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What are the chances of possibly bringing in a veteran at cornerback, such as Champ Bailey? -- Michael A.
There's certainly a chance the Vikings could reach out to a veteran free agent to add talent to a position. The Vikings did it just a few weeks ago when they signed Chris Crocker to help at safety. My sense at cornerback, though, is the Vikings will go with the six guys they currently have on the roster. It will be interesting to see how Josh Robinson develops in Mike Zimmer's defense now that he's getting to 100% health, and it's also worth keeping an eye on rookie Jabari Price as he gets closer to healthy. It might make more sense to give those young guys, along with Shaun Prater and Marcus Sherels, the reps to see if they can develop rather than signing a veteran whose better days are behind him.
Do you think with the talent on both sides of the ball, as well as very seasoned coaches, it is out of the realm of possibility that we make a push for the division? -- Stefan S.
There is no doubt in my mind that this year's Vikings team can win the NFC North. I actually don't think last year's team was too far off – eight wins was enough for Green Bay, and the Vikings lost leads late in games a handful of times. This year's team is drastically improved, particularly on defense. The defense has added talented players such as Anthony Barr, Linval Joseph and Captain Munnerlyn, and the offense stands to improve with the regular cast of characters returning but with Norv Turner in the mix to draw up plays. Don't get me wrong, I have respect for the reigning division champions in Green Bay, but I also have optimism and confidence in what GM Rick Spielman and Zimmer have going on in Minnesota. There is no reason this year's Vikings team shouldn't have "Win the division" written down as a team goal heading into the regular season.
With the Vikings keeping two fullbacks when there were rumors they might not keep any, it makes me think the Vikings did not really show a lot of the offense during the preseason that we will see starting Sunday. Your thoughts? -- Joseph M.
I am sure during the preseason the Vikings offense did not show anything close to what they will use in the regular season, but I would not use the fullback situation to illustrate that point. I don't care what rumors may have been out there, the Vikings may have planned to keep a fullback or two all along. The biggest reason to believe the Vikings offense didn't show much of its hand in the preseason is the fact that the offense's best player – Adrian Peterson – didn't play a snap in the preseason. Opposing defenses are going to have to account for No. 28 being in the game once the regular season begins, something they didn't have to do during the preseason.
View the complete Vikings 53-man roster which includes Sunday's waiver claims and cuts.
I was hoping the Vikings would pick up MarQueis Gray as a free agent last season. Obviously the 49ers liked him but Cleveland was quick to act following his release from San Francisco. MarQueis is a high-character guy and was a great leader for the Gophers. He represents another promising target that can complement Kyle Rudolph. -- Paul K.
The signing of Gray is a fun story given his ties locally as a former Gopher. He was primarily a quarterback for the Gophers, but in the NFL he's been playing more of a hybrid H-back/tight end role. He played in Turner's offense in Cleveland last year. I don't know exactly what his role will be in Minnesota, but I'm glad he's a part of our team and I won't be surprised to see him quickly become a fan-favorite.
How much is at risk when another team picks up a player that has been cut? Many cut from our roster played a lot and surely know the playbook. Is there a rule that protects such things from happening? Seems it would be an advantage for a division team to pick up one of the players in order to get playbook information. -- Charles D. Bluffton, SC
I suppose this comes into play at least to some degree, but every team stands to gain the same advantage and become exposed to the same risk. Sure, the Bears could pick up a player cut from the Vikings roster. But the Vikings can do the same to the Bears or any other team. Plus, to sign a player from an opponent, a team has to let another player go who it would otherwise have had on the roster. What's more valuable, cutting one of your players in order to pick up a player from another team just to gain a slight advantage? Or keeping that player on your team to develop him? In nearly all cases, I'd rather keep a player who has been on my roster for the last six months. Also, knowing another team's playbook doesn't necessarily give you or your team an advantage. You may know the plays, but you don't know when that team is going to run those plays, or what formations they'll use to run them, or what adjustments they've made to those plays to account for the fact that you may know the ins and outs of a play. Ultimately, I'd say this plays very little into roster decisions and results of games.
I understand that the suspension of Jerome Simpson allows us to have an additional player on our 53-man roster until his return. With that being said, who do you see or which position group can you see being trimmed in order to make room for him? -- John M Annapolis, MD
It's far too early to speculate on that .By the time Week 4 rolls around, the Vikings may be dealing with an injury, and that injured player could be placed on the Reserve/Injured list to make room. Or there may be a player who is underperforming at a different position who could be released. When Simpson is eligible to return, it's not necessarily another receiver who will be released to make room for Simpson. It could be any player at any position. We won't have a good idea about that until after the Vikings play their third game of the season.
What has the NFL decided about the extra point experiment? Are they leaving it alone and keeping it the way it always has been? Or are they going to move it back to where they did this past preseason? -- Ramon R.
The NFL's experiment of moving the point after touchdown try (PAT or "extra point") to a 33-yard attempt (snapped from the 15) was for the first two weeks of the preseason only. For the final two weeks of the preseason, the PAT try was moved back to its regular spot – snapped from the 2. For the 2014 regular season, PATs will be snapped from their usual spot (the 2). The NFL could adopt a change next offseason and implement that change for the 2015 regular season, but we'll have to wait several months before that starts to happen (or not happen). As a FYI, eight kicks from the longer distance were missed during the first two weeks of preseason action. That rate – 94.3% made – is below the regular-season rate from 2013, which was 99.6% made.