Every week send any Vikings-related questions to @Andrew_Krammer and I’ll answer them here on Fridays.
Are the Vikings underdogs in Atlanta for any other reason than a) Falcons went to Superbowl in 2016 or b) Falcons are at home?
— Peter Kaufman (@pjk01141969) December 1, 2017
A: The Vikings are three-point underdogs Sunday in Atlanta for the first time since preparing for Aaron Rodgers in October. Certainly the Falcons built up their pedigree with a Super Bowl appearance now accentuated by a three-game winning streak. They’re playing well and deserve credit for a very talented roster on both sides. The matchups to watch, outside of Xavier Rhodes and Julio Jones, will be along the Vikings offensive line. Atlanta’s interior defenders Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe combine for 10 tackles for losses this season. And a steady rotation of edge defenders could make for a long day. The Vikings’ run game, against a Falcons defense giving up 4.4 yards per carry, is one way to tip the scales.
who is backup to Kendricks, and does it matter? Only 2 LBs vs Falcons?
— Sausage Chimichunga (@SausageChimichu) November 30, 2017
A: Eric Kendricks was able to return to practice Thursday on a limited basis with an injured hip that kept him from Wednesday’s session. If he can’t play, Emmanuel Lamur would likely fill in alongside Anthony Barr during the often-used nickel defense. Ben Gedeon is capable of moving over to play middle linebacker in the base defense, with Lamur on the outside, and Kentrell Brothers is also an option in the middle.
Is Diggs being underutilized?
— Alex M (@Buckeye_in_Va) November 30, 2017
A: Stefon Diggs is third on the team in targets (60), but he’s also third among those teammates in playing time by more than 200 snaps. Thielen is the clear No. 1 for Case Keenum and both Kyle Rudolph and Diggs have been featured about the same since Diggs returned from a two-game absence due to a groin injury. It’s been about where on the field he’s been targeted. The long ball has been sporadic. He’s caught at least four passes in each of the last four games, but Diggs’ yardage totals are 27, 78, 32 and 66 with the lone deep catch the 51-yard bomb in Washington. Meanwhile, Thielen has been the deep target of late averaging 17.6 yards per catch in that four-game span. Diggs can produce from every level of the field and it’s likely just be a matter of time.
It’s early, but which area of the team do they focus on with their 1st round pick in the draft?
— Jeremy (@jdbatten2020) November 30, 2017
A: It’s very early! Let’s start with pointing out the Vikings currently sit with five picks across rounds 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. The Dolphins own the Vikings’ fourth-round pick courtesy of the Eagles via the Jay Ajayi and Sam Bradford trades. The Seahawks own the Vikings seventh-round pick, conditionally, for cornerback Tramaine Brock. Looking far ahead, it’s hard not to ponder the future of the Vikings’ right guard position. The Vikings have reaped the benefits of offensive line investments this season, and the underrated Joe Berger is expected to retire after this season. There also aren’t many quality guards currently expected to hit free agency in March.