Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the Vikings.com Mailbag! Every Monday we'll post several comments and/or questions as part of the Vikings.com Monday Morning Mailbag. Although we can't post every comment or question, we will reply to every question submitted.
You can also send Eric a Mailbag question via Twitter.
What is this the schedule for roster selection? Identical to last season? Personally, I like the concept of keeping all on the roster and making the 53-man roster and practice squad after the last preseason game. But considering the reported Vikings team vaccination rate, maybe an old-school roster cut down process would be beneficial as a "stick and carrot" to get vaccinated. Guessing the team cannot overtly discriminate against the unvaccinated.
Personally, I like & respect Kirk Cousins. But I'm having a difficult time understanding and accepting his position regarding vaccination. This is my opinion, but his "vigilance" in this specific situation is doing everything possible to minimize risk to exposure and provide the best competitive edge to win. That means becoming fully vaccinated. SKOL!
— Noel Hong
Coach Zimmer's harsh words about the QBs left two impressions.
No. 1: That the players (QBs) were doing something wrong and not following protocol. I was quite surprised to hear that Cousins wasn't "in close contact" with anyone who [tested positive for] COVID-19, but it was the size of the meeting room that was the issue. That is in no way whatsoever the fault of the players who were criticized.
No. 2: Zimmer seemed quite critical of any player not getting the vaccine. That they needed to consider the team before self and just get vaccinated. Wrong. Seems Zimmer thinks the vaccine is the only answer to keeping everyone available. Wrong again. We know even vaccinated people can get it. I won't go into the FACT that this vaccine is far from proven; it is still experimental in nature. This means there may well be long-term negative effects, and no scientist at this time can prove there isn't, period. Therefore, no one, not even Zimmer, should be shaming or blasting anyone who makes their own life medical choices.
— J.D. Tonn in Anchorage, Alaska
View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Jan. 5, 2022.
For the second straight week, we'll start off the Mailbag with the storyline that has dominated local and national news for more than a week.
Noel and J.D. offered up differentiating opinions on a polarizing topic, and both certainly have the right to do so. Vikings fans are passionate on and off the field, and that has become clear in the emails I've received recently.
Before I get into that subject, however, here's a quick rundown on the roster cutdown dates Noel asked about.
Rosters for each team have a maximum of 90 players to begin camp. They must be trimmed to 85 on Aug. 17 and then cut down to 80 players on Aug. 24. The 53-man roster (and practice squad) must be set on Aug. 31.
I get the idea of keeping a full 90-man roster for all of camp, but cutting players helps put the spotlight on others who have earned a better chance to make the roster. And no, teams can't force a player to get vaccinated in order to increase their roster chances.
As for the topic of COVID-19 protocols, vaccinations and all that … here we go.
Cousins returned to the facility this week and said he will follow all of the league's protocols to a T to ensure he is not a close contact again. We all hope that is the case, but there is certainly still some risk involved.
All it will take is one minor slipup for him to be a close contact again and have the potential to miss a game. The fact is that the situation that occurred before the Night Practice is always lurking as a possibility down the road.
And while J.D.'s email opined about the meeting room and effectiveness of the vaccines, which have not been granted full approval by the FDA, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that could happen this month. There's data to show that breakthrough cases have occurred, and there's also data showing that vaccinated individuals have not been hospitalized at the rate of non-vaccinated individuals.
As for Zimmer, he is paid to win football games. The guy lives and breathes football and wants all of his players available in order to win those games. If any unvaccinated player misses games due to the protocols, Zimmer will not be happy, and he'll also be concerned for the player.
The Vikings have publicly presented a pro-vaccination message, whether that's from Zimmer, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman or Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf. The team has also worked with the State of Minnesota to host vaccination sites at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Yes, the organization cares about public health and wants the community to be as safe as possible. But there is also the football aspect, too, and it's a fact that the protocols set by the league makes it more of a competitive advantage for teams who have a high vaccination rate.
Zimmer has said his piece on it and likely wants the focus to be on football going forward. But he, and the rest of us, know this is a storyline that could linger throughout the entire season.
View photos of Vikings players and fans at the training camp stadium practice on August 7 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
I was unable to make the practice at the stadium. What was the biggest storyline that came out of that?
— Jim Jenkins
By far, the most exciting aspect of Saturday was having fans back at U.S. Bank Stadium. There were more than 5,000 loud and energetic fans. That's just a small taste of what is planned for Sundays this fall, but it was still awesome to see.
On the field, however, there were plenty of storylines, too. Justin Jefferson's health, D.J. Wonnum's pick-six and another good day from Jake Browning all stood out.
But I'm actually going with the kickers as a group I had my eye on, and a position battle that bears watching in the coming weeks. As we all know, the spotlight is always on that player in Purple.
To me, it's fun that the team now has two kickers healthy and available. Greg Joseph has kicked for all of camp, and is 20 of 26 so far.
And now that Riley Patterson is off the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List, he can try to catch up in that battle.
Each kicker made two field goals Saturday .
Maybe it's odd that this position stands out, but hear me out. The Vikings defense has looked strong throughout camp with veterans leading the way. Offensively, the unit has endured some hiccups but still has the potential to be among the league's most explosive offenses if all goes well.
If special teams can improve after last season — and the kicking game is a key part of that — the Vikings should go into the season as a well-rounded team with their sights set on a deep playoff run.
Hi Eric, I have an interesting trade idea for you: a swap with Denver, giving us Teddy Bridgewater for Kellen Mond. That gives Denver a QB for the future and provides us with a starting-caliber backup QB in case Cousins misses multiple games due to his beliefs regarding COVID-19 and the shots that have and are working for millions of people without side effects. Just my take on it. Skol!
— Dan Callahan in Burlington, Connecticut
Dan offers up an interesting trade proposal, but I think that's highly doubtful at the moment.
Bridgewater is competing for the starting QB job in Denver, so I don't think the Broncos would make that deal. Plus, the Vikings aren't going to quickly give up on a third-round pick, even if Mond has missed some time lately due to testing positive for COVID.
It will be great to see Teddy this week when the Broncos arrive in town for joint practices Wednesday and Thursday. Tickets for those practices are still available and can be found here.
There was a tweet last week about Kirk coming back to practice according to "WR Mike Zimmer." My question is: If Zim' suited up as the No. 3 wide receiver on every passing down this season, would you take the over/under on him gaining 50 yards total this season? (An average of three yards per game).
— Brendan T. in Denver
First off, I can't knock anyone for a typo these days. I have enough trouble tweeting and watching practice at the same time, and that was evident when I inadvertently included a sleeping unicorn emoji while trying to give an update on some goal-line work this week.
As for the question about Zimmer, I love it and appreciate the fun way to end the Mailbag after such a heavy set of questions.
But no, I don't think Zimmer would get there. He still has plenty of juice at practice and can often be seen helping defensive backs work on their technique and stance.
Yet if anyone knows how fast and athletic NFL defenses are, it would be Zimmer. He is 65 years old and prefers to spend his Sundays coaching the team from the sideline.