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With the draft being less than 3 weeks away, how have the Vikings been handling top 30 visits during this time of social distancing? How are player interviews and on field individual scouting being done? Do you feel that not seeing an individual player in person will affect the scouting process at all? Finally, how do you see the Vikings handling draft day if the NFL has not let teams return to their team facilities by then. Thank you and stay safe.
— Josh in Milwaukee
I was curious, if they are able to do physicals on the free agents and draft choices before they are signed or drafted, with this corona virus going on? How do we know they are getting a healthy player?
— Jeff Wizner in Blackduck, Minnesota
We'll start this mailbag off by combining these teo similar questions from Josh and Jeff.
These are certainly unusual and unprecedented times for all NFL teams in the pre-draft process, not just the Vikings. Top 30 visits — when team can meet with prospects in-person at their facilities — have been canceled. The same for college Pro Days, which is another way for teams to see a player up close and personal.
Is this going to affect the draft? Absolutely. If a team hasn't been able to meet with a player — or get a check on their medical records — then perhaps they go for a player they have more info about. I'm not a part of the draft process, and I imagine an already rigorous process is even more stressful for all NFL front offices. But scouts and talent evaluators can still get the job done, and with the draft still happening as planned, teams will need to make sure they carefully measure each pick in just over two weeks.
As for draft day, that still remains to be seen. If team facilities are still closed, perhaps general managers, coaches and scouts work remote and try to stay in constant communication during a frenzied time. As I mentioned above, these are unprecedented times, and that will become clear during the draft as well.
Teams and players are also in a tough spot with physicals. They are usually done at the team facility, but that option is obviously nixed right now. Some teams have had players get physicals done remotely, while others want to wait until things return to some sense of normalcy before those are completed.
I Believe it would be a big mistake to trade him. We have already loss many starters on defense and he is a stable force that we need to retain. He is a rising player in the league at his position and a great person on and off the field. The [front office] needs to find a way to sign him to a long-term contract. What's your take on this?
— Dennis from Grand Rapids, Michigan
You are spot on about Harris' impact on and off the field — he's a playmaker on it and also one of the best guys in the Vikings locker room.
I'm not privy to the decisions of the front office, but here are the three likely scenarios for Harris in 2020:
1. He plays the 2020 season under the franchise tag and is a free agent again in 2021.
2. The Vikings sign him to a multi-year deal.
3. The Vikings trade him.
Until something else happens, Option No. 1 is the current status. That could change, and while it'd be great to see Harris get a long-term deal, those decisions and discussions are between the Vikings, Harris and his agent.
I love that Kirk Cousins has been extended for cap space and stability at quarterback. But I would love to see the 2nd round draft pick used on Jalen Hurts for the future. I think they would miss out on a great prospect. What do you think?
— Terrel in Honolulu, Hawaii
You make a valid point, Terrel, as Hurts was certainly a winner at both of his college stops with Alabama and Oklahoma. The Vikings will certainly have to weigh drafting him — or any other quarterback, for that matter — with other roster needs in every round of the draft.
The Vikings last drafted a quarterback in 2014 with Teddy Bridgewater. Is this the year they take one? Or do they look to improve at other positions such as wide receiver, offensive and defensive line, or cornerback to help the Vikings in the short-term?
The draft is approaching quickly, and we'll soon have answers to these questions.
Do you think Cam Newton is a possible pickup? Pair Cousins with a pick and go get a lineman. I believe lots of teams will kick themselves down the road for waiting on him.
— Gary from Altamonte Springs, Florida
When healthy, Cam is certainly a dynamic player. He's also currently a free agent, so we'll have to see where he ends up.
However, I think it's doubtful that will be Minnesota. The Vikings extended Cousins, which provided stability at that spot. They have also tailored their offense around his strengths (play action, bootlegs, etc.), and I'm not sure Newton would have the same fit in Gary Kubiak's offense.