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After watching the highlights from OTAs, I have seen Laquon Treadwell has been lining up against Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes a lot. In your opinion, is this a good sign that he will be lining up as the WR3 on game day? From the highlights, it seems like he has taken a very large step forward offseason. -- Theron Merrick
The coaches have given Treadwell an opportunity to win that job and he's done a good job of taking advantage of that opportunity. There's no doubt that, for me, Treadwell has been a standout in the first six OTAs. He's getting a lot of reps with Sam Bradford and he is usually the third guy in three-receiver sets. He's had some great battles with Rhodes, too, which will only help him as he tries to take a big step forward in his second season. The arrow is definitely point up for Treadwell.
In your observations of rookie Dalvin Cook, what do you feel his greatest physical strengths will be – running or receiving? Also, how would you rate his intellectual capabilities as a player? How well is he learning his roles, the playbook, etc.? -- Phillip Taylor
Cook's main contribution to the offense will be as a runner. I don't know if he'll wind up being the lead back at some point this year, but he has all the makings and completely looks the part of a back who can be the lead dog. One of my favorite traits of his is his vision; he seems to be decisive in his cuts and he's rarely running into blockers or tacklers in practices. The speed with which he's playing tells me he's picking up the playbook just fine; he doesn't look like a guy who is out there thinking too much because he's overwhelmed by the mental part of the game.
Do you see any surprises so far in camp from the third or even fourth team in terms of players who might make the team based upon what you have seen? -- Bob Holan Jacksonville, FL
Take this with a grain of salt because we've only had six OTAs and these guys are running around in shorts, not pads. But I've been impressed with DE Tashawn Bower, an undrafted free agent out of LSU. He has great size (6-5, 250) and length, and reminds me a lot of what Danielle Hunter looked like as a rookie. TE Nick Truesdell has made a lot of plays, as has rookie receiver Rodney Adams.
Since Cordarrelle Patterson has left, are there any rookies who might lead in the competition for the gunner spot on the punt team? -- Steve Wodke Woodbury, MN
A question about the competition for a gunner spot on the punt team…Vikings fans are awesome. I love it! Steve is totally dialed into the team with that kind of question in the early part of June. This will be interesting to watch because we've seen Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer get creative with his gunners. Everson Griffen played gunner at one time, and of course Patterson emerged in that role last year. Marcus Sherels is one of the gunners, and he's the best gunner in the NFL for my money. A guy like Jerick McKinnon wouldn't surprise me, given Priefer's creativity and McKinnon's willingness to do whatever the team asks of him; he also has a great skill set for that kind of role. At this stage, though, it's too early to tell and I wouldn't rule anyone out given Priefer's creativity.
What player who was on the roster last year but is not on the roster this year will be the biggest void to fill? -- Kevin Willier California
Patterson has been the best kickoff returner in the NFL the last few seasons, so one could argue that position right off the bat. I'd say Captain Munnerlyn in the nickel role and Chad Greenway as a starter at outside LB in the base defense is a big void, too. Given how often defenses are using a sub package in today's game, I'd argue the nickel CB vacancy is the biggest void to fill, but I'd also argue the Vikings have a great plan/contingency plan in place to fill that void with second-year player Mack Alexander and veteran Terence Newman in the fold.
With Sam Bradford healthy and Teddy rehabbing, what is the QB2 spot looking like? And QB3 for that matter? -- Blake Dufner Richmond, MN
Case Keenum was signed this offseason to be the backup and it looks for now as if he'll be able to secure that job. Three-year pro Taylor Heinicke and undrafted rookie Wes Lunt are the other two QBs on the roster and I'd guess Heinicke will go into training camp ahead of Lunt for the third quarterback job.