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Monday Morning Mailbag: Free Agency Philosophies

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I thought Super Bowl LI was one of the best ever and was really well fought. But looking ahead, what is it going to take in order for the Vikings to bring the team and fan base their first championship? -- Dylan F. New Jersey

It takes a lot to do what New England did this year, and it took a lot for them to do what they did in the Super Bowl by erasing a 25-point deficit in a hurry. Tom Brady will rightfully receive much of the credit, but the defense and special teams did their part by teaming up to keep Atlanta scoreless for most of the second half. In the end, the most profound quality to see from the Patriots is their toughness and resiliency as a team. Not once during the first three quarters did I see that team begin to press or doubt itself. That is quite remarkable considering the pressure they were under and then the combination of deficit and time they faced.

In free agency, would you take youth and upside or veteran presence and short-term efficiency? -- Gabriel Morse

It's probably best to take it on a case-by-case basis. There are many examples of success stories in both of those categories. Generally, though, youth and upside has the bigger payoff. If you look at some of the Vikings best free agent signings under GM Rick Spielman, many of them are players coming off their rookie deals and entering the prime of their career – Linval Joseph fits that profile and has been an A free agent signing.

With the recent focus on rule changes, how about modifying overtime to give the coin flip winner the choice of playing offense or defense from the 15-yard line? It eliminates high hazard kickoffs and eliminates the slight advantage in overtime to the winner of the coin toss. -- Kathye Mandan, ND

The overtime rule is one that has undergone some changes of late and it will be the subject of more discussion moving forward. I don't like the idea of automatically placing the ball anywhere because it removes a very important phase from the game – special teams. I also don't believe that kickoffs are any more high hazard than any other play in the game, and they are perhaps less hazardous. The goal of overtime should be to resolve the tie while playing the same game with the same rules as was played in regulation. Old-fashioned sudden death is my favorite overtime format for football, but I think the one the NFL uses now is very suitable, as well.

How many games did the Vikings starters lose to injury in 2016? -- Ken Warkentin Winnipeg, Manitoba

This is an unofficial answer because it's difficult in some cases to define which players were starters. According to my tally, the number is 73 games missed this season by starters, including Teddy Bridgewater's 16 but not including the 15 missed by DT Sharrif Floyd. I don't know the numbers for other teams but I can't imagine there are many more teams with more missed games by starters this season.

Was that our stadium announcer in Houston at this year's Super Bowl? If not, he sure sounds like him!  -- Austin Malarchick

It was indeed. His name is Alan Roach. He is the best in the business, and proof positive of that is the fact that the NFL uses him as a public address announcer for its most important events, such as the Super Bowl, the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement events and International Series games. The Vikings hired him to be the public address announcer this season to open U.S. Bank Stadium. Click here to read a profile piece on Roach.

Great job on the website this season. Plenty of player interaction and access, pregame analysis and film study with the head coach, network analyst interviews, highlights, statistical analysis and so much more. Vikings fans are incredibly fortunate to have the player and coach access we do. Thank you for bringing it to us. -- Jeff Kilty Sacramento, CA

Thank you for the kind message and for the reminder that there are so many great Vikings fans out there who are searching for and who deserve great content about their favorite team. It is our pleasure to deliver it and we look forward to another awesome year and season in 2017. Skol!

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