Chat with Kevin Seifert
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert will drop in to chat about the NFL.
Seifert joined ESPN.com in 2008 after covering the Minnesota Vikings for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for eight years. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and children.
Send your questions now and join Seifert Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Kevin Seifert (2:00 PM)
Hi everyone. Let's do this.
Has there been any contract new regarding our DE's? As of right now our 3 best will be free agents next year. I'd like to lock in Griffen long term and would also like Allen to retire a Vikings
Kevin Seifert (2:01 PM)
Not to this point. The Matthew Stafford contract was a good reminder to all of us that deals can materialize at any moment, but for now, the Vikings haven't done anything to address the pending free agency of either player.
Adam (Racine, Wisconsin)
What kind of deal do you see Jay Cutler trying to get from the Bears? I'm hoping we can bring him back without breaking the bank.
Kevin Seifert (2:02 PM)
It's kind of catch-22 for the Bears and their fans. The better Cutler plays, the more expensive he will be. If he ends up taking a Stafford-like deal at $15 million annually, it means he wasn't as good in 2013 as everyone hopes he will be. Otherwise, he has the leverage to seek a $20 million-type deal because of his pending free agency. He just needs to play at that level.
Reggie (#Eating Crow)
I am all for Rodgers defending a friend and fellow sports athlete. The manner in which he did it, though, was over the top and frankly immature. To vilify ESPN, call people idiots, tell others to "eat crow," blaming the media for smearing Braun's name, and "#shhhhhhhhhh" without all the necessary facts is irresponsible, simple as that. If any aspect of the media was in Rodgers' shoes, we would be ripping them too. I'm not sure why Rodgers took this hypersensitive approach but he could have declared his support for Braun 1000 other ways that would have prevented him from "eating crow."
Kevin Seifert (2:04 PM)
Can't argue with any of that. I can only assume he passionately believed his friend and was thrilled that what seemed to be a long-shot appeal was actually granted. But as I wrote on the blog, he went into overdrive. He trusted his friend. He never thought it was possible that Braun was on PEDs. And here he is....
Alec (The Windy City)
Kevin, the Bears have a lot of talent, but I understand everyone is a bit wary of them in the preseason predictions because of the new coaching hire. Based on talent alone, (I heard by some people they are one of the most talented teams in the NFL), what would you think their record would be? Thanks, I love the Black and Blue All Over blog posts
Kevin Seifert (2:05 PM)
Thanks. I still really feel like they are one of the most unpredictable teams in the NFL. They have the talent to win 10 or 11 games and make the playoffs. But they also have a new coach for the first time in a decade. Let's not underestimate the transition they're under.
Jerry (Dickinson, ND)
Any chance the Bears go after a veteran wide receiver or are they set with Marshall, Jeffrey, and the 2 Bennetts
Kevin Seifert (2:05 PM)
I'm guessing for now they will sit tight and see what they have in camp.
Kevin, any news on Joe Webb's transition to WR? I'm curious to know if the Vikes plan to use him in a Harvin-type role. Thanks!
Kevin Seifert (2:06 PM)
In OTAs, they used him as more of a traditional outside receiver, where he could use his height to fight for the ball. It would be really interesting to see him in red zone situations as well.
nervous fan (watch shop)
Its Tuesday afternoon, training camp is thursday morning. Vikes have 3 first rounders yet to sign. Should I be getting nervous or is Spielman and Co. just procrastinating?
Kevin Seifert (2:07 PM)
I don't think they're procrastinating. They want to get the deals done. But those guys are in a group of largely unsigned first rounders. The dominoes will start falling soon enough.
Mike (Carlyle, IL)
As the preseason goes and if the WRs outside of Megatron struggle, what are the chances the Lions would look at Brandon Lloyd or Terrell Owens? IMO, that is the biggest question going into camp for the Lions.
Kevin Seifert (2:09 PM)
I really don't get the Terrell Owens bit. He's been out of the game for a couple of years. They are working out three other receivers this week, including Steve Breaston, and if they are going to sign anyone before camp, I would imagine it would be one of those three.
justin (Salyersville KY)
with robinson having concoushions what is the chance the lions will give him a chance or will the lions go with another wr because of the problem with best
Kevin Seifert (2:10 PM)
You're referring to Laurent Robinson, who had multiple concussions last year. That would obviously be a red flag, but I don't think the Lions need to be any extra careful because of their Jahvid Best experience. If anything, the Best episode taught us that all concussions are different.
Is ESPN okay with having everybody abandon their blogs following the format change?
Kevin Seifert (2:12 PM)
Lot of questions on this. Will only address it once in the interest of moving on. I personally miss you guys. I wish it were easier to comment for you. I also think that the comment sections had gotten really problematic. There wasn't a lot of consistent football talk. Finally, these are decisions made over my head. If you want me to feel bad that you're not around any more, well, I'm having a hard time mustering that emotion. Not my call.
Tom B. (Eagan, MN)
Are the Lions planning to do anything recognizing the recent Detroit bankruptcy? I'm sure they already do some community outreach but the Lions seems like a good way to be a bit of public stability. Obviously wins will go a long way...
Kevin Seifert (2:14 PM)
Very much. A winning sports team is a great galvanizing element for a community. I'm no financial expert, but my instinct is to view the bankruptcy thing as a positive. Detroit is not a fundamentally different place before the declaration. What it means to me is that its leaders are taking extreme measures to get things right. My two cents.
I dont get how anyone could think the Bears Defense will be worst then last year. Nick roach was a servicable linebacker and no matter how fast Urlacher was in the past he was a shadow of himself. I think the defense will be better your thoughts?
Kevin Seifert (2:16 PM)
There is a general sense that age is going to catch up on the Bears defense. Some people think it will be this year. And things at middle linebacker are unsettled at best after the Brian Urlacher departure. That gives you an idea for why there is some national uncertainty.
Which do you prefer (either as a fan or journalist)? The guaranteed money MLB players still receive even if they've been suspended for PED's, or the way the NFL handles things (teams going after bonus money, etc.)?
Kevin Seifert (2:18 PM)
I mean, more power to baseball players who have achieved the level of leverage they have. To me, using PEDs is misrepresenting yourself and cheating the game. Should be grounds for losing your contract. On the other hand, NFL players have it relatively rough. Their contracts are terminated all the time for offenses much less severe. A happy medium between the two would work best for me.
Being this is the last season for the Metrodome, what is your favorite memory or thing that happened during your time there?
Kevin Seifert (2:20 PM)
I think my favorite memory will be the last game. It's well outlasted its usefulness. But in reading your question, the first thing that came to mind was seeing the Randy Moss lateral to Moe Williams against the Broncos in 2003, I think. One of the most underrated great plays ever.
Of the 3 1st rounders by the Vikings...Which one intrigues you the most and which one will have the bigger impact this year?
Kevin Seifert (2:22 PM)
Everyone is excited about Cordarrelle Patterson, and for good reason. He is a playmaker, and everyone wants those. But I think Xavier Rhodes is in position to make the biggest immediate impact. What a huge boost it would be for their secondary to have Rhodes lock down one of those cornerback spots.
I think it's safe to say that if resigned, Jay Cutler will get a pay raise. Who is deeper cap hell, Lions or Bears?
Kevin Seifert (2:23 PM)
I would say the Lions. Having Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh means they'll have three huge cap commitments indefinitely unless they decide to part ways with one of them.
With the Vikings cutting veteran Rosenfelds last year in favor or young QB's (webb, MBT), and then reversing that trend with the addition of veteran Matt Cassel this year, is it clear the Vikings are lukewarm on Ponder? Thanks!
Kevin Seifert (2:24 PM)
No. It was clear they were lukewarm on Webb. With that said, they've given themselves a much more credible option if Ponder slumps this year than if they had kept Webb at No. 2.
What the heck is Greg Jennings problem with GB? Sounds pretty bitter for a guy that was developed by an elite organization with 2 Hall of Fame QBs and excellent offensive minds. Packers gave him good money for his services and gave him an opportunity to cash in free agency? Why all the hate now?
Kevin Seifert (2:25 PM)
I think he's just playing what he thinks is his role as a division foe. He might have some bitterness about not becoming the unquestioned No. 1 in Green Bay, but I'm not sure how deeply-held those feelings are.
Kevin, simple question. Who is your favorite to win the NFC North and why?
Kevin Seifert (2:25 PM)
The division runs through Green Bay. Why? Best quarterback in the NFL.
Jim D (Mpls)
Has Randall Cobb shown enough for fans to be confident he can get himself open against top flight CB's? In the past, when the Packers offense has failed to get going, it seems that WR's getting off the line and/or just beating solid coverage had been an issue. Jennings was the exception to this rule when healthy. Nelsona and Jones have both been taken out of games before. Long question longer, can Cobb successfully get open even if the 'scheme' isn't creating openings for him. Sidebar- does Finley have to provide more consistent straight match-up dominance for the Packers to make up for what a healthy GJ brought?
Kevin Seifert (2:27 PM)
Rodgers seemed very impressed with Cobb's route-running and especially his understanding of scheme and the game. He sensed in Cobb an innate understanding of how to get open and make plays. So yes, I think Cobb can fit the bill you're describing.
Hey Kevin, I watched a video on ESPN.com today in which it was argued that Aaron Rodgers could go to any team in the NFL (including the Patriots and Redskins) and make team just as good, likely better, than it already is. They were just talking heads screaming at each other, but I wonder if you - in your level and mature way - agree with that assessment. Thanks!
Kevin Seifert (2:29 PM)
Haha. Yes, I saw that too. Those teams would have to cater to Rodgers' strengths, just like the Packers do. I don't think you want to see him running, say, Carolina's spread offense or the run-option that the 49ers run with Kaepernick. But in his preferred scheme, Rodgers would be an ungrade over every quarterback in the league. Kind of the definition of the No. 1 QB in the NFL.
Joe (Virginia Beach)
I was impressed with Ponder in the last four regular season games. I hope he continues to ascend this year. Despite what coach Frazier says, how long of leash do you think Ponder actually has?
Kevin Seifert (2:30 PM)
I think it's pretty long in this sense: He doesn't have to play lights-out to keep the job. He just has to be consistent and not fall into the kind of rut he did at midseason last year. This team isn't counting on him to carry it.
Garrus Vakarian (Palaven)
Could you illuminate more on the Lions linebacker corps? Beyond Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre Levy, I am not sure who will get the third starter position. They have competition, but it will take some calibrating to figure out.
Kevin Seifert (2:31 PM)
Yes, it will take some time. A lot of people are talking about Ashlee Palmer, the veteran, winning that job. And the truth is that whoever wins the job will probably come off the field in the nickel. With that said, if all things are equal, most teams like to give younger players a chance. So that means they'll give long looks to Lewis and Whitehead.
As a Packer fan, I've seen some good things in Ponder. Was it all just a result of Harvin/Petersen/elite offensive line? Will he regress this year?
Kevin Seifert (2:32 PM)
It sure helped to have an improved offensive line and the best running back in the game. But he also did some nice things on his own, especially scrambling in key situations. He has some talent. He needs consistency.
Any chance Rodgers comments on Braun soon? Any intel about that?
Kevin Seifert (2:33 PM)
I do not have any insight there. At the very least, I would expect him to be asked about it when camp opens at the end of this week. I assume he would speak after the first practice.
do the lions have a back up plan to reggie bush in case he falls to injury?
Kevin Seifert (2:35 PM)
It's hard to find a player with his type of skills. That's why they drafted Best in the first round and paid $5 million annually to sign Bush. If something happens to him, next up will be the two players the Lions finished last year using: Joique Bell and Mikel Leshoure, and possibly in that order.
Hey Kevin a lot of people are proclaiming that this is a win or else season for the Lions menaing that Schwartz is on the hot seat, with that said do you think it was wise for him to let so many veteran players go and replace them with rookies?
Kevin Seifert (2:35 PM)
I'm not sure it was totally up to him. But it was fair to shake things up a bit after they stood pat last year and went backwards. The players they brought in are, by and large, upgrades.
How do you think the Vikings LB core will turn out? I'm not sold on Henderson...Gerald Hodges stand a chance?
Kevin Seifert (2:36 PM)
Hodges had a great chance until Bishop was signed. I really think it'll be Bishop-Henderson-Greenway, in some arrangement, assuming everyone is healthy.
I'm not worried about stats, Stafford has proven that stats don't make you a winner (just rich). As a leader which QB has the best chance to lead their team to at least one playoff victory this year in the NFCN, besides Rodgers?
Kevin Seifert (2:37 PM)
So in other words, who is the best leader among the other three quarterbacks in the NFC North? I'd say Stafford. Ponder doesn't have the credibility yet, and Cutler is Cutler.
Anthony M (Kansas City)
How many more drafts and terrible seasons is it going to take the Lions to get a legitimate Defense? Is the problem both scheme and personnel related?Obviously being in the NFC North is tough, having to play some of the top qb's, rb's and wr's in the NFL. They seem to have defensive holes everywhere.
Kevin Seifert (2:39 PM)
I'm not sure that's the case anymore. The defensive line should be strong, and the secondary has two really credible additions in Glover Quin and Darius Slay -- a first-day free agent and a high second-round pick. They worked better to upgrade the defense this season than at any other point in the Martin Mayhew Era.
Is Malcolm Gladwell Right, Should College Football Be Banned To Save Brains?
Kevin Seifert (2:40 PM)
I say make sure everyone knows the facts of what they're getting into and let them make their own decisions. Who is to say that some people wouldn't trade some of the later years of their life for the experience of playing college football?
What kind of linebacker could Mauti be if he were fully healthy? I remember hearing he could have been a top 2 round pick if healthy
Kevin Seifert (2:40 PM)
Yeah, he was a top-flight leader and very sound technician. The injuries have been brutal, but it says a lot that a team was willing to use even a seventh-round pick to see if he can come back.
seems like the character/ discipline issues that plagued the lions are fading. how much of this is due to the teams maturing and how much to the actions of the coaches/ management. your opinion?
Kevin Seifert (2:41 PM)
It's a little bit maturity, a little bit of emphasis from the franchise and frankly, a lot of good fortune. These things happen to all NFL teams at one point or another. Tough to control young men in the offseason.
How worried should Packer fans be about the depth at safety. If Burnett gets injured, do you think they have enough talent at the position?
Kevin Seifert (2:42 PM)
Presumably, the loser of the competition between Jennings and McMillian could fill in for Burnett if he gets hurt. So at least we can say that.
Who do you say taking on a leadership role with the Packers? Very young team, most vets are gone. Will that be an issue?
Kevin Seifert (2:44 PM)
It's Rodgers' team more than ever, but Clay Matthews will need to be more of a leader on defense. Tramon Williams, Morgan Burnett and Bryan Bulaga are all leadership-quality as well.
Who has the best replacement if their #1 RB goes down in the NFCNORTH?
Kevin Seifert (2:46 PM)
Interesting question. The Lions could turn to Mikel Leshoure or Joique Bell. The Packers have DuJuan Harris, Eddie Lacy, James Starks, Alex Green and Johnathan Franklin, with one of them starting. The Vikings have Toby Gerhart, who hasn't played much but has done fine when he has gotten onto the field. And the Bears have Michael Bush, who is great on the goal line and also a good receiver. All in all, I would go with Bush, assuming he is healthy. He has been and could once again be a feature back.
Eric (Chicago) [via mobile]
The end of that sentence has a lot of meanings but everybody knows what you're talking about...Cutler is Cutler. No truer words have been uttered better.
Kevin Seifert (2:46 PM)
Ha. Enough said.
Assuming John Carlson stays healthy this year, what kind of role and production do you see him having?
Kevin Seifert (2:48 PM)
Anything would be better than last year. I'm not sure if there is chemistry with Ponder or not. But the tight end, generally speaking, will have plenty of opportunities in this offense.
Victor (San Diego)
Does the Bears TE Bennett have a chance to catch 60+ balls this year? If yes would you agree that almost guarantees 10 wins?
Kevin Seifert (2:49 PM)
Yes, he does have that chance. And no, I don't think that will have a huge impact on the Bears' winning percentage. Those receptions could be in all kinds of different -- and opposing -- situations.
Kevin Seifert (2:49 PM)
OK, a few more here.
TK (Newport Beach)
Funny, I haven't heard of any changes to TCF stadium this year, including heat coils under the field, which should've been a no brainer to begin with. You would think they would try and get the glitches out this NCAA season.
Kevin Seifert (2:50 PM)
Makes sense, but they wouldn't use that stuff during the Gophers season anyway, and I don't think they were ready to begin construction early enough to get it done before the college season starts. It will have to happen after this season.
If the Bears move on from Cutler, who's availible in free agency or the draft next year? If cutler leaves they have to find someone as good or better if they let him go!
Kevin Seifert (2:51 PM)
You don't want to know. Free agency for a starter is a non-starter. Won't work long term. And if you want to draft a new blue-chip quarterback, you better have a top-5 pick. Even if the Bears are disappointing this year, I'm not sure they will be that bad.
Kyle Rudolph ( MN)
I had a few games last year where I didn't even catch a pass. Do you see this happening again this year?
Kevin Seifert (2:52 PM)
Possible if Ponder struggles. Also, NFL knows who you are now. But generally speaking, I'm expecting big things...
If Ponder doesn't cut it, do the Vikings go to band-aid mode for a year or two? (Don't say Cassel)
Kevin Seifert (2:52 PM)
They've been doing it for decades now, with a random Daunte Culpepper in there. So why not?
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
I've always heard Erin Henderson spoke of by Pro Football Focus as an underrated player, but the vibe I get from you and Vikings fans is that they want to replace him..he didn't generate a lot of FA interest..not as good as metrics indicate?
Kevin Seifert (2:53 PM)
I don't want him replaced. I just noted that he didn't appear to be the Vikings' first choice to play middle linebacker. I think he's been pretty competent as an outside linebacker. A few high-profile mistakes have clouded judgment on him.
do you think the nfl should have disciplined players who tweeted violent commentary/ recommendations following the zimmerman verdict? if no- then why not.
Kevin Seifert (2:54 PM)
Have to be reasonable. It was an emotional time. Most of them took it back. Not much different than the general population.
Yes, he does have that chance. And no, I don't think that will have a huge impact on the Bears' winning percentage. Those receptions could be in all kinds of different -- and opposing -- situations.....I think he meant the team offense would obviously be better this year if they actually involved a TE, better offense being the key to victories in 2013. Wouldn't you agree?
Kevin Seifert (2:55 PM)
Oh, of course. But if you wanted to look at a number that would connect those thoughts better, maybe consider touchdown catches. If he has 8-10, then I think the Bears are well on their way.
Kevin Seifert (2:55 PM)
OK everyone. Thanks so much!