Vikings mailbag: QBs, Priefer and Barr
June, 21, 2014
By Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
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. Matt Cassel gets the nod over Teddy Bridgewater; his experience has to put him over the edge in the event the two quarterbacks' performances are similar. To me, there's no reason to put Bridgewater on the field Sept. 7 against the St. Louis Rams unless he's made it clear he's the better choice. Otherwise, start the year with Cassel, see if he can get you through a rough early stretch of the schedule and give Bridgewater the extra time to get ready. I think it's very possible Bridgewater wins the job; I just don't see a reason to force him in there unless he's made it clear he's the best choice. Chris Kluwe's allegations against special teams coordinator Mike Priefer. The investigation dragged on longer than anyone had planned -- in large part, from what I've heard, because some people were reluctant to participate at first -- but in some ways, it worked out perfectly for the Vikings. The team will get the findings with many players out of the building, away from the media and in the safe haven of their summer vacations. If the Vikings decide to make the report public (likely after consultation with the NFL), they might choose to release it somewhere around the Fourth of July, when attention on the NFL might be at a relative low point. Funny how that stuff works out, isn't it? If the report shows corroborating evidence of Kluwe's allegations that Priefer made homophobic remarks, and if the Vikings decide to discipline Priefer, the situation could become a problem in the weeks before training camp, but short of that, I don't see it being a big distraction. Chad Greenway in the first-team nickel defense and lined up as an edge rusher on a few occasions, which at one point led the Vikings to drop Brian Robison into coverage while Barr rushed from the left end spot. The rookie has impressive edge rush speed and looked like he already had a functional swim move. He'll have to develop a number of moves and strategies to beat offensive tackles, but he could open up new wrinkles for the Vikings' defense, particularly when you consider that Everson Griffen has dropped into coverage before and Robison started his college career as a linebacker. Especially in the first few weeks of the season, unpredictability could be an effective weapon for the Vikings' defense. Mike Zimmer said this week the Vikings' coaches will send players short messages, reminding them to keep working out and getting ready for training camp. But many players return home, to be with their families and take advantage of the last few weeks of down time before they're scheduled to report for training camp on July 24. Zimmer said he plans to take vacation time, too, returning to his ranch in northern Kentucky, making a trip down to Dallas and heading to Naples, Florida, to see his parents. He said Thursday he'd miss the players -- though he didn't plan to tell them that. The biggest concern for coaches this time of year is that players stay out of trouble and stay in shape, ready to get to work once training camp begins. But in what's become a year-round job, the time between minicamp and training camp provides a brief respite for many of the people involved in running a football team. We'll wrap up this edition of the mailbag there. Thanks for all the great questions -- we got quite a stockpile of them this week, so I might tackle a few more of them in another edition of the mailbag early next week. Talk to you then!