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Vikings Chat excerpts: Focus is on future to plug some holes

  • November 28, 2012 - 9:36 AM

The Live Chat is every Tuesday at noon. Read it in full at startribune.com/vikings.

Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune conducts a Live Chat on Tuesdays at noon. Here are edited excerpts of this week's session:

Q How can the Vikings pass rush take advantage of an injured offensive line against Green Bay in a way it didn't against Chicago?

A Maybe Packers coach Mike McCarthy is stubborn and doesn't give his tackles as much chip help and extra aid as the Bears provided their two tackles. At times this year, the Packers have trusted their O-line to not need help, and sometimes that has allowed defenses to create pressure.

Q Chris Cook should be back in the lineup soon, shouldn't he?

A The cornerback was placed on injured reserve (broken arm) "with designation to return" following the Week 8 loss to Tampa Bay. NFL rules require a player with that designation to be out six weeks before they can even return to practice and then an additional two weeks before they can be active on game day. His earliest return would be Week 16 in Houston.

Q Who will be the biggest free agents to leave the Vikings next offseason? Any chance of re-signing Antoine Winfield?

A Winfield, like Jared Allen and Percy Harvin, is signed through the 2013 season. As for in-house free agents that will force the Vikings to make major decisions after this season: Jasper Brinkley, Erin Henderson and Jamarca Sanford on defense; and Phil Loadholt, Jerome Felton, Jerome Simpson, Geoff Schwartz and Devin Aromashodu on offense. Who on that list do you absolutely have to have back as a core player?

Q What do you think of Jared Allen's hit on Lance Louis?

A I don't think the Allen hit was malicious. These guys are defensive players trained to obliterate opponents. And that's what Allen did. However, by rule it was illegal. So Allen almost certainly will be fined. The worst part of that hit: It cost Chicago its best offensive lineman. Also, Allen could have delivered that block effectively without launching. So that's where the complaints come in.

Q Props to the Bears for the fake extra point. I love trick plays. Why don't the Vikings ever do fake field goals, fake punts, or surprise onside kicks?

A Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer is a high- energy guy who seems like he should have a few tricks up his sleeve. But the Vikings haven't tried anything on that front. Maybe this is the week.

Q If Notre Dame's Manti Te'o somehow fell to the Vikings (not out of the question considering how low teams have come to value inside linebackers), how could Rick Spielman not pull the trigger?

A You'd bet he'll be on the radar. Just will all depend on where the Vikings pick and how they prioritize the need at LB vs. WR. Henderson will be a free agent, Brinkley will be a free agent, even Marvin Mitchell will be a free agent. It may be a position the Vikings look to free agency to address before the draft. I'd be surprised if all three (Brinkley, Henderson, Mitchell) were back in 2013. It's a stretch to see Audie Cole as a starter.

Q Why doesn't someone in Vikings management just say, "We're a little overmatched right now with our roster. Our margin for error is very small so we need to play a little over our heads on any given week for us to win."

A Do you really need someone in management to vocalize that to understand that it's true? The NFL can be a cliché chamber, so the key is using your eyes and judgment to translate all that's said. And the way you just phrased things is perfect.

Q Trade Adrian Peterson for a quarterback and a receiver. Not kidding, do it now. Running back shelf life is short.

A Peterson is a unique talent. Given what he's done coming off ACL surgery, he might have four to five good years left in him. Maybe longer. He's signed through 2017 and has a massive contract. Even if the Vikings were to be so silly to seriously consider trading away their best player, they'd have to find a taker willing to give up the house to get him. Peterson is never getting traded. End of discussion.

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