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Monday Morning Mailbag: Rookie Minicamp Impressions

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I love Eric Kendricks as our middle linebacker. But do you think his size will be a liability? Or do you think that, like John Randle, he will be a force to be reckoned with despite being "undersized" for his particular position? -- Paul Engleson

As UCLA's all-time leading tackler, Kendricks has already shown me that his size is not a liability. Granted, carving out a productive career at UCLA is different than doing so at the NFL level, but he certainly wouldn't be the first to do so despite less-than-ideal size for his positon, plus he's just 23 years old so he could add some weight as his body matures. He's listed at 6-0, 232 pounds, which isn't far off from what EJ Henderson measured in at toward the end of his career (6-1, 245 pounds).

In the rookie minicamp highlight clips on vikings.com, WR Stefon Diggs flashes nicely. Do you think he's the real deal? -- Robert Bowman

Diggs seemed to have a nice camp, yes. What stands out the most to me with him is how smooth and natural he looks when he operates, on top of the fact that he's very quick. He was a special player for the University of Maryland, particularly once the football was in his hands. Watching his college tape, he had outstanding acceleration and change of direction ability, plus he seemed to have a natural feel for finding creases and running lanes. Now, it's no surprise he looks good in a highlight tape because it is, after all, a highlight tape, and this was just one three-day rookie minicamp. But it's easy to like Diggs so far and it'll be fun to see him develop within Norv Turner's offense.

Should the Vikings have Danielle Hunter play special teams like Everson Griffen did when he was a rookie and develop him under Griffen? -- Cameron Venske

I love the idea of Hunter learning how to play in the NFL behind veterans such as Griffen and Robison, and while doing that being at the full disposal of Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer. Hunter's raw athleticism will be a great tool for Priefer to use in a variety of special teams capacities, and then that athleticism along with the fact that he's just 20 years old makes him a great project for Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson.

What was the atmosphere like this week compared to prior rookie minicamps & who were some of the standouts that you noticed? -- Michael Haupt Arizona

The atmosphere was great at the Vikings rookie camp because everyone was excited to be back out on the football field. The players were excited to be out there because they had just been through several months of pre-draft build up where everyone was dissecting their 40-yard dash times and vertical leap measurements. Coaches were excited to be out on the field after being out on the road at pro days and in meetings for the draft over the last several months. As for standouts, it's hard not to be impressed with Diggs because he is such a natural and fluid athlete. Kendricks looks like a bona fide leader on the field and it'll be interesting to watch him assimilate into the Vikings defense. We all know Trae Waynes timed well in the 40-yard dash at the Combine (4.31 seconds), but he also plays fast in pads and a helmet on the field and that was good to see.

Why did we not draft a strong safety this year? -- Motrone Plight

There are a number of reasons I can think of that a safety wasn't drafted. First, Spielman takes the best player available when he's on the clock. So if a safety is not the best player available when the Vikings are on the clock, a safety is not going to be selected. Secondly, the Vikings have a young starter in Robert Blanton, they have a quality reserve in Andrew Sendejo, they have a second-year player they are anxious to see develop in Antone Exum, Jr., and they signed Taylor Mays, who knows Mike Zimmer's defense well because he played in it in Cincinnati. All of that combined explains why they didn't draft a safety this year. It should also be noted the Vikings did sign Anthony Harris as an undrafted free agent following the draft, and he's listed on the roster as a safety and could be a guy who competes for a spot on the roster for 2015.

If Adrian Peterson does play for the Vikings this year, how do you think the chemistry will be with Teddy Bridgewater as the starting quarterback? -- Josh Winters

Chemistry is an important trait for a team to have in general and for particular teammates to have with each other, and I don't take the development of it lightly. At the same time, given what the Vikings offense will ask Peterson to do and given that Bridgewater proved last season that he can be a quick study, the synergy between these two players won't take long to develop.

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