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Monday Morning Mailbag: Camp Standouts and 2020 Expectations

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.

Click here to submit a comment or question to the Mailbag. Remember to include your name and town on the email. The questions below have been edited for clarity.

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Who has been a big standout in camp that has impressed you?

— Matthew Chesterton in Goodyear, Arizona

I like what I've seen from Bisi Johnson. He has definitely upped his game from his rookie season and has lined up with the first-team offense for much of camp.

A lot of people expected Justin Jefferson to be the No. 2 guy right away behind Adam Thielen, and there's plenty that the first-round pick has shown, but Johnson is playing well and seems to have a grasp on that spot for now.

View photos of Vikings players from Verizon Vikings Training Camp practice at TCO Performance Center.

Defensively, young cornerbacks Holton Hill and Mike Hughes have made plays throughout camp, as had rookie Cameron Dantzler. And linebacker Eric Wilson has been noticeable almost every time he's on the field.

What is the projection of Oli Udoh? Is he far from a starting position?

— Magnus in Malmö, Sweden

First off, thanks for the support from afar, Magnus. Udoh has looked solid throughout camp, especially in 1-on-1 drills against defensive linemen. He's been good in team drills, too, where he has been the second-team right tackle behind Brian O'Neill.

The coaching staff likes his potential, and he also has the athleticism that fits what the team is looking for in Gary Kubiak's scheme.

There's no question O'Neill is locked in as the starter at right tackle. Riley Reiff is the starter at left tackle, and he has been followed by Rashod Hill, who has backed up Reiff and O'Neill the past few seasons. With Reiff and O'Neill not practicing Sunday, the Vikings moved O'Neill to left tackle and Udoh lined up at right tackle with the first unit.

Udoh has shown progress after his selection last year as a sixth-round pick from tiny Elon University.

Eric, do you personally believe the Vikings are a good enough team to replicate, or even exceed last year's results, specially since a number of veteran players are no longer with us?

— Dan H.

Great question, Dan. I believe so, and here's why.

For starters, the Vikings bring back nearly every piece of an offense that took a step forward in 2020. Players have raved about being in the same scheme for the second straight season, something that has been a rarity in recent years in Minnesota. Kubiak is now the Vikings play-caller, and he has tons of experience and success as a coach in the league.

Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Kyle Rudolph and Adam Thielen are all established veterans in the league. The offensive line has potential and includes key building blocks in O'Neill and center Garrett Bradbury.

As for the defense, there are still key pieces throughout the lineup in Danielle Hunter, Shamar Stephen, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris. Plus, you know Mike Zimmer is one of the most prideful coaches in the league, and won't let his unit slip into mediocrity this season. Yes, the Vikings will incorporate some young players into the lineup, but the likes of Mike Hughes, Holton Hill and others have looked good in camp.

The NFC North should be competitive once again in 2020, but there's no reason why the Vikings can't be in the mix yet again for a division title. And once a team gets into the playoffs, anything is possible.

Since Dalvin and the front office haven't come up with a deal yet, do you think that will have an effect on how he plays this season?

— Derek Chepeck

Thanks for the question, Derek.

Cook has looked as explosive on running plays, including in Friday's practice at U.S. Bank Stadium, during his reps at training camp.

But what stands out to me is Cook's infectious energy and genuine love for his teammates. Tight end Tyler Conklin ended Tuesday's practice with a leaping touchdown catch and was mobbed by his teammates. Cook was one of the first players there to congratulate him, and continued the celebration after practice in the tweet below.

Can we get a little insight in how D.J. Wonnum has looked thus far? I really want to see him develop as well as Danielle did.

— Angel in Chicago, Illinois

Wonnum has done well in camp, mostly working with the second and third-team defenses.

The Vikings and Co-Defensive Coordinator Andre Patterson like his upside and athleticism, but they also know it will take a bit of patience with him.

That's not to say he doesn't have potential to get to the quarterback as Danielle did as a rookie, but it's pretty clear through Danielle's first five seasons that he is simply a special player.

Patterson's approach with Hunter was to make him the best Danielle Hunter he could be instead of trying to fit him into the mold of a previous player he coached. Patterson is taking the same approach with Wonnum.