Every Thursday we’ll open the mailbag and answer your Vikings questions from our weekly Access Vikings podcast and postgame Overtime video sent using the hashtag #AVOT after every game.
I’m happy to see Tom Johnson back in purple, but isn’t he more of a 3 Technique DT? With the release of Parry, who is the backup NT behind Linval?
— Shawn Hegarty (@10kBeers) September 19, 2018
AK: Tom Johnson will fit back into his undertackle role, this time behind starter Sheldon Richardson. That’s the critical factor in this move. Johnson, 34, won’t be asked to play 675 snaps, or 67.6 percent, again in the twilight of his career. He’ll fit into what head coach Mike Zimmer envisioned at the scouting combine, when he told the Star Tribune he wanted Johnson back in a limited role, foreshadowing the Vikings’ push for Richardson just a couple weeks later in free agency. Now Johnson, who had 16 sacks in the last four seasons with the Vikings, is expected to be a situational pass rusher. That leaves second-year Jaleel Johnson, who has been impressive against the run, to be the primary backup at nose tackle behind Linval Joseph.
Initial impressions of Brian O’Neill?
— Marshall Lawson (@MLawsonMVP) September 19, 2018
AK: Brian O’Neill stepped in to play the final 32 snaps on Sunday in Green Bay after Rashod Hill injured his right ankle. Hill didn’t practice Wednesday and if he’s held out against the Bills, O’Neill is in line for his first career NFL start. The 23-year-old tackle impressed in a couple areas, including stalling the 32-year-old Clay Matthews’ speed rush and handful of twists the Packers threw at him. O’Neill reacted quickly to twists and when he was a step late, he was athletic enough to jump back into position on the edge. Where the Vikings should worry is O’Neill facing bigger defensive linemen. The rookie was worked into the backfield by 6-foot-6-inch Dean Lowry’s bull rush on his second snap, and then didn’t face a strong bull rush the rest of the game. O’Neill also wasn’t really tested as a run blocker, with the Vikings in full comeback mode by the time he entered the game. The Vikings drafted O’Neill knowing his need to add strength is a primary factor in his development.
#AVOT Is it time to cut Treadwell?
— RB (@oO_Voodoo) September 16, 2018
AK: As Ben Goessling explained on our latest Access Vikings podcast, cutting receiver Laquon Treadwell at this point would cost the cap-strapped Vikings an additional $1.150 million on this year’s cap. Cutting Treadwell with that remaining guaranteed money left on next year’s base salary would accelerate that cost onto this season’s cap. The post-June 1 release benefit of spreading dead money across another season applies to bonus money, for which the Vikings would still be on the hook for in 2019 for $1.356 million should they find a way to stomach another $1.150 million this season by cutting him. The Vikings’ remaining cap space is yet to be seen with contracts for kicker Dan Bailey and defensive tackle Tom Johnson still being factored into the equation.
@Andrew_Krammer @GoesslingStrib Can you explain the penalty on Reiff? The “not reporting” nonsense? Does every player have to explain to the referee that they are in the game, in between every play? I don’t understand. There wasn’t too many men in the field. Tick-tack call. #AVOT
— Tim Greene (@tgreeneviking) September 16, 2018
AK: From the NFL rulebook: “Eligible receivers must be on both ends of the line, and all of the players on the line between them must be ineligible receivers.” With left tackle Riley Reiff moving to align on the right side of the line, he cannot be the last player on that side without reporting as an eligible receiver. Reiff became the player on an end when receiver Laquon Treadwell motioned to line up between Reiff and right tackle Rashod Hill. Either Reiff didn’t report when he should’ve, Treadwell aligned incorrectly or the Vikings’ play design under coordinator John DeFilippo was built with an error.