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Monday Morning Mailbag: OTA's Have Arrived

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Do you think the new rule change this year to the PAT system will cause the Vikings to attempt more two-point conversions this season? With the outdoor conditions (at TCF Bank Stadium) to factor and the success of Matt Asiata in short-yardage, it would seem this could benefit our team and increase the tempo on offense. -- Guy Hempelman Prescott, AZ

The Vikings were four-for-four on two-point conversion attempts in 2014 and my guess is they will attempt more than four in 2015, but I don't believe the PAT modification set for 2015 will cause a significant increase in two-point tries for the Vikings. Blair Walsh is one of the NFL's best kickers and he is four-for-four in his career on 33-yard field goals (the new distance of extra points), so I expect Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer to continue relying on Walsh to tack on the extra point after touchdowns.

View the top 30 images of Vikings special teamers from the 2014 season.

With the new PAT rule, how will the 33-yard extra point affect Blair Walsh? Especially when we will be playing outdoor home games. -- Mike Dolinsky

For all kickers, the PAT modification will create more practice reps at the 33-yard distance and it will put them in some clutch situations where game-tying, go-ahead or otherwise-crucial extra points that used to be automatic will now be less-automatic 33-yard tries. Ultimately, this all will have less of an effect on Walsh than on most kickers because Walsh is one of the better kickers in the League, he has hit a bunch of clutch field goals already in his young career, and he's perfect in his career from the 33-yard distance.

With the addition of all of the speed demons, a large contingent of outside linebackers, some "tweeners" and a singular pass-rushing defensive end, are the Vikings headed for a 3-4 defense? Or at least a hybrid? -- Dan Reitan

With Zimmer and his creativity and unpredictable nature, I wouldn't rule anything out. But I feel the Vikings have the personnel and the makings on defense of a stout 4-3 scheme. Sure, Linval Joseph could be a two-gapping nose tackle and we all see Everson Griffen's athleticism and wonder if he could transition to a 3-4 rush outside linebacker, but I think those two players are also vital cogs to a 4-3 front. I don't see a change to the 3-4 coming in 2015, but with coach Zimmer you never know, and even in a scenario where the Vikings stick with the 4-3 I could see Zimmer showing the offense an occasional odd-man front just to mix things up.

View the 10 undrafted free agents the Vikings agreed to terms with following the 2015 NFL Draft.

What do you think are the chances for some of these undrafted free agents, such as QB Taylor Heinicke, S Anthony Harris, and WR Devaris Daniels, to make the final roster? -- Tom Anderson Gordon, NE

Undrafted does not mean undeserving. Every year, undrafted players make NFL rosters and become contributors and sometimes even stars. Two of the best players in Vikings history were undrafted and are Hall of Famers – John Randle and Mick Tingelhoff (he'll be enshrined this summer). But just because it's happened before doesn't mean it's going to happen again, and there are far more undrafted players who go unnoticed than who wind up making rosters. Only time will tell how this year's crop of Vikings undrafted players do, but now that they're on a roster, they have a shot.

I don't see where we have improved our receiving unit one bit. I'm hoping Charles Johnson and MyCole Pruitt, both from non-descript schools, will have the same careers as another receiver from a non-descript school, Jerry Rice, had. What's the odds of that happening? -- Kenny Rogers

The odds either Johnson or Pruitt have a Jerry Rice-like career are astronomical, obviously. Rice is arguably the best NFL player of all-time and he's certainly the best wide receiver of all-time. But falling short of Rice is no failure. I believe the Vikings pass-catching corps is indeed better now than it was at the end of last season and I believe the natural development of both Charles Johnson and Cordarrelle Patterson, along with the addition of Mike Wallace, are the main reasons why. Throw in some improvement from Adam Thielen and Jarius Wright, along with the addition of rookie Stefon Diggs, and I think the Viking have some good talent in the wide receiver stable.

Does MyCole Pruitt's entrance signal a diminishing role for Kyle Rudolph, or do you expect Pruitt to only be used in certain packages? -- David Freeman

Let's slow the roll Rudolph being replaced here. I'm as excited as the next guy about the addition of Pruitt, a prolific pass catcher from Southern Illinois who I feel will fit well in Norv Turner's offense. But his presence does signal any sort of diminishing role for Rudolph. Keep in mind, Rudolph was a second-round pick out of powerhouse Notre Dame who has been to the Pro Bowl and is in the prime of his career, while Pruitt is a rookie fifth-rounder from Southern Illinois. This is no indictment on Pruitt, in fact if anything it's protecting him from too high of expectations. The Vikings sit right now with Rudolph and Rhett Ellison as their top two tight ends, with Pruitt competing with Brandon Bostick and Chase Ford for a spot after that.

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