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Monday Morning Mailbag: Offensive Outlook for 2016

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I love what Rick Spielman did with this year's 3rd-round pick, trading with Miami for their 2017 3rd and 4th-round picks. As I hope the Vikings will be drafting toward the bottom of each round, this gives Rick the opportunity to use those picks to trade up and go after a player they really want next year. What are your thoughts? -- Jim Wratkowski

Think of the extra picks as extra currency; that's how teams look at it. In the 2016 draft, there were 13 trades made within the first two rounds, and 12 of those 13 deals included at least one pick in the 3rd or 4th round. Having an additional pick in both the 3rd and 4th round gives the Vikings great flexibility to upgrade and acquire valuable selections in the first two rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft so they can aggressively go after players they covet.

With new receivers like Laquon Treadwell and Mortiz Böhringer, do you think the passing game will be more utilized by the Vikings? Or will Adrian Peterson be our main guy still? -- Blake Kettler

I believe Peterson and the running game will continue to be the bread and butter of the offense, as it should be, but I also feel the passing game will be more effective in 2016 and therefore the offense as a whole will be more balanced. A bigger key to the passing game being more effective in 2016 will be the performance of the pass protection, not necessarily additions at the pass-catching positions.

Even with the addition of Treadwell in the draft, are you still worried about the Vikings WR depth? I'm not criticizing the Vikings for deciding against throwing big money in free agency. You hope Diggs improves and that Treadwell can come in and contribute, but if not or if there are injuries you're looking at Charles Johnson, Jarius Wright, or Cordarrelle Patterson as the other options. That's got to be concerning for a team expecting to make some noise in the playoffs and contend with the top NFC teams, right? -- Alex Hennessey

No, I don't find it concerning because I like what the Vikings have going at WR. And that includes someone Alex left out of the email – Adam Thielen. This group is young, but aside from Treadwell it contains players who've been meshing with Teddy Bridgewater for a while. I think Treadwell will assimilate into the group quickly, too. This group is competitive, they complement each other well and they have all bought into what head coach Mike Zimmer is selling. The WR group will not be one that holds any part of the offense back in 2016.

What do you think of this idea: Alex Boone switching to left tackle and Matt Kalil moving inside to guard? -- Richard B. San Diego, CA

I like the idea of Kalil at LT and Boone at LG better. Swapping them will just put two players out of position and, quite frankly, I'm not sure that either guy could do the other guy's job better than the other guy could do it. Kalil was better than people gave him credit for in 2014 and he was very good in 2015 and he'll have a chance to have another good season with Boone playing next to him. There's a lot to like about the left side of the Vikings offensive line heading into 2016.

What is a precise route and why is it so hard for young receivers to learn how to run them? -- Michael Seery

Aside from depth and direction, there are many components to running the proper route. Proper alignment, correct hand and foot technique to get off the line, and being crafty by varying speed in and out of breaks and using eyes to manipulate the DB are among them. Receivers are also taught to use shoulder leans and dips, to use the inside/outside foot to cut, and to eliminate wasted steps. All of this, and we haven't even gotten into reading coverages and converting routes based on the coverage and leverage used by DBs. There are also audibles, hot routes and protection adjustments that receivers must be aware of. It's an intricate process and regardless of what system a receiver comes from in college, it's a significant adjustment once that player gets to the NFL.

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