Kyle Rudolph, watch for Johnson to be targeted and to take advantage of those targets.

Both Audie Cole and Eric Kendricks are making splash plays at middle linebacker. Is there a chance that one of them could move to the outside and both play together? It would be sad to see one of them mainly on the bench. -- Terrel Torigoe Honolulu, HI

With the way Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer rotates players and experiments with combinations, I wouldn't rule anything out. As of now, I don't see Cole and Kendricks playing together in any personnel packages, but that's just for right now. Cole has the versatility to be a backup at multiple positions in several personnel packages and Kendricks may see the field primarily as a nickel defender as he continues to develop in Zimmer's defense.

Do you see Jarius Wright stepping up even more this season? Every year he seems to take on a bigger role in the offense. -- Kyle O'Connell

Between the WR and TE groups, the Vikings have a deep cast of pass catchers, and Wright is a part of that depth. I agree he has taken on a larger role each season, which is a testament to the coaching he's received as well as the work he's put in to improve. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner wants his offense to be balanced, and that may limit the opportunity for a lot of players to become the dominant factor. Aside from Adrian Peterson, I don't know that any one player have a chance to touch the ball significantly more than anyone else. Again, that's not a bad thing. It's a sign that there is a good amount of guys who can make plays and it's a sign that the offense is trying to become balanced and not overly reliant on a couple players.

I know we already have an abundance of running backs, but we should have kept Dominique Williams. He is actually very talented. -- Nick Caligiuri

I agree, Williams is a talented RB. The good news is the Vikings did end up keeping him. He didn't make the 53-man roster, but he was signed to the Practice Squad and will remain with the team in that capacity for now. Williams is a tough runner for his size, he is shifty, he has good hands and he's willing in pass protection. He's a good prospect to have in the system and I look forward to his continued development.

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