Welcome to the first offseason Vikings mailbag. Send any questions you might have to @Andrew_Krammer for future posts.
@Andrew_Krammer CP to RB?
— Cody Jay (@CJayGR) January 26, 2017
AK: Pending free agent Cordarrelle Patterson has made a couple headlines recently, saying he’d be open to playing running back and that he’d “take his talents elsewhere”should the new Vikings offensive regime not have him in their plans. In the same interview, Patterson praised Pat Shurmur, now the full-time coordinator, for including him more in the game plans. A move to running back would be an intriguing one, but the chances of that happening in Minnesota are slim at best. In four NFL seasons, Patterson still hasn’t adopted the nuances of being a reliabledownfield receiver even as he appeared motivated in a 2016 contract season. The Vikings will be looking to add a running back via a strong draft class this spring, regardless of Ty Montgomery’s relatively successful move to the backfield for Green Bay last season. That doesn’t mean anything for the dynamic Patterson, the league’s top kick returner whom the Vikings could retain if the price is right.
AK: To me that’s a tie between quarterback Sam Bradford and cornerback Xavier Rhodes.The Vikings would be fortunate to retain slot man Captain Munnerlyn, but that money could go to Rhodes this offseason after a strong year in 2016. Rhodes has emerged as one of the league’s better No. 1 corners. He shows up big in big games, helping to lock down Odell Beckham Jr., DeAndre Hopkins and Dez Bryant last season. That will go a long way toward Rhodes becoming the next well-paid Vikings defender a year after they locked up safety Harrison Smith. Like Rhodes, Bradford is under contract for one more season, but he showed enough to earn the trust of head coach Mike Zimmer. Shurmur’s promotion kept another Bradford believer around and the Vikings might be wise to sign himto a multi-year extension given the uncertainty of Teddy Bridgewater’s playing future.
@Andrew_Krammer what tender does Thielen get, and if another team offers on a 2nd round tender, do you take him or the pick?
— Dirty Bird (@Moldy78) January 26, 2017
AK: Since receiver Adam Thielen was undrafted, the Vikings would risk not getting any compensation should they offer him the lowest (original-round) tender for the pending restricted free agent. Thielen earned more, anyway, in a breakout season that saw him lead the Vikings with 967 receiving yards. I’d imagine at least the second-round tender is signed and the Vikings would do as much as possible to retain him, meaning matching any contract offer(within reason) that Thielen would get from another team willing to give up a second-round pick for him. After all, Thielen just outperformed two first-round receivers on his own team.
— Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson) January 25, 2017
AK: Left guard Alex Boone is the only Vikings offensive lineman I’d write down in ink right now for the 2017 starting lineup. Joe Berger has continued to play above and beyond expectations and will remain valuable, especially to this thin group. He turns 35 in May and his best fit remains at center, where the third-year Nick Easton will compete for a starting job this summer. Left tackle, right guard and right tackle are up in the air after disappointing seasons at all three spots. TheVikings need to reload at both tackle spots with only T.J. Clemmings, Rashod Hill and Willie Beavers currently under contract.And it would cost the Vikings $1.6 million in dead money to move on from Brandon Fusco, who underwhelmed again in his move back to right guard.
@Andrew_Krammer Chances Robison is kept?
— JZH (@JZHoodie) January 25, 2017
AK: Aside from still being effective in his age 33 season, defensive end Brian Robison also continues to be one of the Vikings’most versatile and reliable assets. The team captain played at least 75 percent of snaps for a sixth straight year. However, Danielle Hunter (12.5 sacks) needs to start in 2017. So the chance Robison is retained comes down to whether or not the two sides can agree both on his role and how much that role is worth. He’s currently set to earn a $5.3 million base salary next year, none guaranteed, at 34 years old. Robison said he felt he showed last season he still has gas left in the tank, while adding he knows the budding starthe Vikings have in Hunter.
@Andrew_Krammer Need 2 get 3 down LB so teams can't catch Vikes in base sets w/Greenway. Can Lamur be that guy or do they go FA or draft?
— Jordan (@Jje_in_hkg) January 26, 2017
AK: Pass defense out of the base, three-linebacker group was an issue last season. I don’t believe they’ll rely on Emmanuel Lamur to fill that weak-side linebacker role. The Vikings will be adding a linebacker or two this spring with only five (Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Lamur, Kentrell Brothers and Edmond Robinson) currently under contract next year. Lamur may be in the competition, but the Vikings also have flexibility given Kendricks’ ability to kick outside should they settle on a two-down middle linebacker. I’ll be intrigued to see how Brothers, the middle linebacker and special teams standout, fares in his second training camp next summer.