Monday Morning Mailbag: Last-Minute Draft Speculation, Recapping Offseason's Moves, 2019 Schedule

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If a team like the Vikings trades down a bit, would it be proper for them to ask the team they are trading with who they want to select? Maybe it's someone the Vikings hope will be there for them after the trade goes down. Or do teams not discuss such things?
-- Jeff Sabini
Orange County, CA

As the holder of the pick another team wants, you can certainly ask that team what they plan to do. It’s unlikely that team will tell you who they plan to pick, but often times that team will tell you what position they are looking to address. Even without that discussion, teams have a pretty good idea about what their competitors are looking to do, especially early in the draft. A lot of time is devoted to studying team needs across the League for this very reason.

A lot of people are talking about who the Vikings might take at No. 18. But I would like to get your thoughts on some potential 2nd-round or 3rd-round options at offensive line for the Vikings. I haven't heard any analysis of such players and I would like to get your elite football opinion.
-- Nathan Atkins
Minneapolis, MN

I like this question a lot because the last two starting-caliber offensive linemen the Vikings selected came in these rounds – Brain O’Neill in the 2nd round last year and Pat Elflein in the 3rd round two years ago. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah gave the Vikings Texas A&M center Erik McCoy in his two-round mock draft and then Chad Reuter, also of NFL media, had offensive tackles Greg Little (Ole Miss) Kaleb McGary (Washington) and Dalton Risner (Kansas State) all going in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. There are several other options aside from these guys, so it’s clear this is a very solid draft in terms of the depth of the offensive line class.

How do you feel about the team after the current moves made this offseason? We know the guys will do a great job in the draft, as always. But what is your take on things so far? Thanks and keep up the awesome job!
-- Dan Hallberg
Frewsburg, NY

Finding a way to re-sign Anthony Barr to keep the defensive core in place and then doing right by Adam Thielen and extending his contract are two huge wins for the Vikings this offseason. Both of those moves are re-signings, so to speak, so they don’t come with the kind of offseason splash that signing a true free agent does. But it’s actually better than a free agent signing because the Vikings know and can trust these two players in terms of their fit with the team and their character on the field and off. So from that standpoint alone, it’s been a very good offseason for the Vikings. The next big step in the offseason is the draft, and I know a lot of fans are clamoring for the team to address the offensive line and a lot of those fans won’t deem the offseason a success unless and until the offensive line is addressed. I am optimistic about the Vikings chances of adding some potentially productive players along the offensive line in this draft.

I’m a fan of Chad Beebe. I grew up around his dad when he played in Buffalo. I was very excited he made the team and then got some playing time last season. Is it safe to say he might have an expanded role this year?
-- Matt Taylor
Raleigh, NC

Yes, it’s safe to say he might have an expanded role. Over the course of the 2018 season, Beebe was given increased opportunities and if not for an injury he may have seen even more time and production. Assuming he’s healthy and ready to go for the offseason program, Beebe will continue to develop and he does have a legitimate chance to be one of the receivers who makes the team and then sees the field on game days. He’s not the only one in this category, however, with others such as Brandon Zylstra and Laquon Treadwell, plus anyone the Vikings draft or sign this week, also competing for spots. But there’s a lot to like about Beebe and his chances of making the team and producing, including his ability to help on special teams and his experience on the roster last season.

Why does the NFL schedule the Vikings to play in Seattle so often? The Vikings played the Seahawks last year in Seattle and will also play them this year in Seattle. It seems like most of the time when these two teams play each other, it is in Seattle.
-- Glenn Yoder

Remember, the NFL schedule is formulaic in terms of who plays who and where the game is played. The only discretion the NFL has on the schedule is when the game is played, and even that decision is ultimately made by computers. Each team plays six games against its division opponents, four games against another division in its conference, four games against a division in the other conference and two games against teams from the other divisions in its own conference; those two games are determined by division ranking from the previous season. Within each of those categories, the home/away status rotates. As an example, the Vikings play each team from the AFC West in 2019 – the Chargers and Chiefs on the road and the Broncos and Raiders at home. The last time the Vikings played the AFC West, they played the Chargers and Chiefs at home and the Broncos and Raiders on the road. In the case of Seattle, the Vikings are playing them as a function of the division standings. The last time the Vikings played the same-place finisher in the NFC West was in 2017 when they played the Rams at home, so this year they are playing the NFC West same-place finisher (Seattle) at home.

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