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Monday Morning Mailbag: Free Agency's Impact on the Draft

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Do you believe the Vikings recent moves in free agency have narrowed down, or made it easier, to choose who to draft? -- Cody Carter Palmdale, CA

No, I don't think the Vikings have tipped their draft hand in the least based on the players they signed in free agency. I don't feel the signings of CB Terence Newman or S Taylor Mays, for example, will preclude the Vikings from addressing either of those positions even in the first round. I would actually say it's the non-signing of a player that has shed some light on what the Vikings may be looking to add. The team's pursuit of DE Michael Johnson, who wound up signing back in Cincinnati, could be an indication that DE is a position the team may address early in this draft, which is interesting because you don't see anyone mocking a DE to the Vikings at No. 11.

With the signing of CB Terence Newman, do you think he will replace Captain Munnerlyn at the No.2 CB? -- David Ward

I see them both potentially playing primary roles in Mike Zimmer's defense. With how often offenses are in 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) and empty backfields, defenses are using three-plus CBs more often than they aren't. That means regardless of who Zimmer would rank as the No. 2 CB and the No. 3 CB, they will both be on the field a bunch. Let's also remember that Josh Robinson's name will be in the mix to compete for playing time, as will any draft picks at CB this year and perhaps even Jabari Price, a draft pick from last year. I know we all want to pencil in the lineup now, but there is a long way to go before Zimmer and Defensive Coordinator George Edwards fill out a depth chart.

With versatile players such as Everson Griffin, Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith on the team, what are the chances of the Vikings getting players like LB/S Shaq Thompson or DE/OLB Vic Beasley and changing it to 3-4 instead of 4-3 defense? -- Prakash Pyakurel Nepal, India

While I think both Beasley and Thompson are possibilities for the Vikings in the first round, I don't think it's with a scheme change in mind. Zimmer is a coaching veteran of over 20 NFL seasons and he's run defenses with 3-4 and 4-3 bases, and my guess is he feels it's more important for a defense to be able to do a variety of things than it is to hone in on a specific identity (3-4 vs. 4-3). There may be instances within a game where Zimmer will use three down linemen, there may be times when he brings in a third safety, and there may be times when he only uses one LB. The ability to add those wrinkles into your defense is more important than simply how your defense can be categorized.

Which proposed rule change stood out to you the most? --Zach C. Minneapolis, MN

The proposals that suggest changes to the extra point are the most interesting to me. I don't feel they are necessarily the most important proposed changes, but they will one day change a play that even casual fans are familiar with and will notice a change to. Additionally, I find these proposals interesting because I feel it impacts the viability and/or value of entire position groups (holders, kickers, long snappers) and it may also bring the two-point conversion more into play eventually.

Why didn't the Vikings get a compensatory pick for Jared Allen leaving via-free agency last year or this year? -- Owen Richfield, MN

Compensatory selections are awarded to teams that lost more free agents than they signed the previous offseason. While the Vikings did lose a valuable free agent in Allen, they signed more than they lost with the additions of guys such as DT Tom Johnson, DT Linval Joseph and CB Captain Munnerlyn.

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