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The only surprise for me with the cut to 53 was Alex Boone. Can you provide your take on why the highly-touted free agent acquisition from a year ago was cut? -- Cullen Dillard
A lot of factors go into decisions like this one. Scheme fit, durability/health and salary are just three and any or all of them could’ve factored into the Boone decision. What resonates most with me, though, is what this must say about how the team views its young offensive lineman. To be willing to part with a veteran such as Boone, the Vikings must feel good about what they saw from Nick Easton and rookies Pat Elflein and Danny Isidora. That’s good news for the future of the Vikings offensive line and I have a feeling an Easton-Elflein pairing at LG-C will help the group take a step forward.
Where does Tramaine Brock fit in with our secondary? -- Chris Kulak
That remains to be seen for now. For the immediate future, the most sensible place would seem to be as depth/insurance behind Mack Alexander, Terence Newman and Trae Waynes. Given how entrenched Waynes and especially Newman are within the defense, it’s difficult to imagine Brock leapfrogging either of them in the pecking order right off the bat, so for the time being my sense is he will take some time to assimilate into the Vikings locker room and defense and eventually he’ll be a rotational player who provides depth at an important position.
I'm concerned about our beloved Vikings. I know it was only preseason, but the offense didn't score touchdowns. The defense got torched often. Just looking for an optimistic outlook. One that you normally have. -- Adam Albuquerque, NM
It’s fair to be concerned after the preseason the Vikings had, and at the same time we have to also remember how much progress was made during the offseason program and training camp. Look at the Vikings draft picks alone – Dalvin Cook impressed every step of the way, Pat Elflein and Ben Gedeon are poised to start in Week 1, Jaleel Johnson flashed in the preseason, both drafted wide receivers made the team and Danny Isidora is a reserve in his first season. Also, Sam Bradford and Pat Shurmur have now had a full offseason and the offensive staff has chosen its offensive line so now those guys can start practicing every day together to continue gaining synergy. I like this roster as much if not more than the roster the Vikings had in 2015 when they went 11-5 and won the division. It’s a long season and I think the Vikings have a shot to be in it to win it at the end.
*It's great to see how hard work paid off for Aviante Collins. He’s an undrafted free agent with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder because he was overlooked in the draft and now he gets a chance of a life time. Skol! -- John McGuire Lone Pine, CA *
NFL history is rich with stories just as John described. John Randle, Mick Tingelhoff, Antonio Gates, James Harrison, Tony Romo and Wes Welker are just a few examples of great players who were never drafted. So, yes, congrats to Collins and the other two 2017 undrafted free agents who made the Vikings first 53-man roster of the season – defensive end Tashawn Bower and linebacker Eric Wilson. Remember, though, the 53-man roster is fluid all season, so no one should consider their spot safe. That same chip-on-the-shoulder attitude Collins and so many undrafted players have must be an attitude that stays with them every day of their careers.
It sure looked like the 49ers were picking on Trae Waynes a lot. Do you think this is going to be a problem going forward? -- Josh Brown
I don’t view it as a problem going forward; I view it as the reality. Teams are just not going to throw a bunch of passes toward Xavier Rhodes. He’s garnered enough respect around the League that some play callers are going to stay away from him as much as possible, which means more action for the other cornerbacks on the field. Having a veteran such as Terence Newman and making the trade for Brock provides the Vikings with quality support and depth behind youngsters such as Waynes and Mack Alexander.
Is it Mike Zimmer's coaching style and lack of trust in younger players that leads him to grossly limit playing time for his first year players? -- Chris Kulak
Zimmer doesn’t grossly limit playing time for his first-year players at all. In 2014, Anthony Barr played and started 14 games, Teddy Bridgewater started 12 games and Jerick McKinnon had 113 carries and 27 receptions in 11 games. In 2015, Trae Waynes played in 15 games, Eric Kendricks played in 14 games and led the club in tackles, Danielle Hunter had 6.0 sacks in 14 games played, TJ Clemmings started all 16 games at right tackle and Stefon Diggs became the first rookie to lead the team in receptions (52). So I wouldn’t say Zimmer limits rookies’ playing time at all, and in fact I’d say his record indicates he’s not afraid to play rookies and ask them to contribute.