Every Thursday morning we’ll answer questions submitted via Twitter or email for our weekly Access Vikings podcast and post-game Overtime video using the hashtag #AVOT. Submit any questions you have to @Andrew_Krammer.
From @TheRealForno: How will the Vikings defense approach this Bears offense? Will Zimmer spy Trubisky?
AK: Mike Zimmer seems reluctant to assign a true defensive spy on a quarterback. The Vikings have devised creative ways to mimic a linebacker ‘spy,’ including overloaded rushes with a defensive end spying on the back side as they did vs. Aaron Rodgers in Week 2. Perhaps they’ll try something similar against Mitchell Trubisky, who trails only Cam Newton in rushing yards (320) by a quarterback. The problem is the Bears under first-year coach Matt Nagy, the ex-Chiefs coordinator, lean on Trubisky’s athleticism in a variety of ways. For instance, in the Bears’ 31-28 loss to the Dolphins, Trubisky’s 47 rushing yards included: (1) An 8-yard scramble out of the pocket, (2) Checking into a QB sneak on 3rd-and-1 and (3) Taking off for 28 yards on a read-option keeper. The Vikings likely will need to prioritize containing Trubisky with their four-man rush, while keeping focus on another backfield threat: RB Tarik Cohen, who is the Bears’ leading receiver this season.
From @mackasaurus91: With David Morgan most likely out against the Bears, do you expect the Vikings to leave a RB in the backfield to assist with Khalil Mack?
AK: Tight end David Morgan (knee) was unable to practice Wednesday and might not play. That’s a big loss for the running game because, unlike many tight ends, Morgan can block a defensive lineman. However, few can block Mack. Even if Morgan can play, the Vikings will need many hands to slow Mack – and a creative approach from John DeFilippo to get the ball out of Kirk Cousins’ hands as quickly as possible. If Morgan is out, perhaps fullback C.J. Ham sees an increased workload as the Vikings try to establish a run game against the stingy Bears (3.6 yards per carry allowed).
From @leecvn72: Do you think they will start using Beebe more often than Treadwell?
AK: I do not. While Treadwell doesn’t seem to be a fan favorite, there’s little doubt he’s secured the Vikings’ No. 3 role this season. His playing time hasn’t dipped below 48 percent in any game, while averaging about 65 percent of the snaps this season. The problem facing Beebe, outside of his inexperience, is that his best alignment is in the slot where Adam Thielen takes the majority of his snaps (61 percent), according to Pro Football Focus. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Beebe mix into the offense here and there down the stretch, but I doubt we’ll see him overtake Treadwell’s role in 2018.
From @1Cor9_24: I keep hearing what good route runners Thielen and Diggs are. What’s the difference between good and not so good routes?
AK: This is a good question, and one that reminds me of responses heard when asking around the Vikings locker room about Larry Fitzgerald Jr. So, let some Vikings defensive backs tell you. Safety George Iloka: “People always talk about how [Fitzgerald] is not fast, but it doesn’t matter if you run all your routes the same speed and you make them all look the same, but they’re different. He’s a wizard when it comes to running routes.” Safety Harrison Smith: “He’s very crafty and understands that we’re studying him. He knows how to disguise those things.” In layman’s terms, good routes are precise in steps, direction and speed (so they’re timed well with the quarterback) and hard to diagnose by defenders. Thielen and Diggs are both superb at putting double moves on defensive backs, meaning faking one way and running the other. There’s little to no wasted movement with both receivers. You’ll also hear a lot about “leveraging” defenders, meaning they’re both good at reading the coverage they’re facing – whether man-to-man or zone-based – and making nuanced changes based off their opponent.