A Vikings beat writer conducts a Live Chat every Tuesday at noon at startribune.com. Here are excerpts of Tuesday’s session, from London, with Chip Scoggins.
Q: The Vikings should get down on their knees and beg Antoine Winfield to come back. If he won’t, maybe he could be their cornerbacks coach. Has the team approached him?
A: This would be a good time, with all the injuries they have in the secondary. Leslie Frazier said Tuesday that Chris Cook, Jamarca Sanford and A.J. Jefferson will not practice Wednesday and they will evaluate them as the week goes on. The question is, does Winfield still want to play, or does he want to play for the Vikings if they don’t turn this thing around quickly? I’m pretty sure players have reached out to him, but not the front office.
Q: What’s it gonna take to get Adrian Peterson to have a huge game on Sunday?
A: Better blocking for one. I’m assuming the return of fullback Jerome Felton will help. But that won’t be enough if the line doesn’t start performing better. Their struggles have been the biggest surprise so far, in my opinion.
Q: Do you think Frazier can pull the plug on QB Christian Ponder without consulting with GM Rick Spielman?
A: I don’t think he can or should. A decision that important needs to discussed at all levels of the organization. If Frazier made that move, it’s essentially signaling an end to Ponder’s time in Minnesota and that the team is ready to move in a different direction. He couldn’t leave Spielman out of that discussion.
Q: Can you remember seeing any Vikings team’s special teams play this poorly in two consecutive games?
A: The special teams are another area that is killing them right now. Short kickoffs in slippery conditions and poor coverage doomed them against Chicago’s Devin Hester. But there’s no excuse for what happened Sunday. Frazier admitted they just didn’t see Cleveland tight end Jordan Cameron along the sideline on the fake field goal. This team is simply not good enough to have those special teams mistakes and all the turnovers they have right now.
Q: How much of the offenses struggles are to blame on coordinator Bill Musgrave?
A: Criticizing offensive coordinators — and hitting coaches in baseball — is easy for fans and media. However, I do think Musgrave’s play-calling becomes predictable. Is that because he privately lacks confidence in Ponder and feels like his hands are tied in terms of what he can call? I don’t know. But Musgrave also deserves criticism for basically forgetting about Cordarrelle Patterson the first two weeks.
Q: Cornerback Josh Robinson, according to profootballfocus.com, has allowed catches on 23 of 24 passes this season. How can a guy be so fast yet allow so many completions?
A: PFF ranked him as the worst cover corner in the league last season. No doubt he has great speed, but it hasn’t translated in terms of his coverage skills and now he’s playing in a spot that is new to him, too.
Q: The Vikings have long known they’ll face a big decision about re-signing defensive end Jared Allen this offseason. Is Allen making that decision a lot easier with his lack of results?
A: I’ve said since preseason that I’ll be surprised if Jared returns. I won’t be surprised if the team wants to get younger and cheaper at that position.
Q: Watching the games on TV makes it hard to see whether the Viking receivers are truly covered or Ponder is afraid to throw it. Which do you think it is?
A: Last year I thought his receivers struggled to get open. I don’t believe that’s the case this season. Ponder just looks hesitant to deliver the ball. I go back to the play in the first half Sunday when he had John Carlson wide open behind the defense. Ponder waited too long to deliver it and then didn’t put any velocity on it. The ball floated in the air long enough for the defensive back to recover and break it up.