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Access Vikings mailbag: Which rookie will have the best season?

You have questions; we have answers and opinions. Here's the latest edition of Vikings mailbag. Let's start out talking about the rookies.

Good question, and I’d go with linebacker Eric Kendricks. He’s undersized at six feet and 232 pounds, but Kendricks might be the best bet among the three players listed. The UCLA product has great instincts and has the capability to become a three-down middle linebacker. He can also play weakside linebacker as well, which will only help Kendricks’ case to receive playing time early in the season.

As much as head coach Mike Zimmer complimented Waynes during rookie minicamp, it’s a tough adjustment playing cornerback from college to the NFL. While I was high on Waynes heading into the draft, I’m also realistic when I look at all the talented wide receivers in the NFL.

I’m not sure what to think about Clemmings yet given that he could possibly get a shot at playing guard. He’s still raw and needs to improve at both tackle positions. He’s only played two seasons at the position, switching from defensive line, so it’s best to hold off any assumptions until camp with Clemmings.

Then again, the Vikings drafted a player last year that only played his current position for two seasons in college. Some guy named Anthony Barr that I didn’t think would start in Week 1.

I highly doubt he will. While it may seem beneficial to return with his teammates, it’s an optional event. Most big name players like Adrian Peterson hardly show up to organized team activities during most offseasons (Peterson showed up last year during Zimmer’s first season), so I wouldn’t expect this year to be any different.

Nobody should have a problem with Peterson not showing up to OTAs, either. If it truly mattered, it’d be mandatory. You know what you’re getting out of Peterson even after he missed almost all of last season. Those types of players don’t have much to prove in May. They’ll be ready by minicamp.

Now will Peterson report to mandatory minicamp next month? I don’t have a clue. We’ll see how the situation develops over the next few weeks.

I think, without question, it’s what the Vikings do at left guard. It’s not the sexiest position battle, but it’s the most important battle because of the ramifications. It impacts two significant pieces offensively, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and left tackle Matt Kalil. Bridgewater is coming off a season of inconsistent play from the entire offensive line, but he didn’t receive much help from his blind side. It also affects Kalil, who has to prove his worth this season and didn’t perform well with an aging Charlie Johnson on the left side last season.

The most logical solutions at this point are either Joe Berger, David Yankey or even switching right guard Brandon Fusco to left guard. It doesn’t appear as if Clemmings would be ready to play on the left side given he only played right tackle in college.

I’m hijacking this clearly sarcastic question to ask my own question regarding the Vikings jerseys.

Uni Watch released its NFL uniforms power rankings this week, and the Vikings were ranked 16th. Where’s the “trash” emoji when you truly need it?

That’s way too low.

The Vikings uniforms were terrible up until Nike redesigned them two years ago. Now, they should be ranked in the top 10. It’s such a clean look with the matte helmets and the minimalist jersey designs. The purple/white/purple look on the road is my favorite combination, though I’m also a big fan of the purple jerseys.

The Vikings jerseys should be ranked ahead of the Packers, Colts, Chiefs, Titans, Patriots, Giants and Jets on this list.

The Dolphins, ranked 17th, were also ranked too low. That’s another team that should belong in the top 10 after their uniforms were redesigned.

Walsh knows he has to improve in 2015, hopes to stay with Vikings

Blair Walsh isn’t sweating the NFL rule change that pushed back PATs.

The Vikings kicker also doesn’t seem too concerned with needing to get his groove back after what was statistically the shakiest season of his career.

“I just wanted to get back to the way I was hitting the ball,” the 25-year-old said. “I actually thought that I kicked the ball pretty decently last year.”

After missing just seven field goals in his first two seasons with the Vikings, Walsh uncharacteristically misfired on nine of his 35 field-goal tries in 2014. A few of those misses were from beyond 50 yards and a couple of kicks got Mutombo-ed at the line of scrimmage. But Walsh’s 74.3 percent success rate on field goals ranked last among 31 qualifying NFL kickers.

He feels those stats are “a little misleading” but knows he must be better.

“The 39-yarder I missed in the Jets game and the 38-yarder I missed in Chicago, that’s unacceptable to me and I have to be better there,” he said. “But there’s no wholesale changes that need to be made this offseason.”

Walsh’s uneven performance a season ago was certainly surprising after he followed up his All-Pro rookie season with another strong campaign in 2013. But there is no reason for the Vikings to panic — and they aren’t.

Walsh, who was a sixth-round pick in 2012, is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He says the Vikings and his agent, Brian Mackler, have had “a little bit of communication” about a contract extension this spring.

“I would love to stay a Viking. This is the team that drafted me and put that faith in me to be an NFL kicker,” he said. “But at the same time, I’ve had a Pro Bowl year here, I’ve had success and there’s been a lot of long attempts that we’ve made, so the numbers are going to have to be right for both of us. But when it comes down to it, I hope I can stay with the Vikings.”

Today's Scoreboard

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  • Texas

    NY Yankees

     

    - F

    15

    4

  • Seattle

    Toronto

     

    - F

    3

    2

  • NY Mets

    Pittsburgh

     

    - F

    2

    8

  • Philadelphia

    Washington

     

    - F

    8

    1

  • Houston

    Detroit

     

    - F

    3

    2

  • Milwaukee

    Atlanta

     

    - F

    2

    3

  • Minnesota

    Chicago White Sox

     

    - F

    4

    3

  • Cincinnati

    Cleveland

     

    - F

    1

    2

  • San Francisco

    Colorado

     

    - F

    10

    8

  • Oakland

    Tampa Bay

     

    - F

    5

    0

  • LA Angels

    Boston

     

    - F

    3

    8

  • St. Louis

    Kansas City

     

    - F

    2

    3

  • Baltimore

    Miami

     

    - Bot 12th

    0

    0

  • San Francisco

    Colorado

     

    - Delayed

    0

    0

  • Chicago Cubs

    Arizona

     

    - Top 2nd

    0

    2

  • San Diego

    LA Dodgers

     

    - Bot 2nd

    0

    1

  • Anaheim

    Chicago

     

    - 3rd, 8:30

    4

    3

  • Golden State

    Houston

     

    - 3rd, 9:05

    65

    47

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