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Monday Morning Mailbag: Impact of New Coaches

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What stood out the most to you at the Senior Bowl? -- Steven Utt

From the week of practices, it was the depth of both the defensive line and offensive line. There was great talent along the defensive line, as well, and I think a lot of teams are going to find good players on both sides of the line of scrimmage in this draft. From the actual game, I was impressed with the two-minute drive South QB Dak Prescott (Mississippi State) put together at the end of the first half as well as a series of plays in the 4th quarter where South DT Jarran Reed (Alabama) made tackles on three consecutive plays.

VEN Staff Writer Craig Peters was in Mobile last week watching Senior Bowl practices, and you can check out his seven observations from the game by clicking here.

I know bringing in great players makes it easier to bring in other great player, but do you think having a great coach like Zimmer will do the same. -- Michael Healing

There's no doubt in my mind that Coach Zimmer will draw the attention in a positive way of any prospective player (draft pick or free agent) in which the Vikings show interest. In two seasons with the Vikings, Zimmer has gotten the most out of all his players and his players have spoken publicly on many occasions about the respect they have for him. On top of that, Zimmer clearly has this team moving in the right direction. They've gone from 7 wins in 2014 to 11 in 2015, they've won a division title and they're moving into a new stadium.

Do you get the impression that, with the additions of Tony Sparano and Pat Shurmur, Mike Zimmer has lost some of his confidence in Norv Turner? -- Chris Fowler, CA

That's not the impression I get at all. I get the impression that Coach Zimmer is comfortable in his own skin and is continuously looking for ways to make the team better, and that effort includes constantly evaluating and trying to improve both the roster and his coaching staff. If the Vikings sign a high-profile free agent safety, I don't look at that as a loss of confidence in Harrison Smith. If the Vikings use a high draft pick on another cornerback, I don't look at that as an indictment on the other corners. It's a matter of adding talent to supplement and improve what you already have.

What kind of difference do you expect we will see from the offensive line with Tony Sparano as the new offensive line coach? And also do you expect major personnel changes within the group? -- Luigi D. New Jersey

Coach Sparano has a history of coming into a poor situation and finding a way to quickly make it better. When the Dolphins hired him as head coach in 2008, they had gone 1-15 the season before. They were 11-5 under Sparano in his first season. The Raiders hired him to be their OL coach in 2013. The year prior, Oakland averaged 88.8 rushing yards per game, and then in Sparano's first season with Oakland the Raiders averaged 125.0 rushing yards per game. So he has a history of generating improvement right away and that's what I think he'll do in Minnesota with the offensive line. As far as personnel changes are concerned, every offseason brings about changes. Whether they are "major" or not depends on your definition of the word, but at the end of the day there are always changes in an offseason and the bottom line is competition will determine who plays.

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