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Monday Morning Mailbag: Free Agency Fallout

Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the Mailbag! Every Monday we'll post several comments and/or questions as part of the Monday Morning Mailbag feature. Although we can't post every comment or question, we will reply to every question submitted.

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What position is the point of emphasis going into the draft now that we have picked up a couple of key guys for our offensive line and re-signed a lot of our free agents? -- Todd R. Stockton, CA

The beauty of the Vikings free agency activity this year is that while they made a lot of moves they also didn't tip their hand as to what they might be thinking in the early stages of the draft. I don't think there's one position that you could say is the exclusive point of emphasis for the team going forward this offseason. Yes, they did release Mike Wallace and they haven't signed anyone you could point to as his replacement, so from that standpoint you will see a lot of people project a WR to be the team's pick at No. 23. At the same time, this has not been deemed a strong WR class by analysts and so you can see the possibility that the Vikings wait until perhaps the 2nd round to address that position and instead tap into one of the deeply talented positions to get the best of the best in the 1st round. I don't think you can pigeonhole the Vikings in the 1st round and I think they are a team that can go a lot of directions.

Do you think the Vikings are done in free agency and concentrating on the draft at this point? Are there any impact guy's still out there? By the way, I think the Vikes have done a superb job so far. -- Stefan

Teams don't consider themselves done in free agency because the process of improving the roster never really ends. Teams are always assessing the market and seeing who's available and for what price. I'm sure there are still players on the market who can make an impact, but right now the opportunities are becoming fewer and further between. Just a few standout names still on the market from's Top 99 Free Agents include S Reggie Nelson, CB Walter Thurmond, OLB Aldon Smith and WR Anquan Boldin.

With all this free agent activity, it looks like Rick Spielman is setting up to trade back in the draft to get more picks. What do you think? -- Michael Healing

My guess is Spielman doesn't have a predetermined outcome for the Vikings 1st-round pick, but I do think he's trying to position the team to be operating from a position of strength when they're on the clock. To be in a position of strength means you haven't tipped your hand, you can't be pigeonholed as a team that need one certain position, and you are considered a team that is willing to stay put and take the best player available if you don't get an offer you love to move either back or up. Spielman has done a great job of that in past while running the show for the Vikings and he appears to be on track to do that once again this year.

If John Sullivan is able to make a full recovery, what do you think we would do with Joe Berger? He had an excellent season last year and I think he could easily beat out the competition at the RG position. Would you agree with this? -- Ben

I have too much respect for the way Mike Harris played last year and for the competitiveness Brandon Fusco has to agree that Berger would easily win a competition for the starting RG spot. It's possible Berger would win, but I don't think it would be easy. Aside from that, it's possible that Berger would be competing for a starting spot at center even with Sullivan returning to health. If Berger didn't win that competition, he would obviously be a more-than-capable backup. We know Sullivan is coming back from a back injury, and given the fact that he's a stout 310-pound man and he plays a rigorous position, it'd be nice to know you have a capable backup like Berger in tow. The bottom line is Berger has a lot of roster value because he's a quality backup at all three interior positions and he's proven to be a solid starting center.

Now that the initial surge of free agency has passed and the draft is off in the distance, is this the best down time for players, coaches, and front offices of NFL teams? Or, more accurately, as close as they may come to down time? -- Frank Moyers

No, and to the contrary in fact. This is a busy time of year for NFL coaches and front offices because it's the business season. Teams are in the midst of free agency and managing their salary cap with the signing of new players, the re-signings of current players and the thoughts of extensions with core players, and while they do that they are also right in the thick of building their draft board. Also, this week is the annual NFL meeting, so front offices and ownership are gathering to discuss league business, including possible rules changes. This is an extremely busy time on the NFL calendar. I'd say the biggest down time of the calendar for a NFL team is the period between the end of the offseason program in mid-June and the beginning of training camp at the end of July.

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