Vikings mailbag: Questions on both lines

June, 14, 2014
Jun 14
8:00
AM ET
Thanks to all of you who submitted questions for our weekly Minnesota Vikings mailbag. You can send them to me on Twitter any time during the week at @GoesslingESPN, using the hashtag #VikingsMail.

@GoesslingESPN: Good morning, everyone. We'll get started here. There's been plenty of talk about Mike Zimmer's more egalitarian approach to the defensive line, and I don't doubt we'll see playing time spread among linemen more than we did when Leslie Frazier was the head coach. But I'm not sure it's going to be a drastic change. Zimmer had eight defensive linemen play at least 130 snaps last season in Cincinnati (remember, Geno Atkins got hurt in the Bengals' ninth game), but the Vikings had seven guys who played that much, and they actually had more guys log at least 350 snaps than the Bengals did (seven to six). Where I think you'll see a difference is in the number of snaps played by the top linemen; Zimmer just hasn't had players log the 1,050-snap seasons that Jared Allen saw with the Vikings. We'll probably see him try to take a few snaps away from players like Brian Robison and Everson Griffen to keep them a little fresher late in games. @GoesslingESPN: We'll see plenty of two-tight end sets from Turner -- the Cleveland Browns had two tight ends on the field more than all but three teams in the league last season -- but I wouldn't expect to see them used in the same way that Bill Musgrave did it, packing two extra blockers on the line of scrimmage much of the time. I'd expect to see tight ends flexed out a little more often this year, and there's no question they'll be a significant part of the passing game. Turner actually used "21" personnel -- two running backs, two receivers and a tight end -- more than all but one team in the league while he was the San Diego Chargers' head coach. But again, the differences will be more about what players are asked to do. We won't see a fullback there just to block as much as we did with Musgrave, and Jerome Felton will have to diversify his game to get on the field a fair amount of the time in Turner's scheme. @GoesslingESPN: I don't see David Yankey overtaking Charlie Johnson at left guard quite as quickly as some fans might hope; the Vikings gave Johnson a two-year deal, and offensive line coach Jeff Davidson still likes the continuity he has with all five of his starting linemen (Matt Kalil, Johnson, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco and Phil Loadholt) returning after two years playing together as a unit. Yankey could turn out to be a steal after the Vikings took him in the fifth round, and it wouldn't shock me if the Vikings try to work him in by the middle of the season, should Johnson struggle. But at the moment, I'd take Johnson to start on Sept. 7 in St. Louis until proven otherwise. @GoesslingESPN: I've gotten this question from a number of fans since the Kansas City Chiefs released Brandon Flowers on Friday, and I'd suggest to pump the brakes on that idea. Flowers is only 5-foot-9, and struggled in the Chiefs' new press coverage scheme last season (ESPN Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher has a good breakdown of the problem here). That doesn't suggest to me that he'd be a good fit in Zimmer's defense, except possibly at slot cornerback, where the Vikings already have Captain Munnerlyn, and as Teicher writes, Flowers wasn't terribly happy with the idea of being moved into a nickel back role. The Vikings still have $7.75 million in cap space if they want to add a veteran player, but Flowers doesn't seem like the best fit. 

We'll wrap it up there for the week. Thanks for the great questions, everyone. Talk to you next week!

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