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Monday Morning Mailbag: New Schemes, CB Depth, 2 Minute Offense

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With this year being the second year for our coaching regime, do you think we are going to see any new formations or plays from the continued installation of the offense and defense? Or are they more focused on getting better with what they've already learned from last year? -- Michael Xiong

Some of both. Good schemes are the ones that have several fundamentals and staples that work well and stand the test of time but that also evolve with time and are able to adjust to what defenses are doing and to what weaknesses the defense has. Bringing Adrian Peterson back into the mix will allow offensive coordinator Norv Turner to mix up his scheme quite a bit from what he was able to do for the final 15 games of the 2014 season. If Trae Waynes fulfills expectations, Xavier Rhodes is solid once again and the rest of the secondary improves, then the Vikings pass defense will take another step forward and that will allow head coach Mike Zimmer some more freedom to do creative things with the defensive scheme. Mike Priefer's scheme will remain largely the same but may be tweaked based on which defensive and offensive players are kept and are asked to play on special teams.

In your mind, what is the most exciting or interesting part of the Vikings defense for this season? -- Carson Iowa

I'm anxious to see how the Vikings CB depth chart and rotation work out. It's a position that improved significantly last season under Zimmer and right now it's a position that has some pretty good depth and a blend of both veterans (Captain Munnerlyn, Terence Newman), guys in their prime (Rhodes) and youth (Justin Coleman, Jabari Price, Waynes). Regardless of how it shakes out, it figures to be a deep and talented group with room to grow.

I've noticed in the highlights you see a lot of Teddy's completions as well as the other QBs but you also see a good amount of breakups and interceptions. Going into training camp, where is the line between it being better to see the QBs not turn the ball over and wanting to see the defense force turnovers? -- YC Lindsay Denver Colorado

You'd like to see a fair amount of both, but ultimately it comes down to several factors. You don't want to see the second-team defense beating the first-team offense a lot, for example. Also, some drills and periods naturally favor one side of the ball over the other (i.e. the 7-on-7 drill favors the offense), and so you'd like to see the side of the ball that's being favored win those competitions more times than not.

Is Brandon Fusco officially moved to LG, and what are the odds of TJ Clemmings earning a starting spot on the OL this season? -- Sam Kline Superior, WI

I wouldn't characterize anything as official yet. But Fusco did play at LG with the first time during the first practice of camp, with Mike Harris playing RG. As for Clemmings, Zimmer said he would be training at OT going forward and with that being the case I believe he'll have a hard time cracking the starting lineup soon because Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt have a good handle on those jobs.

What I am most concerned about is our two-minute offense and defense. The difference between 7-9 and the playoffs is being able to win those crucial two minutes. What are the keys to ensuring improved performance in this area and do you think the Vikings will be able to fix the issues? -- Carlos Costa Mesa, CA

The key to improving in these areas is getting players who can execute and perform as well as dedicating parts of practice to situational football so that when the time comes in a game to execute in those spots it will have already been done properly in practice. I do think the Vikings will make significant strides in situational football because Zimmer has multiple situations every practice, especially during training camp practices.

There are still some valuable free agents available, like Reggie Wayne and Wes Welker. Do the Vikings have any interest in signing any veteran players at this stage of the season? -- Todd Thurmer

You never rule anything out, but at this stage my sense is the Vikings won't be bringing in any high-profile free agents. It might make more sense to see what you have on your own roster in training camp and a preseason game or two before you delve into the open market and try to have a new player assimilate into the mix in the middle of camp.

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