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Monday Morning Mailbag: Which Rookies Are Opening Eyes?

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Everyone has been talking about Vikings rookies CB Trae Waynes, LB Eric Kendricks, and OL TJ Clemmings. But how are WR Stephon Diggs, DL Danielle Hunter, and undrafted S Anthony Harris progressing so far in training camp? -- Rodney West Virginia

Diggs has been a standout at training camp so far, making highlight reel caches daily and even finding the end zone a few times in the Saturday night practice. He has a knack for making the spectacular catch and doesn't seem to have a problem beating solid coverage. He hasn't seen a lot of reps against the first-team defense, so it will be interesting to see if he has the same success in that scenario. But so far, so good for Diggs. Both Hunter and Harris have been solid with the reps they've gotten, with Hunter seeing a little more action with the second-team defensive line than Harris is seeing with the second-team secondary.

Now that Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson seem to be the clear No. 1 and No. 2 wide receivers and deep threats, how will the Vikings utilize Jarius Wright to their advantage? -- Joseph Young

The great thing about Wright is he's a versatile player. Not only can he play as an outside receiver or in the slot, but he's also a guy you can use on end-arounds or reverses and you can have him in the game when you're going to run the ball because he's a willing and gritty blocker. Wright is good in the screen game, he's sure-handed so he's good on 3rd downs, and he's a guy you can motion and move around a lot. He can help the Vikings in a lot of ways and that's what makes him a valuable part of the offense.

How are the position battles at defensive end and outside linebacker looking? -- Delton Vincent

The starters at these positions are doing a great job of keeping a hold of their jobs, with Everson Griffen and Brian Robison holding down the ends and with Anthony Barr and Chad Greenway holding down the outside linebacker spots. As for the backup spots, the coaches have been mixing it up and using multiple combinations so it's hard to really chart who the main backups are in each spot. I would point to Scott Crichton, Hunter and Justin Trattou as three who get most of the second-team reps and then Gerald Hodges and Eric Kendricks who see most of the second-team work at linebacker.

Now that the pads are on, how does Babatunde Aiyegbusi look? His size is impressive, but does he have the talent to make the roster? And maybe compete for a starting role? -- Joshua California Viking

Babs definitely has the size and I have no reason to doubt he has the talent to make it in the NFL. He does a lot of things in practice that show he has potential. But he also has a lot to improve on in terms of technique and learning the game. The good news for him is we are only a week into training camp and he still has all five preseason games in front of him to try and make an impression.

Mike Zimmer spoke highly of second year safety Antone Exum last Wednesday. How has he looked so far? -- Alexander Golden

Exum, now in his second year with the Vikings, is a player who has clearly taken a step forward from last season. He seems to be surer of where he's going and when he's going there, that has allowed him to make several splashy plays in the first week of training camp. He is one who needs to keep making strides within the defense as well as find ways to contribute on special teams.

How are the RGs looking at camp? Do you think the Vikings will kick the tires on Evan Mathis? -- Andy Tofteland

Four-year veteran and returning Viking Mike Harris entered camp as the starting right guard and he has gotten most of the first-team work there through Sunday's practice. I don't anticipate that changing before the Vikings play their first preseason game, which will be next Sunday in Canton, Ohio against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With that being said, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer did say over the weekend that he's asked OL coach Jeff Davidson to start mixing up some combinations, so don't be surprised if the Vikings experiment with a few spots, including right guard. I don't sense the team is getting ready to sign Mathis, but I wouldn't rule anything out at this stage.

Will Adrian Peterson be a 3rd down back this year? -- Charlie Scheele

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner likes to avoid predictability and he likes to have his best players on the field as much as possible. Given those two preferences, I do think Peterson will be used on 3rd downs quite a bit, particularly when the down and distance is such that a running play is a possibility. What you don't want to do as a play caller is get into a position where every time you take Peterson off the field, you throw the ball. Defenses will pick up on that and it will make it tougher to succeed on downs where Peterson is resting.

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