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Monday Morning Mailbag: Wise To Go RB at No. 11?

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Would you agree that as deep as the RB class is this year, the Vikings would be wise to think about a RB at No. 11 so they can have their top choice? And how do you feel about a Melvin Gordon & Jerick McKinnon backfield? -- Deanna

Ordinarily I would say that if a team feels a particular position is deep in the draft they may feel more compelled to sit and wait until the middle rounds to select a player at that position. In this case, though, taking a running back at No. 11 would go a long way toward accomplishing what I believe is an important goal for the Vikings – re-establishing an explosive running game. Improving the pass protection and adding receivers are two ways to help a young quarterback, but having an explosive rushing attack is the third way and adding Gordon or any of the top-rated running backs in this year's class would give the Vikings a formidable running back stable.

Why do various articles about the upcoming draft list defensive tackle as one of the Vikings draft needs? With Sharrif Floyd, Linval Joseph and Tom Johnson under contract, this strikes me as one of the positions the Vikings least need to address in the draft. -- Robert Hawkes Calgary, Alberta

I agree that defensive tackle is a strength of the Vikings roster (I would add Shamar Stephen to the list in the question) but I would also not preclude defensive tackle from being addressed by the Vikings early in this year's draft. Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer asks a lot from his defensive tackles and he loves to play a lot of defensive linemen every game so those guys stay fresh and remain disruptive late in the 4th quarter. If a guy like Danny Shelton, for example, was on the board at No. 11, I wouldn't blame the Vikings one bit for selecting him and making what is already a strong point on the roster even stronger.

Do you think the Vikings could maneuver in the first round to select both DeVante Parker and Trae Waynes? -- Andrew V.

In order to do that, they would either have to select one of those two at No. 11 and then mortgage most of the rest of the draft to get back into the first round, or they would have to trade back from 11 to around the 16-20 (or later range), hope that Waynes was still there and take him, and then use No. 45 in combination with the picks acquired for moving back to get back into the late part of the first round to get Parker, and I doubt Parker would still be on the board that late. So I would say it's unlikely the Vikings wind up with both Waynes and Parker.

Is Captain Munnerlyn just a sub-package player (he seems to excel at that role) or can he be an every-down corner lining up outside? --Zach C. Minneapolis

The Vikings pass defense took a huge stride forward last season, and that was with Munnerlyn playing a lot on the outside. He's clearly capable of playing outside. Keep in mind, though, defenses are in a sub packages more and more these days, often times more than 50% of the game. So if a guy is the third cornerback on your team, he's essentially an every-down corner. But I agree with Zach that Munnerlyn is at his best when he's playing inside. Not every cornerback can play in the slot, but Munnerlyn is good at it because he's tough, has good short-area quickness and has good instincts. Hopefully the Vikings can find an every-down guy on the outside to pair with Xavier Rhodes so the team can put Munnerlyn where they need to.

View images of new Vikings S Taylor Mays from his days as a 49er and Bengal.

I'm excited to have such a big and fast safety like Taylor Mays added to the roster, but am curious where he will fit into Zimmer's defense. I know he's a special teams ace, but can we expect him to start in front of Blanton at SS? I like the idea of having the most athletic players on the field. -- Joel Brown Watford City, ND

At this point, all we can expect is that he will come in and compete for a starting role. Blanton was productive as a starter last season but with Zimmer no one is immune from having to compete to maintain their place in the lineup. Obviously Mays has a leg up because he's played for Zimmer previously, but you can also say Blanton has a leg up because he is a returning player in this defense and he was solid in his role a year ago.

Could you please explain how the compensatory draft picks are awarded? It's a process that I truly don't understand. And how come the Vikings didn't get any this year? -- Luis Fernando Hermosillo, Mexico

Compensatory selections are awarded to teams based on a formula that includes salary, playing time and postseason honors and that ultimately decides which teams lost more good players via unrestricted free agency and which players gained more good players via unrestricted free agency. The teams that lost more good players are awarded compensatory selections based on the degree of loss (a third-round pick is the highest a team can receiver and a seventh-round pick is the lowest). There are 32 compensatory selections awarded and an individual club can be awarded no more than four. The compensatory selections are slotted at the end of the round. The Vikings didn't receive any compensatory selections this season because they signed several unrestricted free agents last year who made an impact (Jasper Brinkley, Tom Johnson, Linval Joseph, Captain Munnerlyn) and they didn't lost many free agents who made great impacts with their new teams.

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