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Monday Morning Mailbag: Peterson's Super Bowl Mindset

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Adrian Peterson recently said something about how every member of the Vikings should be thinking Super Bowl and that if they aren't then they shouldn't be on the team. Do you think that Peterson just has that "Super Bowl or bust" mindset since the Vikings are on the rise, or do you think on some level he realistically sees a window where a Super Bowl with the Vikings is within reach? And does his age play a part in it for him to make those kind of comments? -- Kris Arndt Utah

I can't speak for Adrian, so it'd be better if he were here to answer the question. But what I took from it is that he has the same mindset that he always has. He believes in setting ambitious goals, and often times he achieves those goals. I don't read into his comments any other way than that. He always expects to be at his best and to achieve at a high level, and he's demanding his teammates to have those same expectations for themselves. To me, that's good leadership.

I've found that reports on OTA practices and training camp provide an excellent test of whether one is a "glass is half full" or "glass is half empty" person. When I read, for example, that the defense picked off Teddy twice in a practice, I don't think "Wow, defense is looking great." I think "Oh no, Teddy is looking terrible." How do you feel about such reports (and your own observations)? -- Anonymous Pessimist

Interesting question. One thing to remember about practice is that some periods are set up better for one side of the ball than for the other. It's important to keep that in mind because it can explain why one side consistently does better in that drill or in that period. Also, there are some times when players are given specific instructions for the purposes of that particular drill which could impact his chances for success. The coaching staff may ask the backup or scout team QB to force throws into tight spots to give defenders a good look in coverage, for example. In general, though, I don't think you ever want to see your starting QB throw an INT, whether it's in practice or in a game.

There has been lots of praise from many corners, including coach Zimmer, this offseason about Cordarrelle Patterson. Having said that, Zimmer also consistently says these 2 things: 1) Have to wait until we put the pads on to get a full evaluation; 2) Training camp is where starting jobs are won, not OTAs. Based on what you have seen and heard so far, if Patterson continues to build on the progress he has made this offseason and shows through training camp and preseason games that he's done the work necessary, do you think he has a shot at being a starter by the opening game? -- Brian Hylden

It depends what you mean by being a starter. With the wide receiver position, there can be as many as four players who see significant reps during a game. It's not like the offensive line, where five players see all the snaps, or linebacker, where two=to=three players see the bulk of the snaps. Wide receivers rotate in and out during the game and who is on the field at a given time is determined by factors such as play call, down and distance, location on the field and time remaining in the game. I do think Patterson has a chance to be one of those three-to-four wide receivers who sees the majority of the snaps, but I don't think he or anyone has already earned that role. They all still have to put more work in and demonstrate improvement during training camp and the preseason.

With the depth at offensive line, is it possible that the Vikings would ever consider a platoon system during a game to keep fresh legs going throughout all four quarters? -- Mindy Sorenson

That approach would surprise me because offensive linemen work so hard to develop synergy as a group. Having a platoon system would keep legs fresh, admittedly, but my sense is linemen value synergy more than fresh legs. It's just so important for those five players to be in-synch and to move as one body that maintaining continuity as much as possible is the preference. But it's good to have depth because, as the Vikings have experienced the past two seasons, injuries are going to happen and it's important to find a way around that adversity.

Watching practice highlights, I noticed that there is a red stripe about five yards from the boundary. Why is that? -- Brian Nock Armstrong, IA

It is used as another landmark for the offense, particularly for QBs and pass catchers to use in the passing game. Hash marks, inside the numbers, outside the numbers and the sideline are all landmarks used by the offense, and that red line that stretches vertically down the field is another one. The pass catchers know that some routes should be run inside or outside of the line and QBs know that some passes need to be delivered inside or outside that line, as well. Granted, that line is not on the field for games, but because it's there every day in practice the players have a good feel for it even on game days.

It looks like Teddy is getting absolutely destroyed by Cordarrelle in rock, paper, scissors. And by the way CP is celebrating, there looks to be more to it. What's going on there? -- Adrian B. Thunder Bay, ON

It's just two very competitive teammates finding yet another way to compete during the work day. I don't know who won the majority of the time this offseason, but I do know Teddy has bragging right for the next five weeks because he won the grand finale in the locker room on the last day of minicamp.

I feel like I have been waiting a long time to hear Viking players talking Super Bowl. I think it is long as it stops opening day and the focus shifts to one game at a time. How does the talk of Super Bowl make you feel? -- Bill

Excited. I love that even though this team accomplished a great deal in 2015 by winning 11 games and a division title they are still hungry and don't feel they've reached their potential. I agree that the "one day at a time" mentality is best, but I am also on board with setting the most ambitious of goals because if winning the ultimate prize isn't one of your goals, then what's the point of going out there?

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