Dan Wiederer does a Live Chat on Tuesdays at noon at startribune.com. Excerpts from Tuesday's Chat:
Q With the lack of wide receiver depth, will we finally see the two tight end set? Will John Carlson be able to go soon?
A Carlson should be able to play Sunday, at least in a limited capacity. Rhett Ellison is also in line to see time. Kyle Rudolph will get a chance to have another TE out there with him and we'll see what offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has in mind. Carlson may be the ultimate gamble of Rick Spielman's first offseason as GM. Got big money, arrived as an injury risk, got hurt in camp. Now he needs to produce.
Q What is cornerback Josh Robinson's upside?
A This kid has incredible speed. Closing speed. So he can make up ground on receivers very quickly, something he showed in flashes through training camp. He also has incredible confidence and poise for a rookie. So far. If that changes during those inevitable rookie struggles that are awaiting, we'll see. But I think they see him as a potential long-term starter outside.
Q Am I the only one who thinks Sage Rosenfels should be on this team? Every preseason the guy played well yet was never given a chance.
A Was stunned at the reaction that surfaced Friday when Rosenfels was cut. He's 34, has been with five NFL teams and has made 12 career starts. He's been given a fair shot to show what he's got. He hasn't started a game since '08, a season in which he made five starts and had a middling 79.5 rating. As for his preseason success? Keep in mind, most of his playing time was coming against third-stringers.
Q Is Letroy Guion stout/strong enough to man the nose tackle position?
A The Vikings have made an investment in Guion with the belief that he can be a force at nose tackle, even if he's significantly smaller than Pat Williams was and significantly smaller than most nose tackles around the NFL. They think he has freakish quickness and agility and an ability to make plays beside Kevin Williams. Now, the fact that he got hurt on the first series of the first preseason game and hasn't been back in game action since, leaves all that as a major question that will have to be answered in-season.
Q How do you see the Vikings getting the ball into Percy Harvin's hands more often this year?
A Just look back at those games Peterson either missed completely or didn't finish due to injury in 2011. There were six of those contests. Harvin's averages: eight catches, 96 yards and a TD. Also averaged five carries for 24 yards in those games.
Q Which is more likely? 1. The Vikings start 2-0 and the majority of the questions you field are on playoff chances. 2. The Vikings start 0-2 and the majority of the questions you field are on Matt Barkley?
A Most likely: The Vikings start 1-1 and folks on both sides of your hypothetical are so antsy, they start going crazy on one another. That'd be a lot of fun, no?
Q Who are the starting DBs going to be and in your opinion are they better than last year?
A Chris Cook and Antoine Winfield at corner, Harrison Smith and Jamarca Sanford at safety. In nickel, either Robinson or A.J. Jefferson comes in and Winfield slides into the slot. Now is this better than last year? Depends on what point of last year. Remember right before Christmas when Drew Brees and the Saints came to town? The starting secondary was Asher Allen, Brandon Burton, Marcus Sherels, Sanford and Mistral Raymond. Brees had five TD passes before Christian Ponder had five completions. Brees threw for 412 and didn't play the fourth quarter. That had to be rock bottom, no?
Q I hear conflicting reports that Harrison Smith is strictly or more versed to play in the box that he doesn't have good range. I also have heard reports that he doesn't have elite speed but good range and ballhawk capabilities. What's your take on Smith's skills?
A Smith had seven picks as a junior at ND, including three against Miami in the Sun Bowl. So he can get around the ball. He absolutely does not have elite speed. And that's something he'll have to make up for. But what the Vikings loved most about him was: a) he plays with a nasty edge, which will give the back of that D some teeth; and b) he's rarely, rarely, rarely out of position -- a guy who knows where to be and how to get there and has enough intelligence and discipline to limit mistakes. Smith has shown me enough to believe that he'll be starting back there for years to come.