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Monday Morning Mailbag: Timeline For QB Decision, More

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Thanks for another great year of content. Do you foresee the Vikings signing their quarterback before free agency begins or do you get the impression the process will take place after the quarterbacks hit the open market? Thanks again to you and PA for what you do for the fans as we need 24-hour access that only those on the inside can provide. -- Mark McIntire

If the Vikings wish to re-sign any of their quarterbacks who are scheduled to be free agents on March 14, I would imagine they'd prefer to get that done as soon as possible so they don't have to deal with competing offers from other clubs. Free agency is a two-way street, though, meaning a deal can't be signed just because a team wants it to be signed; the player has to want to get it done, too. That makes this question difficult to answer. You can't blame a soon-to-be free agent for wanting to get to the market to see what other teams feel his value is. The danger in that approach, though, is you may not like what you see on the market. This happened to a lot of running backs a year ago, as many of them chose to hit the open market only to find the market for running backs to be lower than expected because the upcoming draft class was loaded at the position.

We need to address the two most pressing issues: Who's our go-to quarterback and who's going to be the offensive coordinator? Do you think it is important to have the coordinator in place first, or vice versa? -- Nicholas Balkou

It's important and likely that the coordinator will be in place before the quarterback situation is defined. The Vikings are free to hire an offensive coordinator at any point, but they aren't in complete control of when they re-sign their own quarterback(s) and they can't sign a free agent quarterback or trade for a quarterback until March 14. All of this timing makes sense, too, because whomever the new coordinator is will probably have an opinion on who he wants the quarterback to be.

The offensive line has improved but still has work to do. How good can Rashod Hill, Danny Isidora and Aviante Collins become? How likely is it that Pat Elflein and Nick Easton will recover completely? Will we add depth and talent through the draft, free agency or both? -- Gerald Goblirsch

It's possible one or more of those three become starters, but it's certainly not something the team should assume will happen. I expect the team to continue developing them in the hopes they become starters or quality backups, but I also expect the team to use both the draft and free agency to add quality players to the offensive line. I don't have all the medical information on Easton and Elflein, but my sense is both players will make a full recovery and will be ready to go at some point before the 2018 regular season kicks off.

What positions do you feel the Vikings will prioritize in free agency? -- Kris Utah

This is another question that is very difficult to answer at this stage of the offseason. What the Vikings do in free agency will be largely dictated by three things: which players actually become free agents, the re-signing (or not) of current Vikings set to be free agents on March 14 and the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the 2018 draft class. For example, if the Vikings plan to re-sign one or two of their own players at a certain position and/or they feel the draft class is loaded at that same position, then they are unlikely to pursue that position in free agency. We will know more about what to expect in free agency from the Vikings once we see who hits free agency from other teams, which Vikings are re-signed and once we learn a bit more about the 2018 draft class.

I've heard you say before that it's wise to draft a quarterback almost every year for development purposes and you never know when you'll find the next diamond in the rough. That being said, if we keep Bradford, Bridgewater or Keenum, wouldn't Kyle Sloter be the developing quarterback? Or would you still want to see another just in case? -- Kyle Alexander

Yes, Sloter is a developmental quarterback, but I would still not hesitate to draft a quarterback this year even if one or two of Bradford, Bridgewater and Keenum are re-signed. It's just such an important position that if there was one available whom I liked, I would grab him. Plus, you need four quarterbacks for the offseason anyway, so why not take a chance on one you like?

I never hear anything about Ben Gedeon. Some games he has no tackles and no passes defensed. What is your take on him? -- Kevin Wolter

Gedeon had an impressive rookie season. He earned a starting role at linebacker on the base defense and he was one of the team's leading special teams tacklers. Gedeon came in and worked hard from Day 1 following the draft and he was exactly the type of player everyone from Michigan said he was – tough, smart and productive.

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