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Monday Morning Mailbag: Teddy Steps Up

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Even though Adrian Peterson didn't have an impact, outside of that 75-yard run, do you feel his presence alone allows things to open up? -- Dan Jones

Without question. Peterson did have a profound impact on the game Sunday. While 75 of his 98 rushing yards did come on one play, the other 18 rushing attempts kept the Lions defense honest and wore on them over time. Because the Vikings remains committed running the football, the Lions pass rush had to honor the run and that helped open things up for the passing game. Had the Vikings given up on the run, then the Lions pass rush could've pinned its ears back. Head coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner were wise to stick with the running game even after going down 14-3 and even after it was apparent Teddy Bridgewater was having a good day.

I think Teddy looked tremendous vs the Lions. The Vikings can definitely pass down field. Before this game, the Vikings seemed to run the ball more than pass. Do you see the Vikings passing more than running moving forward? -- John Lazos San Diego, CA

The Vikings finished the game with the same number of rushing attempts as passing attempts – 35 each. In their four wins this season, the Vikings have had more rushing attempts than passing attempts and they've had more passing attempts than rushing attempts in their two losses. Every team strives for offensive balance and that's what the Vikings had against Detroit. Even more than balance, though, every team strives to do what it takes to win. Some games, you need to pass a lot to win. Other games, you need to run a lot to win. It's all dependent on what you determine is the best way to attack the opponent and then on how the game unfolds. I expect the Vikings to have some games where they rely on the rushing attack to pace the offense and then other games where Bridgewater and the passing game have to lead the way.

We need to get better at scoring TDs when we are at the five yard line. We did not take advantage of being deep in the red zone and getting big scores. What do you think the Vikings have to do get more touchdowns than field goals? -- Ray

The Vikings were one of four in the red zone and one of three in goal-to-go efficiency. Fortunately, Blair Walsh was there to salvage drives with field goals, but Ray is right that red zone scoring is an area where the Vikings need to improve going forward. They rank 18th in red zone touchdown scoring efficiency at 42.1%. I wouldn't single out one aspect of the offense that needs to improve in order to yield a better performance in the red zone. Someone just needs to make a play, much like Kyle Rudolph did on Sunday when he made a clutch one-handed grab to register the Vikings only red zone touchdown of the day.

Stefon Diggs reminds me a lot of Odell Beckham, Jr. At this rate, I think he will find himself a spot in the Pro Bowl. What are your thoughts on his progression? -- Jackson Schell

It's hard to be anything but pleased with Diggs' progression so far. He has been making plays ever since he stepped foot on the Winter Park practice fields in May, and now he's reinforcing the excitement everyone around the team had for him by playing well in regular season games. He still has a lot to learn and a lot upon which to improve, as all rookies do, but so far so good for Diggs. The catch he made on Sunday may be the play of the year so far in the NFL, and it certainly is for the Vikings. I'd be careful on comparisons, though. Let him be his own player, and also remember that Beckham, Jr. has authored an incredible body of work so far in his young career, with 133 receptions for 1,829 yards and 16 touchdowns in his first 19 games.

Besides the slow start, the Vikings looked like the team everyone expected them to be. Excellent defense, Teddy making great throws, and Peterson breaking free for a great gain. What must happen for the Vikings to be consistently effective? -- Cody Carter California

That is the never-ending search – the search for consistency. I look around the League at some of the teams who exhibit the most consistency and for the most part you see teams who've been together for a long time. They have a system in place – defensively and offensively – and they have a core group of players who've been playing together for a long time along with a few new parts (young players, free agents) who are plugged in along the way. That's what I think Zimmer and Turner are trying to do with the Vikings – develop a brand of football, a style of football, a way of doing things on both side of the ball and then develop a core of players who can execute properly and have them play together for a long time. I think Zimmer had that with his defensive players in both Dallas and Cincinnati and I think Turner had that when he was in Dallas and also as head coach of the San Diego Chargers from 2007-12.

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