Vikings Twitter mailbag: Rudolph, Patterson and Randy Moss


Thanks to all of you who submitted questions for this week's Minnesota Vikings mailbag. You can submit questions at any point during the week on Twitter, using the hashtag #VikingsMail.

@GoesslingESPN: Good morning, everyone. Hope your Fourth of July is off to a great start. We'll get going here. For his sake, it had better be Kyle Rudolph, who has missed 15 games the last two seasons and needs to show he's capable of living up to the five-year contract the Vikings gave him last August. That deal was a show of good faith that Rudolph would turn into a major weapon in Norv Turner's offense, and he's got to stay healthy to make that happen. In 48 career games -- or three full seasons -- Rudolph has 133 catches for 1,286 yards and 17 touchdowns. That works out to an average of 44 catches for 429 yards and about six touchdowns a season. The Vikings want more from Rudolph than that, and I think he'll have opportunities if he's healthy. I think Adrian Peterson will have an impressive year as he returns from his suspension ready to prove people wrong, but I'm not going to predict a 2,000-yard season for a 30-year-old running back. Something between 1,150 and 1,300 yards, paired with 40 or so catches, would be a nice season for Peterson in this offense. Mike Wallace, I expect, will have a nice season in Turner's offense, and get his per-catch average back toward 15 yards after two seasons under 13 yards per catch in Miami, but Wallace has never been an 80- or 90-catch guy, and the Vikings will spread things around. Something around 65 catches for 1,000 yards would be a solid output for Wallace.

@GoesslingESPN: We'll stay with the projection game for another question here. Cordarrelle Patterson is a wild card in the Vikings' offense this season, for a number of reasons. Will he show a better command of route-running nuances this season and produce more as a receiver? Will his touches in the running game come back now that defenses have to worry more about Adrian Peterson? Patterson is only 24, though I remain a bit skeptical he'll ever tear up the league. He's currently the fourth receiver on the Vikings' depth chart, and while I think there'll be plays designed for him, the Vikings have to get to a point where Patterson isn't just on the field when the ball is going to him. In the end, I think Patterson will end up with 15-20 carries -- he's averaged an absurd 12.5 yards per attempt so far, and he'll pop a couple of big ones this season. If he can add another 30 catches for 400 yards to that? I think that'd be a nice season for him. He still terrifies opponents in the kick return game, and that might turn out to be where he makes his lasting impact.

@GoesslingESPN: Well, first, let's clear one thing up: We don't know that it's not a knee injury, based on what Mike Zimmer has said. We only know it's not related to the knee surgery Anthony Barr had at the end of last season. But your larger question, I think, is why the Vikings were being so hush-hush about it. Teams often don't like to give out more injury information than they're required to discuss, and until the regular season, when there's an injury report published three times a week, teams aren't really required to discuss anything. The injury report doesn't provide much context, of course, but teams don't want to divulge more than necessary because they don't want opponents to know who's hurt and who's healthy. With Barr's injury, Zimmer has said the linebacker will be ready for training camp, so in his mind, it's probably not a big-enough deal to discuss in much detail. I'm inclined to think NFL teams could be a little more open with information as a whole; the Seattle Seahawks are routinely lauded for their cooperation with the media, and it doesn't seem to be keeping them from winning games. But this is where my job has a different goal than the head coach's job. I've found Zimmer enjoyable to cover and refreshingly candid on most things; it's his prerogative how much he wants to say about injuries.

@GoesslingESPN: Aw, heck, why not end the Independence Day edition of the mailbag with a question about the Super Freak? After all, if Brett Favre is going back to Green Bay, why can't we talk about Randy Moss -- who incidentally was one of the first sources of disagreement between Favre and Ted Thompson -- being honored in Minnesota? Moss didn't leave Minnesota on amicable terms in 2010, of course, but his rancor was aimed at former coach Brad Childress more than anything else. General manager Rick Spielman is still with the team, and the Vikings still have the same ownership, but in time, I think the team will bring Moss back to honor him the way he should be recognized. He absolutely deserves to be in the Ring of Honor, and while Cordarrelle Patterson has Moss' No. 84 at the moment, it should eventually be retired. You can make a case Moss was the most dominant offensive player in Vikings history -- Adrian Peterson included -- and his presence changed the way NFL defenses deal with electric wide receivers. There weren't bracket coverages and Tampa-2 schemes, the way we know them now, before Moss lit the league on fire as a rookie. The Green Bay Packers devoted the first three picks of their 1999 draft to defensive backs, after Moss' unforgettable Monday night game at Lambeau Field in 1998. Once the Vikings move into their new home in 2016 and have a proper place to honor former players, I could see them laying the groundwork to honor Moss.

We'll wrap things up there for the day and have another edition of the mailbag on Sunday. Go enjoy your Fourth of July, and we'll talk tomorrow.