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Monday Morning Mailbag: Vikings Mourn Khyree Jackson's Tragic ...

Monday Morning Mailbag Vikings Mourn Khyree Jacksons Tragic

I don't understand how low the Vikings are viewed for 2024. I have seen predictions as low as three or five wins. A lot of that has to do with the division, and while Detroit has a good team and is favored, they have questionable CBs in a heavy passing division. I have more questions than most about the Packers and the Bears. The Bears are overrated based upon the number one overall pick, [Caleb] Williams at QB. He is a rookie, however, and it showed in the Bears offseason program during the 7-on-7s when he completed seven straight passes to the defenders. The Packers are always overrated, and [Jordan] Love is getting some of the undeserved love that [Aaron] Rodgers always got and never lived up to. Yes, he won division titles, but he failed to make it consistently to the big game.

In looking at the Vikings, I would say they have one of the best if not the best receiving corps, a good O-Line with two outstanding tackles, and they signed Aaron Jones at running back. The only question is the QB, and I have faith that with our coaches either [Sam] Darnold or [J.J.] McCarthy will do a decent job. I think that the defense will be a top 10, even with some questions about the DTs. The Vikings have good edge rushers, two good MLBs, and maybe the best safety group in the league. I think that the Vikings CBs are the best they have had in a long while.

I see the Vikings going 10-7 if injuries and other factors don't get in the way, and if that happens, they could fall as low as 7-10. This is a good club, and their star is rising. They will be better appreciated in next year's projections.

What do you think?

— Jerry Carrier in Lakeville, Minnesota

Every NFC North team has at least one quarterback who was selected in the first round of an NFL Draft. The Vikings have two, with Sam Darnold (2018 by the Jets) and rookie J.J. McCarthy.

Both players are in the first year with this system, but Darnold has a breadth of experience he can build upon with a great skills group, as well as the best tackles combo he's had during his career as a starter. All communication from O'Connell so far is the plan is to start Darnold, who turned in a very strong showing in spring practices.

I read a few things on how Williams' spring was going as the unquestioned starter in Chicago. I didn't see a report of seven consecutive interceptions, but multiple outlets noted growing pains, including The Athletic's Jon Greenberg, who included the following explanation as part of his coverage from an OTA practice.

When we watched the red zone drills, Williams was constantly under pressure while his receivers (which didn't include Rome Odunze or Keenan Allen) tried to get open. There were a few just-missed interceptions. Sometimes, Williams couldn't even get passes off as the secondary used its space advantage in the red zone to shut down receivers. We saw a lot of screen passes, many of which turned into scores. Occasionally, the offense struggled to line up or get a play off.

That's only one practice, and the Bears are projected to have a feisty defense that was playing some tough football by the end of last season.

All rookies encounter adjustment periods. McCarthy will be no exception during any of his opportunities.

Love was able to learn behind the scenes for multiple seasons before becoming Green Bay's starter; Jared Goff has applied lessons and lumps from earlier in his career to thrive in Detroit.

The Vikings believe they made multiple moves to strengthen the roster.

Free agency was incredibly active, with Minnesota bringing in multiple veterans who had been targeted with input from Flores. His successes with the defense in 2023 should be promising for 2024. He should have multiple ways to attack opponents this season.

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