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Excerpts from Tuesday's Live Chat with Mark Craig

  • September 4, 2013 - 7:12 AM

Vikings beat reporters conduct a noon Live Chat every Tuesday at startribune.com. Here are edited excerpts of this week’s session with Mark Craig:

Q: Do you see Desmond Bishop moving to middle linebacker if he shows he is all the way back from is injury? Does this depend mostly on how Erin Henderson handles the position?

A: I don’t see Bishop in the middle this season. But I do see him ending up as the starter on the weak side. From there, he could force his way into the middle in the nickel. That would depend on whether Henderson plays well in the middle in the nickel.

Q: What do you make of the O-line problems in preseason? They did not look like the same group from last year.

A: This offense if built around Adrian Peterson and, well, Adrian Peterson wasn’t around in the preseason. At least not on the field.

Q: Are Christian Ponder’s leadership skills changing as he matures? How is his command of the huddle?

A: Naturally, he’ll grow as a leader as he gets older. As for his “command of the huddle,” I’m not sure that even applies in the NFL. Nobody’s in there sucking on their thumbs, needing Christian to take them by the hand.

Q: Bigger impact player this year — Cordarrelle Patterson or Greg Jennings?

A: Jennings needs Patterson to play well in order for defenses not to focus on him. I’ll go with Jennings only because Patterson is still raw as a route runner. But he sure can run with the ball in his hands.

Q: How good a receiver do you think Joe Webb would be today if he had been kept a receiver since he was drafted by the Vikings?

A: Impossible to say. Had he been kept at receiver, he also might not have made the team. Webb is raw, but he can be an asset in the red zone.

Q: Is Brian Robison looking over his shoulder at the possibility of Everson Griffen starting ahead of him at defensive end sometime this season?

A: I wouldn’t say Robison is looking over his shoulder. He’s a strong player in his own right. Remember that sack strip he had against Rodgers last December. That turned the game back around, or at least kept the Vikings’ momentum going. But, again, Griffen could start for most teams in the NFL.

Q: What did you think of Jamarca Sanford’s play at safety this preseason?

A: He’s getting better every season. He’s also become a strong leader. Sanford was a huge draft-day hit in the seventh round.

Q: If Christian Ponder was to make an improvement in one area, which would you pick?

A: Accuracy. He misses his spot too many times. Open receivers shouldn’t have to adjust to the ball as often as they do with Ponder.

Q: Who is the diamond in the rough for the Vikings this year?

A: Off the top of my head, I’m going to say Jarius Wright. Not a lot written or said about him. Jennings will get a lot of attention. So will Patterson. And Wright is sneaky fast. I’ll throw it at the wall and say JW.

Q: Do you think offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave might try a read-option or two? Ponder is pretty good on his feet.

A: If they tinker with it, Webb would be the guy to run it. But I don’t see the Vikings getting caught up in the QB running the ball. They do have a pretty good RB to hand it to, ya know.

Q: I heard a commentator say it wouldn’t be long before special teams coach Mike Priefer is a head coach somewhere. Is he that highly thought of in NFL circles?

A: I do see him as a head coach. He interviewed for the Bears job this offseason. And there’s a nice track record for special teams coaches becoming head coaches. John Harbaugh went from special teams coach in Philly to winning a Super Bowl as head coach in Baltimore.

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