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Monday Morning Mailbag: How Can The Vikings Become More Consistent?

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Who would you like to see be our next offensive coordinator?
-- Kathy Briesemeister
St. Louis Park, MN

I believe Kevin Stefanski has earned a chance to be a coordinator in this League. With his experience working with both head coach Mike Zimmer and quarterback Kirk Cousins, I feel having that opportunity right here in Minnesota is a good fit. I'm hopeful Stefanski is hired but I also realize there are other qualified candidates and I will support whoever is hired.

What changes can be made to make this team more consistent and successful? I've been a fan for more the 50 years and am growing tired of the same old cliché response of "There's always next year." I love the staff and ownership of this team, but there needs to be an urgent response to the mediocrity of this team to make our team more consistent/successful.
-- Dave Myers
Blackwood, NJ

Handling success. That is one responsibility a good team has that I don't think the Vikings demonstrated heading into 2018. There will be an urgent response. One moment of coach Zimmer's season-ending press conference that hit home with me was when he acknowledged the 2018 Vikings played without an edge and didn't have a vibe that previous teams, particularly the 2017 Vikings, had. Zimmer followed that up by saying he had a plan to restore that edge and vibe.

Being a Vikings fan and not having them in the playoffs this year, what team should we be watching play to inspire some hope for 2019?
-- Zachary Zweber
Prior Lake, MN

It's the Indianapolis Colts. Not because the teams are built similarly from a personnel or schematic standpoint, but because of how the Colts so quickly and diligently improved a major weakness – their offensive line. Indianapolis used a 1st-round and 2nd-round picks on offensive linemen in 2018 and both players – Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith – started and helped generate significant improvement in both run blocking and pass protection for the Colts offense. The Colts already had talented players (and former 1st-round picks) at left tackle and center, and the two early-round picks from this year's draft fortified the group and helped them improve dramatically in just one offseason.

I would like to see us go in a different offensive direction than other teams and go back to playing serious smash-mouth football at the line of scrimmage. A huge offensive line that just blows people off the ball instead of all these outside runs that string out. Let's plow straight ahead and create openings right away. It would also force defenses to play us differently than they play everyone else. This league copies too much…1980s Washington Redskins football is what I would love to see.
-- Patrick Flach
Altamont, IL

There is a lot of validity to this argument. I can't say I disagree with it and I'm also not sure the Vikings won't actually try to do this. Finesse linemen who could get out in space and block for screens and perimeter runs seemed to be valued a year ago, but maybe sacrificing that quality in favor of brute strength and toughness is a better fit for the Zimmer mold/brand of offense. It might also be a better fit for Cousins given how well he typically performs when using play action.

I'm sitting here watching the Colts-Texans playoff game and I can see just how much of a leader Andrew Luck is on his team. I feel like it's been a long time since the Vikings had a leader on their team. I feel like we need a Vikings player to step up and be that leader on the team. Who do you think is capable or likely to step into that position where he can motivate and lead this team when they're down? Skol!
-- Nate

Leadership is not a problem for the Vikings. Particularly on the defensive side of the ball, the Vikings roster is full of players with great competitive and personal integrity. Linval Joseph, Eric Kendricks, Harrison Smith and Adam Thielen are just three examples of players who are team-first in their mentality, who love the game and who hold their teammates accountable.

Has our Super Bowl window closed? Cap space is limited, Kirk Cousins is not the answer and our team, even at home, didn't live up to ANY expectations this season.
-- Jerry Provost

Not at all. Quite the opposite, really. The Vikings have done a great job of developing and locking down a young core of players. The aforementioned players in the leadership question plus players such as Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs, Pat Elflein and Danielle Hunter are all under contract for several more seasons. The Vikings roster is loaded and this is a team that should be able to compete consistently for years to come. The roster isn't perfect and there are several areas that need significant improvement, but the foundation is young and solid.