Send Your Questions to the Mailbag

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 20, 2009 – 11:03 pm

The slow part of the NFL calendar is quickly passing us by and training camp is just over a week away. As is the case in every NFL city, things will get intersting once camp begins and is your #1 source for exclusive Vikings information.

One way to gain insight into your favorite football team is to send a question in to the Mailbag. Each Monday during the offseason, we published several questions and answers. We even answered all the questions that weren’t published. So, if you have a question, or just want to share a comment regarding the Vikings or any other NFL-related news, the Mailbag is a great way to interact with the club and other readers.

Send questions and comments, with your name and town included, to me at:

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New Vikings Commerical Released

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 20, 2009 – 3:17 pm

The Vikings marketing team launched its new campaign of TV commercials today. The ads include the voice of Vikings radio play-by-play voice Paul Allen and put a creative Vikings twist on what are normally regular activities, such as changing the oil in a car.

One commerical was released today to local TV stations, so you’ll probably see them periodically as you’re surfing channels. But you can view the ad right now by clicking the link above. There will be a few more ads released this season.

Hope you enjoy. And by the way, you’ll need to turn on your audio to enjoy the full experience, so make sure your speakers are on (and your boss isn’t looking).

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Analyzing Position Battles – Nickel Back

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 20, 2009 – 12:09 pm

Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin have the starting CB positions on lock down (barring injury, knock on wood). But a defense always has more than 2 starting-caliber CBs on the roster. In fact, many plays require a defense to have 3 or more solid CBs on the field at a time.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Vikings nickel back situation. This will be a hotly-contested training camp battle, and one that will be vital to any success the Vikings defense will have this season.

We’ll begin with Marcus McCauley. His time with the Vikings so far has been a bit tumultuous. He was a 3rd round pick in 2007 and had a nice rookie season, but then inconsistent play and injuries derailed him a bit last year. But perhaps things are looking up for him now. With Winfield absent during OTAs and minicamps this offseason, McCauley took most of the 1st team reps. This doesn’t mean he’s locked the job down or is even a favorite, but it does make sense to note who filled in for a starter.

There are 3 other serious contenders for this job. They are Benny Sapp, Karl Paymah and Asher Allen. The Vikings coaching staff liked enough of what they saw from Sapp last year to bring him back this year. He was re-signed this past offseason. Sapp was an interception machine during training camp a year ago, and a similar performance this year in training camp may be enough to give him the nickel job full-time. Paymah was brought in from Denver as a free agent. He has good speed, lots of special teams experience and a big desire to transcend the role of a special teams player and become a regular contributor on defense. Allen was a 3rd round draft pick this year and was a standout during his time at the University of Georgia. He doesn’t have protoypical Cover 2 CB size, but neither does Antoine Winfield.

Lastly, we must mention Charles Gordon, who is recovering from a serious ankle injury, as well as Marcus Walker, who is one of a few young players who will compete hard to make the Vikings roster. Gordon fulfilled multiple roles for the Vikings last season before his injury. Aside from being the team’s 3rd CB, he also contributed in the return game. If he can get back to his normal playing ability after the injury, then he’s the favorite for the nickel job. But at this point there’s no guarantee that’ll happen.

Prediction: This position battle won’t be determined until late in the preseason, but right now I’m thinking Sapp and Allen will be in the mix as the regular season approaches.

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