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Dalvin Cook was compared to Marshall Faulk by some people. If he can play anywhere near that level, we got a steal. I think he can. What do you think? -- Gerald Goblirsch
Faulk played 12 seasons in the NFL, was MVP in 2000 and is a Pro Football Hall of Famer. We should let Cook play in his first game before we get too carried away with comparisons. The other problem with comparisons is it can limit your ability to see Cook for who he is because you’re trying to synch him up with another player. Faulk was a true dual threat out of the backfield and Cook will be able to contribute as a pass catcher, too, but I envision Cook’s impact being more run-oriented compared to Faulk’s dual-threat nature.
I have heard a lot about Datone Jones playing some DT. With Sharrif Floyd's status up in the air, is there any chance he could become our starting DT next to Linval Joseph? -- Keith Klein
Yes, he’s a candidate to be a starter in that spot but he’ll have to unseat Tom Johnson at this point. Shamar Stephen, last year’s starter in that spot once Floyd went down, has been working behind Joseph. Ultimately, though, it’s not about which four guys start along the defensive line. It’s about which seven-to-eight guys earn a spot on the roster and are used in the rotation because the more depth you have along the defensive line the more effective and versatile you can be. It matters more who is playing late in the fourth quarter more than who lines up for the first snap and is technically a starter.
With DeAndre Levy still a free agent, do you think the Vikings might be interested in bringing in a veteran linebacker to lead a young linebacker corps? -- Will H. St. Peter, MN
We know what Levy can do after facing him twice a season for the past eight years. He’s a quality and productive linebacker who could help a lot of teams. I wouldn’t rule anything out, I guess, but a Vikings-Levy union doesn’t seem likely given the team’s enthusiasm for the competition they have at linebacker right now, which includes a pair of draft picks – Ben Gedeon and Elijah Lee – from this year and three veterans.
I see many commentators saying our new free agent offensive tackles aren't premier pass blockers, and as such the Vikings won't be much better this year. But it seems to me that Zim and Co. were more concerned with run blocking and getting our run/short passing game going for ball control so our defense can win the game. Am I over simplifying this, or are they over thinking things? -- Andrew Lovsness
I’m guessing coach Zimmer wants everything improved every year and won’t settle for anything short of that, so the expectation for Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers will be that they are solid in both pass protection and run blocking. The bottom line is Reiff and Remmers are solid pros who rarely miss games and have started on offensive lines that block for powerful offenses and quality quarterbacks (Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton). To suggest that the addition of those two doesn’t represent substantial improvement over what the Vikings had along the offensive line last year is blasphemy. The Vikings used nine different starting offensive line combinations and five different starting left tackles. The stability and durability that Reiff and Remmers bring will be a welcome addition for this offense after dealing with a significant number of injuries along the offensive line over the past few seasons.
What is Jarius Wright doing to try and keep his spot on the roster with all the other wide receivers on the roster like Rodney Adams, Mortiz Böhringer, Michael Floyd, etc.? -- Blake Dufner Richmond, MN
Wright is doing what he’s always done – show up every day to work hard and stand out because of versatility. My sense is he can line up at any wide receiver position and have the confidence of the coaching staff and of quarterback Sam Bradford. The wide receiver position is one that will have great competition during training camp and the preseason, especially with a pair of draft picks (Adams and Stacy Coley) in the mix, but Wright would be a hard one with which to part because of that versatility and durability.
We haven't forgotten about Mortiz Böhringer, so I can't imagine the coaches have. Can you update us on his progress and how the staff feels about him? -- Matt Boffa Sparta, NJ
Böhringer has improved over the last 14 months. He told us earlier in the offseason that he stayed in Minnesota after the 2016 season rather than going home so he could continue to train. Even with that improvement, though, he still has to keep improving significantly between now and the end of August to earn a spot on the team. It’s not going to get any easier, either, because the Vikings have brought back their top two receivers from last season, Laquon Treadwell seems poised to improve in his second season and several new bodies were added to the position to bulk up the competition.