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Monday Morning Mailbag: NFC Contenders, Starting QB, More

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One thing that stood out for me was the Vikings physicality on both sides of the ball. I thought all along they'd be able to assert themselves once they made their adjustments. Honestly, I think the Vikings and Eagles are the two best teams in the NFC right now. There are other good teams but Philadelphia and our guys are the elite teams right now. -- Gary Gross

Don't count out teams such as the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions. The Vikings will see the Lions again on Thursday as they look to avenge and early-season loss to their division rival. There's also a team in the northwest that has playoff swagger and equity that you can't forget about. There is still a lot of football to be played.

There's no question physicality is a trademark of the Vikings defensive and offensive lines. The Vikings didn't allow a sack on Sunday and they've allowed one sack in the last six games. The Vikings also averaged 4.9 yards per carry, were two of two in the red zone and were two of two in goal-to-go situations. On defense, the Vikings allowed a per-rush average of only 2.6 yards and they held the Rams out of the end zone on two of three red zone possessions. If those stats don't illustrate a physical and tough team in the trenches, I don't know what does.

We heard all offseason that Coach Zimmer wanted to improve situational football. From the stats I researched, our 3rd down efficiency has improved. The same can be said with our 3rd down defense. What do you think has had the most impact on our much-improved situational football? I feel that our team resilience is a key for our continued success. SKOL! -- Erick San Antonio, TX

You get good at what you practice. I know that all teams work on situational football, so the Vikings are no different in that regard. But I'm at most of the team's practices in the offseason and all of them during training camp, and I can say with certainty that coach Zimmer was consistent in his messaging to the team and in his dedication at practice to the situational football topic. It was a point of emphasis for him and now his team is realizing the fruits of the labor.

I say we go with the hot hand next week and not only stick with Case Keenum but also stick with Anthony Harris. What a day! -- Miles Pearson

Harris played great in the game, leading the team in tackles with seven and of course registering the forced fumble and fumble recovery of Rams receiver Cooper Kupp at the goal line to prevent a would-be touchdown. Credit goes to him for stepping up and making sure the defense didn't miss a beat. But I can't say I'm ready to cast aside Sendejo, just like I don't think it's fair to cast aside Mike Remmers in favor of Rashod Hill, who has played great in two-plus games replacing Remmers while he tries to come back from a concussion. The Vikings roster has great depth right now, and both Harris and Hill are examples of that, as is Stephen Weatherly, who stepped in for Brian Robison on Sunday.

My only concern has been our kicker, first with the extra point misses and now the missed field goals.

-- John McGuire Lone Pine CA

After two missed field goals in the same game, it's only fair to come away from the game concerned about that facet of the performance. At the same time, let's also remember that Forbath is still 22 of 25 on the season and he's a perfect five of five from 50 . It's time to go back to practice and make corrections, but it's not time to press the panic button.

As a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, I pay close attention to Tom Johnson and Rashod Hill. What are your thoughts about the play this year from these two former Golden Eagles? -- Kevin Farrell

While not household names like others on their side of the ball, Hill and Johnson have played important roles for the Vikings this season. Hill has started the last two games in place of Mike Remmers and he played most of the game in London when Remmers left the game with an injury. The offensive line hasn't missed a beat with Hill playing right tackle and the offense has a whole has averaged 31.7 points per game with Hill in the lineup. Johnson has been the starting three technique all season, and everyone knows how physical and productive the Vikings defensive line is; Johnson is a big part of that. His combination of quickness and strength is often times too much for interior defensive linemen to handle in one-on-one situations.

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