@GoesslingESPN: Good morning, everyone, and a happy Mother's Day weekend to all the moms out there (including mine, who might or might not be reading this). Thank you so much for all the hours of selfless, thankless and priceless work you do. We'll get started here.
There's plenty of intrigue in Moritz Boehringer right now, so much so that Mike Zimmer already has gone to his usual method of testing a player's focus: ribbing him about how much attention he's getting. Boehringer will have plenty of work to do between now and the end of training camp -- he spent part of his first practice tossing up his lunch in 90-degree heat on Friday -- but it is going to be interesting to see how things play out precisely for the reasons you mentioned.
There was enough interest in Boehringer that the Vikings felt they had to draft him, rather than waiting to see if they could land him as an undrafted free agent. By the end of the preseason, though, Boehringer will have played enough in four preseason games that teams will have a fairly accurate sense of where he's at. If he does enough to make some team think they'd want him on their 53-man roster, chances are he'll have done enough to make the Vikings' roster. If he still looks too raw to make an active roster, the Vikings should have an edge in trying to get him to the practice squad; they're the team that kindled his interest in football, and the team that took a chance on him in the draft. There's plenty of time to see how it plays out, but it's certainly going to be fascinating to watch how Boehringer develops, with no background in college football.
How will Moritz handle the locker room culture (which can have some teasing and bullying)? #VikingsMail— andrewbauer (@shelbemustang2) May 6, 2016
@GoesslingESPN: I've wondered a little bit about this too -- probably not as much from the standpoint of teasing and bullying, but just in how a German athlete who's effectively played at a glorified semipro level will connect with Americans who might see him as not having the pedigree to be there. I asked Boehringer on Friday about the biggest difference he's noticed so far between the athletic culture in Germany and the culture in the U.S.; he said the main thing is that the athletes here are more professional and take things more seriously. That's to be expected in a cutthroat league where multimillion-dollar salaries are on the line, and Boehringer will have to adjust to that.
His English is good, but it's his second language, and that could lend itself to him being one of the more reserved players at a position not known for introspective types. There's a number of reasons why this experiment is compelling, and how Boehringer assimilates to the locker room will be one of them. Just about every other U.S. pro sport has myriad examples of international players connecting with Americans, but there's not usually such a gap in the experience levels of those players. I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
#VikingsMail Who sees the field first Waynes or Alexander?— TheBaskett (@DenBaskett) May 5, 2016
@GoesslingESPN: It should be Trae Waynes, for the simple fact that the Vikings shouldn't have to give the 11th overall pick in the 2015 draft a two-year incubation process. Much like with Waynes last year, the Vikings don't have to rush Mackensie Alexander; they have Captain Munnerlyn at nickel cornerback, so they can wait on Alexander until he's ready. But with the Vikings' investment in Waynes, he needs to make a real push to unseat Terence Newman at left cornerback and get on the field. Remember, the Vikings already will be making a decision about Waynes' fifth-year option at the end of the 2017 season. It's in his best interest to have two full years as a cornerback by the time they have to make that decision.
@GoesslingESPN: The Vikings plan for it to be more balanced, but that depends on a few things: the offensive line protecting Teddy Bridgewater more effectively than it did last season, Bridgewater doing a better job of trusting himself to make tough throws and his receivers freeing themselves of defenders more consistently. If those things don't happen, it only makes sense for the Vikings to default to what's worked in the past.
They wanted a more balanced attack last season too, and they wound up leaning on Adrian Peterson as heavily as ever. Part of that was because Peterson didn't fit smoothly into the full scope of the Vikings' offense -- Mike Zimmer talked about that after the season, and admitted he wished he'd done more to help that process -- but as Bridgewater was running for his life, the Vikings also realized Peterson still was the best thing they had going for them. They'll again look to feature Peterson in 2016, but in a perfect world, they'll have the ability to complement him. Time will tell how close the Vikings get to their ideal scenario.
We'll wrap it up there for the week. Thanks for all the great questions, everyone; enjoy your weekend, and we'll talk next week.