Monday Morning Mailbag: Can The Vikings Have A Top-10 Offense This Season?

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With how Kirk Cousins has looked in training camp, can you see our offense rank among the top 10 in the League this year?
-- Marco Hutson

Definitely. Remember, this is an offense that last year ranked 10th in points per game and 11th in yards per game. On top of that, Cousins was seventh in passing yards, eighth in touchdowns, ninth in yards per attempt and had a passer rating of 93.9 last season. There’s no question this offense can be a top 10 group in the League. More importantly, though, they just need to do their part to help the team win games. Staying away from turnovers and helping to win the field position game are also important objectives.

I see more of a presence of Laquon Treadwell lately as a target for Kirk Cousins. Is John DeFilippo trying to develop or utilize him as a true No. 3 receiver compared to the last couple of years? It would be great to get him up to speed and be that real true threat he looked to be in the red zone.
-- Todd Rossiter
Stockton, CA

Yes, DeFilippo is trying to develop Treadwell, but I don’t view him as more committed to it than any previous offensive coaches. In addition to being given opportunities to grow and gain experience by DeFilippo, Treadwell’s progress this offseason is also due to natural maturity in both the mental and physical aspects of the game that comes for a player going into his third season. Sure, Treadwell’s on-field production may have fallen short of some people’s expectations in the first two years of his career, but his story is still being written and he’s probably never looked as good as he’s looking right now. We’ll see what happens.

With the addition of Mike Hughes, the Vikings are loaded at cornerback. How many cornerbacks do you think the Vikings will keep on the active roster? Do you foresee Marcus Sherels making the final cut?
-- Joe Fitzgerald
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Six cornerbacks feels about average for teams to keep on the 53-man roster, but of course that can vary up or down a couple based on different circumstances. This exact two-part question is one of the most intriguing parts of the Vikings preseason, to me. Sherels does so much to help the Vikings, particularly with his special teams roles of gunner and kickoff and punt returner, that it’s easy to make a case for him to be on the 53-man roster. At the same time, the Vikings have some young cornerbacks – Hughes and Holton Hill, namely – who are well on their way to earning a spot on the final roster. This could go a number of different ways and it’s probably not been decided yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Sherels on the final roster even if that means stretching the number to more than six at cornerback.

What do we look for in these preseason games? Last year after the Buffalo game, I got worried about our run defense. Never again! Just trust the course!
-- Curtis Moore
Easton, PA

There are a lot of things to watch in preseason games. You want the first team offense to be efficient, the first team defense to get off the field on 3rd downs and no one to get hurt. But you can also take a deeper dive and pay close attention to the position battles, even for some key backup and reserve spots at various positions. There’s the kicking competition, the new helmet and kickoff rules and the style and scheme of DeFilippo’s offense, too. Lots to watch this preseason and it all starts this week!

Why, with a defensive back guru like Mike Zimmer, have we not drafted a safety anywhere near the top of the draft? Plenty of corners, but no safeties. Does he de-value the position? I know we are secure with Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo has been improving, but just curious.
-- Ben Marx
Shakopee, MN

My guess would be that it’s not coach Zimmer de-valuing the position. Part of it is he has a great starting duo in Smith and Sendejo. Another part of it is the team has done a nice job with quality depth players behind the starters, particularly Anthony Harris and Jayron Kearse. Lastly, part of it may be that the Vikings just haven’t seen the right value at the right time to pull the trigger on a safety early in the draft.

I drove up from Chicago for the night practice this past weekend. What a fantastic time and venue! I think most fans appreciate the hard work and talent of our great players, coaches, management and scouts. But as I walked out of that facility on a beautiful night with fireworks lighting up the water, I really appreciated the ability of the ownership to give us these facilities and experience. We are strong in every area. Now, let’s win a Super Bowl!
-- Cris Arens

It’s awesome that you made that kind of commitment to come watch the team’s first night practice at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center. Thank you for your dedication and passion for the Purple! It’s great you’ve recognized the outstanding commitment made by the Wilf Family. It’s also notable to me because I was in Canton, Ohio this weekend for the Class of 2018 Enshrinement festivities, and Randy Moss also gave the Wilf family props during his induction speech for their commitment to the franchise and the local community. The Vikings are in good hands! Skol!

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