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Monday Morning Mailbag: Wright Addition, Cousins' Pocket Movement, More

Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the Mailbag! Every Monday we'll post several comments and/or questions as part of the Monday Morning Mailbag. Although we can't post every comment or question, we will reply to every question submitted.

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Does the Kendall Wright signing signify they're scrapping the Laquon Treadwell project or is it just some added competition/depth?

 Competition/depth. Teams typically bring 10-12 receivers with them to training camp and there are certainly no decisions being made or projects being terminated right now. Treadwell will continue to have opportunities to take that significant step forward so many of us are hoping to see, and at the same time the Vikings will take a look at a veteran receiver who can play inside or outside and who has 339 receptions and 19 touchdowns in six seasons.

When a team is this close to the Promised Land, do you draft need? Best player? Future holes? Does the quality coaching the Vikings have play into who they draft? -- Bill Eckerstorfer

The draft is about the long-term outlook of your team. The priority is to select the best players you can, regardless of position, while also considering potential holes you'll have to fill down the road. Who will you be able to re-sign? Who might you have to let go? A team must have a handle on the answers to those questions so they can prioritize similarly graded players in the draft. If you think you'll be unable to re-sign a starting linebacker, then all of a sudden a linebacker with the same grade as a receiver gets slotted ahead.

As for the coaching question, yes I do believe that is factored in at times. If a position coach is particularly good at helping young players generate improvement then the team may select one of his position players over another position if both are graded similarly.

I know there will be an offensive line focus during the draft for the Vikings, but I am torn on this choice if both are available: LB Lorenzo Carter or OL Isaiah Wynn, both from Georgia. I saw you say that the Vikings took Kyle Rudolph when we didn't need a tight end, so I am curious on what you think here. -- Paul Engleson Woodbridge, VA

Both positions are one where the Vikings could use some depth, so it could be as simple as just taking whichever player is graded higher. If they have the same grade, then GM Rick Spielman and his staff will factor in some of the things we discussed in the first question.

My biggest concern about this team is whether Kirk Cousins will be able to move as well as Case Keenum did in the pocket. Both Case and Zimmer talked last year about Case's movement being a big part of pass protection. How is Kirk's pocket presence? Should the Vikings be on the lookout for better pass protection? -- Andy Fredman Medina, MN

Let's first point out that the Vikings reduced their number of sacks allowed from 2016 to 2017 by 11. Credit goes to both the pass protectors as well as the quarterback for generating such a significant improvement. As for Cousins, I would list pocket presence and mobility as strengths of his. I have no concerns about his ability to subtly move within the pocket to create space and give his receivers an extra beat to break open or about his ability to execute any offensive concept that requires athleticism and mobility. Also, I would imagine that getting rid of the ball on time and in rhythm will be something we hear a lot about from both Cousins and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

With the departure of Jerick McKinnon, I see two new needs for the team – an explosive kick returner and a solid 3rd down option out of the backfield. Do you see any current players that could step up into either of these roles, or do you think they will be addressed in the draft? Skol! -- David Williams

The return of Dalvin Cook is going to be a great boost for this offense. He can contribute on all three downs, including as a pass catcher out of the backfield on the money down (3rd down). Latavius Murray is an ace pass protector in the backfield, too, so he can be used on passing downs as well as on running downs. I still wouldn't rule out a running back to be added to this roster before all is said and done, but the Cook-Murray tandem is more than solid for 2018. As for the explosive kick returner component, I do believe guys like Stacy Coley and Marcus Sherels will be given opportunities to compete for that role. At the same time, we've heard head coach Mike Zimmer mention publicly that he'd like to see some improvement in this area, so that means drafting a player with some return ability is a distinct possibility for the Vikings later this month.

Because the Vikings lost so many free agents, can you explain the compensation draft pick process and how many they might receive? -- Greg Tripp

The process of awarding compensatory picks involves a fairly complex formula that incorporates contract size, production and playing time for all unrestricted free agents who play for new teams. The bigger the contract and the more production and playing time for a free agent, the higher the value is that's given to that player. Those teams who lose more quality unrestricted free agents than they gain are awarded compensatory picks. The Vikings, as an example, will likely be credited for the losses of Sam Bradford, Case Keenum and Jerick McKinnon. But they also signed Kirk Cousins and Sheldon Richardson, so they may only net one compensatory pick next year. At this point it's to be determined. Also remember that since playing time and production in the following season is factored in, the compensatory picks that are awarded for a net loss of quality free agents are picks in the following year's draft.

I was in the eighth grade when the Vikings came to Minnesota and have been an avid follower ever since. Many great Vikings have graced the field over the years but few have matched the quiet integrity of Joe Berger. Joe seldom did interviews and avoided the limelight, but over the last three years Joe was, hands down, the best offensive lineman on the Vikings. Congratulations on a solid career, Joe, and best wishes in your retirement. You will always be a favorite of mine. -- Glenn Phillips Helena, Montana

Well stated, Glenn. Thanks for sharing those thoughts. I echo the sentiment on Joe, who was a true professional on the field and away from the game and will always be considered a Minnesota Viking. Skol Berger family!

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