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Monday Morning Mailbag: Offseason Plans at WR

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Can we expect to be more aggressive on offense in 2016? -- Eric Walker

It's hard to know how we will characterize the offense in 2016 because we are only three weeks removed from the last game of the 2015 season and a lot will happen and change between now and the next regular season. I will not be surprised if the Vikings improve over the offseason and if that improvement yields higher rankings in some key offensive categories. At the same time, I liked the way the Vikings offense operated in 2015 because it complemented the way the Vikings defense and special teams was playing. The Vikings did a great job of protecting the football (fourth-fewest turnovers), playing (and often winning) the field position game and keeping the opposition off the scoreboard (No. 5 scoring defense). This strategy resulted in the Vikings winning 11 games and capturing the NFC North crown.

Do you think the Vikings will use a two-minute offense more often next year? It seems to me that the offense clicks when they run it. -- Mike Cautillo

A prime example of a time in which the Vikings executed the two-minute offense well is the win at Soldier Field in Week 8. In that game, Teddy Bridgewater led the Vikings on two scoring drives to score 10 points in the final 1 minute, 49 seconds that led to a dramatic 23-20 victory when Blair Walsh's 36-yard field goal sailed through the uprights. Hopefully the offense is in a lot more four-minute situations than two-minute situations next year; four-minute drives are when you have a lead and you're trying to run off as much time as possible. It's important to be efficient in both, obviously, and I would expect the team will work on its two-minute offense in virtually every practice from the start of the offseason program through the duration of the season. The NFL is a week-to-week league, meaning that teams often times alter their approach and craft a game plan that is specific to the opponent they're playing. If offensive coordinator Norv Turner feels a hurry-up or two-minute offense will lead to more efficiency based on the weaknesses of the opponent that particular week, then I absolutely feel like that is something Bridgewater and the rest of the offensive players can execute.

What are the Vikings plans for the wide receiver position? Is Adam Thielen going to be a bigger part in the offense and is Mike Wallace staying? Are there plans to get any receivers in free agency? -- Joe V.

I'm not privy to what the team's plans are, but I know GM Rick Spielman and Head Coach Mike Zimmer are on the same page in terms of wanting to add talent to every position on the roster. Zimmer said in his end-of-season press conference two weeks ago that he's "not really going to hand out jobs on January 12." To me, that means no one should enter the offseason thinking they've got a spot locked up. Thielen keeps improving and I wouldn't be surprised if he earned a larger role on offense. As for adding new players to the position, the Vikings will likely use all avenues possible to increase the competition, meaning both free agency (opens on March 9) and the draft (April 28-30) are in play.

Can Cordarrelle Patterson work his way into the starting line up? -- Demarous Davis

I believe Patterson has the ability to work his way there and I know the coaching staff in Minnesota will give him the opportunity to earn it. But it will require a lot of hard work and dedication because the Vikings have collected a lot of talent at that position and, as stated in the answer above, they could be aggressive in adding even more play makers for Bridgewater to have at his disposal.

This year was obviously a huge step forward for our young team in terms of building and development. To continue building our team, two positions that we need to address are safety and offensive line. Do you see Anthony Harris as the next man to line up next to Harrison Smith? And given Joe Berger's excellent season along with his experience in multiple positions, will they move him to a different position with John Sullivan coming back? -- Josh H.

I think Harris will be one of the guys who competes for a starting safety job, but I also think a couple others on the roster will do that along with free agent(s) and draft pick(s). As for Berger, I definitely think he'll be on the team, but I don't know what position he'll play. Obviously he had a good year at C, but he's a good OG, too. I don't see him as an OT. Ideally, Sully will come back and be healthy and he'll beat out Berger for that job, which would mean he becomes a candidate to start at one of the OG spots or he can be the primary backup at both OG spots plus at C.

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