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Monday Morning Mailbag: Wallace's Impact on Patterson

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Do you think Cordarrelle Patterson will get a bigger role even with the signing of Mike Wallace? Or will he just continue to play as a kickoff returner? -- Josh Thrush

A rising tide floats all boats. The signing of Wallace may actually enhance the role Patterson will take in 2015. While Wallace could command more targets than Patterson in the passing game, Wallace's presence on the field and the way the defense tries to neutralize his speed may actually open things up underneath and in the intermediate range for Patterson. Earlier this offseason, I listed three reasons you can expect Patterson to have a big 2015 and none of those reasons are adversely impacted by the signing of Wallace.

What do you think of Reggie Wayne of possibly joining the Vikings? -- Michael Adams

Wayne will be a Hall of Famer one day and I wouldn't be surprised if he has enough gas left in the tank for another quality season, but given that the Vikings traded for Mike Wallace, have a solid crew of youngsters at the position and could address the position early in this year's draft, I don't know that they'd be the best suitors for Wayne. I'm guessing the veteran receiver will look elsewhere to finish his prolific career.

I have been hearing that Landon Collins might slip in this draft due to teams being reluctant taking safeties that high. If so, would it be ideal to trade down and draft him over a higher CB? Which would be a better fit in Zimmer's defense: Marcus Peters or Trae Waynes next to Xavier Rhodes, or Collins next to Harrison Smith? -- Shaun Stanford, CA

Because it's harder to find good corners than it is to find good safeties, I am more inclined to endorse taking a cornerback in the first round. Obviously the Vikings have found success recently drafting both positions in the first round, but within the confines of Shaun's question I would lean toward a cornerback and of the two he included I would side with Waynes. That opinion is subject to change, of course, as the draft nears and I become more educated on each player. 

With the departure of Jasper Brinkley, we currently have a hole at the inside LB spot. Do you think Audie Cole or Michael Mauti will take over that spot or maybe we go after a decent LB who is still in free agency, like Brandon Spikes? Or will we fill that hole in the draft? -- Jack D.

There's still a chance the Vikings sign an inside linebacker in free agency, perhaps even Spikes. But at this point it appears the team will go with what they have plus whomever they pick up in the draft to try and fill the vacancy left by Brinkley's departure. It will be interesting to see what the Vikings plan is for this position because they haven't addressed it yet and most analysts will tell you this year's draft class isn't the deepest at inside linebacker.

View the top 30 images of Vikings running backs from the 2014 season.

Could you clarify the DuJuan Harris signing a bit? Even if Adrian Peterson isn't back next season, we still have Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata, Joe Banyard, Henry Josey and a draft coming up which is loaded with talent at the running back position. I guess I just don't understand this signing at this time. -- Tanner Weber

Teams bring up to 90 players to training camp with them and most of those players will also be with their teams during the offseason program from April through the early part of June. With rosters this size, teams are going to have anywhere from five-to-eight running backs/fullbacks on the roster. Harris has some versatility to him because he can be a ball carrier and he can also play on special teams, so his addition is a good one for now and I expect he'll be in the mix to win a roster position when the team cuts down to 53 players.

Is Zach Line the presumptive starting fullback? He was a very good running back at his college. Has a Norv Turner offense ever used a versatile FB beyond blocking? -- Raymond Molter

Yes, by default Line is the presumptive starter because he is the only fullback on the Vikings roster at this point. The Vikings have held onto Line for a couple seasons now, including last season while he was on the reserve/injured list, so they clearly see potential in him and this offseason looks to be his best shot yet to earn a significant role. Turner has leaned quite a bit on the fullback during his coaching tenure in the NFL, and the most notable one that comes to my mind is Daryl Johnston of the Dallas Cowboys. While he was certainly known for his ability as a blocker and on special teams, Johnston was also used as a runner and receiver. From 1991-93 while playing under Turner in Dallas, Johnston logged 58 carries and three rushing touchdowns as well as 110 receptions and four receiving touchdowns.

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