1. With Sunday's game being the Vikings' final one in the Metrodome, how are fans feeling about this? Is there mainly sadness over the Metrodome era ending or mainly excitement for a new stadium in a few years?
I think a lot of it is relief over the fact that the Minnesota Vikings will, in fact, remain the Minnesota Vikings for a very long time. The stadium fight in Minnesota went on for over a decade, and while the threat of relocation wasn't always a realistic one, it was there. Now, with the new stadium coming online in 2016, the Vikings will be a part of Minnesota sports until at least the year 2046. While the Metrodome brought us a lot of memories, I think fans are happier than anything that we don't have to worry about the team leaving or anything like that for a good chunk of the rest of our lives.
2. Do you think Leslie Frazier will be fired upon completion of the season?
I think it's inevitable at this point. As nice a guy as Leslie Frazier is and as hard as the Vikings players play for him, it looks like it's time for a change. The Vikings had a nice run in 2012 under Frazier, and an equally bad drop-off in 2013, and while this team isn't among the NFL's elite or anything, there's too much talent on for them to have double-digit losses. There are a lot of other factors that contributed to the 2013 season playing out the way it has, but the one thing that owners and general managers go for is changing the man on the sideline. I think we'll be hearing about Frazier's firing on Monday morning, if not sooner.
3. If Frazier is indeed let go, what kind of coach -- college or pro/offensive-minded or defensive-minded -- do you hope the Vikings target as his replacement?
Personally, I'd like to see a more offensive-minded head coach, and preferably someone with the ability to handle and develop quarterbacks. The Vikings have plenty of talent on offense, and if they can get the quarterback position figured out, they could be very strong in that department for years to come. A couple of the guys I'd like to see get an opportunity would be either Greg Roman from San Francisco or Pep Hamilton from Indianapolis. The "dream pick" would be Stanford head coach David Shaw, but I don't think there's any way he leaves Stanford. Regardless of who the team picks as its next head coach, though, he has to have solid coordinators. Bad coordinators have been a big part of Leslie Frazier's downfall, in my opinion.
4. None of the quarterbacks on the Vikings' roster look like long-term options. Do you think it's a must for them to draft a QB in the first round in 2014?
It's an interesting question, because it depends on where the Vikings land in the draft. Right now, they're in the No. 8 spot, but some of the (way too) early mocks have three or even four quarterbacks going before the Vikings make their pick at No. 8. If you're the Vikings, do you really want to spend the eighth overall pick on the fourth- or fifth-best player at the quarterback position? Or would you go after a guy like Khalil Mack or someone along those lines to strengthen the defense (which has plenty of issues) and target a guy like Jimmy Garoppolo in Round 2? Free agency will be a factor as well, but a lot of it is going to depend on how the draft board falls.
5. Aside from quarterback, what is going to be the biggest need for the Vikings going into the offseason?
Defense, defense and more defense. Outside of Brian Robison, Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes, there aren't too many guys on the defensive side of the ball for Minnesota that should feel safe and secure. Jared Allen likely won't be back, Kevin Williams likely won't be back, Chad Greenway could end up getting cut after the awful year he's had. Outside of the quarterback position needing to be addressed, a lot of the Vikings' 2014 draft should be devoted to defense. That's where their focus should be in free agency as well, and with Allen's contract (and possibly Greenway's) coming off of the books, they'll have plenty of money to spend on that front.
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