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Monday Morning Mailbag: Schedule Reaction + Draft Scenarios

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Just looked at the schedule and it looks pretty tough. Any thoughts on any of the games? I know it's super early to start thinking about it, but wanted your opinion. -- Stefan

There are no easy schedules in the NFL, that's for sure. Opening the season on the road and then hosting the Packers in Week 2 is certainly no walk in the park, but that would be about as good-looking a 2-0 as you'll find if the Vikings can take care of business early. A few other thoughts: Two home games into the Week 6 bye sets up nicely and could be a momentum-builder, but road games at Philadelphia and at Soldier Field coming out of the bye would test that momentum; the Vikings are the NFL's "holiday team" with games on Halloween, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve; only one real cold weather game with a Christmas Eve date in Lambeau; fun to close the regular season at home.

Did someone in Minnesota steal Gregg Rosenthal's parking spot once? It always comes off as he has somethings against the Vikings. I understand he is not going to pick us as a Top 4 powerhouse, but why give us the snub for other "second tier" teams like the Eagles and Rams? We barely lose to the Cardinals and Seahawks, split with Packers, and somehow we can't be in the same sentence as those teams? Doesn't make sense to me. -- Tony C.

I wouldn't worry about it. In fact, this is exactly how head coach Mike Zimmer would want it. Last year, he used the "no one believes in us" mantra as motivation a lot. With his team coming off an 11-win season and a division title, and with five nationally-televised and four prime time games, he probably feels that rallying cry won't work, at least not early in the season.

If both Laquon Treadwell and Josh Doctson are off the board when the Vikings pick at No. 23, wouldn't it be a better decision to take the best player available and then grab a Sterling Shepard or Tyler Boyd in the 2nd round? -- Keshun Carr

Taking the best player available is the strategy to use, even if either/both Treadwell and Doctson are there. While you – and maybe even the team – feels WR is the biggest need, that doesn't necessarily mean a WR will be the pick in the 1st round. If there is a higher-graded player at another position, the Vikings will take that player over any player at another position. As Keshun's alluded to, there is 2nd-round and even mid-round depth at WR in this year's class, so there's no reason to force the pick of a WR at No. 23.

Rick Spielman typically likes to have 10 draft picks per year. That being said, what are the chances he breaks that trend and decides to sacrifice a few picks and move up to get a player like Myles Jack? He was unusually active in free agency this year so could we possibly see him stray from the norm? -- Jake Torrez

I doubt it will be for Jack because he's likely a Top 7-8ish pick and moving to that range from where the Vikings currently sit at No. 23 would be a prohibitive cost, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Vikings use 2016 draft picks to move up a few spots in either the 1st or later rounds if a player they love is one the board and they fear that player won't still be there when they are on the clock next. The roster is young and talented enough to where it's legitimate to wonder if the majority of 10 draft picks this year could even make the roster, so the thinking could be to jettison that philosophy – at least for this year – in favor of one that lands more quality over quantity. Generally speaking, I'd say quantity is important because the more darts you have to throw at the dart board the better chance you have of hitting bullseyes, but there is a case to be made to deviate from that strategy this year. Whether the Vikings do or not, remains to be seen.

View images of the Norseman sign that was recently installed on the ceiling in the Vikings' locker room at U.S. Bank Stadium.

How will the Titans-Rams trade affect the draft board in general for all teams? And, specifically for the Vikings? -- Luis Michel

In general, and assuming the Rams take a QB with the No. 1 pick, it probably increases the likelihood that a QB will also be taken at No. 2, where the Browns currently reside. Before the trade, many thought Laremy Tunsil would be the first pick and the earliest a QB could go was No. 2, but now it seems likely that both the first two picks will be QBs. This pushes Tunsil and, by definition, every other non-QB down the board by at least one spot. It also increases the value of other QBs – or at least of other 1st-round QBs – because teams picking outside of the top two may feel compelled to trade up to get their guy rather than waiting around and hoping the third QB to go off the board falls into their laps. To dig one step deeper, I also wonder if this trade hurts one of the four top defenders in this draft - DE Joey Bosa, DL DeForest Buckner, LB Myles Jack, DB Jalen Ramsey. If it goes QB-QB-Tunsil in the first three picks, then the earliest the first defender would go is No. 4 to Dallas. Previously, Ramsey was considered an option at No. 1 for Tennessee or No. 3 for San Diego, but there's a good chance Dallas will have their choice among Ramsey and the other three top defenders when they are on the clock at No. 4. Jacksonville (No. 5), Baltimore (No. 6) and maybe even Tampa Bay (No. 9) are also all now in the mix for one of these four top defenders. 

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