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Monday Morning Mailbag: Previewing Vikings-Bears

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It seems many statistics show that a lot of good teams sometimes benefit from having a loss so that they can regroup and refocus throughout the rest of the season. Of course this is opinion and can't be proven. Do you feel that suffering a loss sometimes midway through a season or about a third of the way through a season can sometimes help the team to fix their problems and leave them with a bitter taste in their mouth so that they don't want to go back to that situation? Or do you think it's all nonsense? == Casey Hansen

I don't think there's anything good about losing. There are only 16 games in a regular season and it can take as many as 10 or 11 wins to qualify for the postseason. At the same time, there is something to the idea of taking a loss and harvesting as much as you can from it, including channeling frustration into determination to correct mistakes and put forth a better effort the following week. The goal is to learn from mistakes and generate improvement all while winning games. But once a game is lost, it's lost and there's no going back, so it only makes sense to do everything you can to turn that into a positive.

With McKinnon out, more snaps for Hillman? -- Adam Johnson @Mr_GCU

I won't be surprised if it's Matt Asiata who starts the game and perhaps even sees the most snaps, but yes it stands to reason that Hillman will see more snaps on Monday night if McKinnon doesn't play.

With the offense needing a bit of a shot in the arm and a few players being dinged up, do you see Laquon Treadwell making the start and shaking things up a bit? -- Ray Bustos The Dalles, OR

I don't know about starting, but we are now six games and seven weeks into the season so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Treadwell on the field a bit more in the near future, and maybe even as soon as tonight. But I wouldn't point to his increased workload as something that would generate improvement on its own. Football is a team game, and the offense will need to play better as a unit in order to improve.

I know Shamar Stephen has done a pretty good job at filling in, but when should we expect to see Sharrif Floyd back? -- Andrew Eden Prairie, MN

Head coach Mike Zimmer has not shared a timeline for Floyd's return to the field, so it's hard to guess when he'll be back on the field. The good news is that Stephen has indeed done a nice job in his stead, and was even mentioned by Zimmer as a reason for improvement in run defense. The Vikings run defense ranked No. 3 heading into Week 8, up from its No. 17 ranking in 2015. The defensive line is a very good place to have depth, and Stephen has given the Vikings depth and, most importantly, production in that spot.

How come we don't see more intentional grounding calls?  It seems obvious the defense is not rewarded for pressuring the quarterback when he obviously throws it away. -- Paul Pecukonis Austin, TX

As long as the quarterback is outside of the offensive tackle and he gets the ball back to the line of scrimmage, throwing the ball away solely to avoid pressure is permitted. The biggest benefit to using this relief is that quarterbacks avoid taking more hits, which helps them avoid injuries. This is a good thing. And I would actually argue that the defense is rewarded for forcing a quarterback to throw the ball away because by throwing the ball away the quarterback has given up on the down.

I look forward to seeing the Vikings get back on track against the Bears. Always tough at Soldier Field, but I think we will get back to doing what we did the first five games. Last week was kind of a perfect storm situation to me…on the road, Eagles pumped up to play the last undefeated team, Sam Bradford coming back to Philly, Vikings coming off a bye…all that and we just had a bad game generally, besides the defense. All teams have those games at some point during a season. -- Doug M.

I agree that those are all factors that led to the Vikings loss in Philadelphia last week, but one could also interpret that list as one of excuses. It's unlikely you're going to win all your games, but you don't want to let one loss turn into two losses. I look forward to watching the Vikings get back on track in Chicago on Monday night, too, but it's not going to happen automatically and without significant improvement in a lot of areas. This team typically responds well to adversity, and they have a chance to put that ability on display against Chicago.

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