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Monday Morning Mailbag: Draft Discussion, Kubiak's Role, Marshall's Hall of Fame Candidacy

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With all the rule changes benefiting the offense over the past few years, wouldn't it be smart to concentrate on building the offense now? We already have a very solid defense. My advice would be to almost exclusively concentrate on the offense this offseason.
-- Dennis Nolte
Moorhead, MN

Standing still is a good way to get passed by, so I wouldn't neglect any part of the team during the offseason. I agree the Vikings will be looking to improve offensively this offseason, but if they don't also take a look at things on defense then they will face just as big of a challenge next offseason to upgrade that side of the ball.

With Gary Kubiak coming in as offensive advisor, do you see him assisting coach Zimmer with clock management?
-- Jeff Tiede
Green Bay, WI

I see Kubiak assisting coach Zimmer and others on the staff in a variety of ways, from evaluating the relationship between scheme and personnel to game planning during the week to managing game situations on Sundays. Kubiak has a wealth of experience as a player, coordinator and head coach in this League and he'll be able to draw upon that while aiding the offense as well as coach Zimmer.

The Vikings under GM Rick Spielman typically have taken best player available with their first draft pick. I'm not in the mix of those banging the table for a first-round offensive lineman unless he has value at that pick. I don't see the Vikings taking a quarterback or running back with their first pick even he's clearly the best player available. At this point, understanding free agency is still looming, are there any other positions you would be surprised to see the team address with their first draft pick this year?
-- Jeff Kilty
Sacramento, CA

No, and I'm not even sure I would point to quarterback or running back as surprises for the Vikings to address in the first round. They may be less likely to address those two positions than other areas, such as the defensive and offensive lines, but it wouldn't be shocking to see the Vikings grab a player at one of those two positions if that player was unquestionably the highest-rated player on the board at the time the Vikings were on the clock. Under Spielman's guidance, the team has been incredibly disciplined when it's come to sticking to its board and just taking good players that it's hard to see them straying from that philosophy now.

I saw that Hutch is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019. That's great, but I have a beef with them. I am probably preaching to the choir here, but it is frustrating. Why in the world is Jim Marshall not in there? I bet if you asked most people that watched football back in the 70s, they would probably say he was in the Hall and would be shocked if you told them he wasn't. He played 20 seasons in the NFL and never missed a game. I have heard Bud Grant mention that he doesn't remember Marshall even missing practice. To me, longevity like that should be one of the main reasons you would be in the Hall of Fame. The man played on four Super Bowl teams. I am not sure how many All Pro seasons he had but he was a major leader and contributor on those Vikings teams in the 70s. What a shame he is overlooked!
-- Patrick Flach

Agreed! Marshall was a dominant player over 19 Vikings seasons and he was an integral member of the vaunted Purple People Eaters, an iconic group of defenders who helped lead the team to 10 division titles and four Super Bowl appearances. Marshall ranks second in Vikings history with 127.0 sacks and led or tied for the team lead in sacks in each of the Vikings first six seasons. He also ranks ninth in franchise history with 988 career tackles, behind only fellow Purple People Eater Alan Page among defensive linemen. Aside from accumulating sacks and tackles during his career, Marshall also recovered 29 fumbles, a team and NFL record. Marshall held the NFL record for consecutive games played with 282 (270 with the Vikings) until Brett Favre broke the mark. For my money, he's deserving of being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and I know many others share that sentiment. I am hopeful he'll be enshrined someday soon as a senior nominee.