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Minnesota Vikings mailbag; Defensive problems can be blamed on all parts

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I received a few questions about the Minnesota Vikings through Twitter, Facebook and email. I will answer those questions in this article.

If you have a question about the Vikings, submit it on Twitter to my handle (@JGuntherExaminr), on Facebook or email it to me through the contact link in my profile.

The Vikings defense is bad. There is no question about that, but who is to blame? Where does the problem lie?

The problem with the Vikings defense lies at all three levels and the coaching staff. The play calling has put the players in positions to fail at the end of games. The defensive line has really struggled to get a pass rush this season. The linebackers are getting out of position and has missed too many tackles. The defensive backs have not been very good at covering receivers - whether that is in zone or man coverage has not mattered.

What is Erin Henderson's problem? Why has he struggled so much in the middle?

He has the physical skills to be effective in the middle. The problem must be mental. Why exactly? I don't know.

The Vikings need a quarterback, but would tanking the rest of the season be beneficial to get the best one?

I never condone tanking. Yes, losing the rest of the games would give them a better chance at getting the No. 1 overall pick, but having the first pick does not guarantee success.

As it currently stands right now, the Vikings would select third, fourth or fifth depending on the strength of schedule against the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons. The teams that plays the weakest schedule picks third and the team with the most difficult schedule picks fifth.

However, the depth of quality quarterbacks in this draft goes into the second and third round. The Vikings may be better off selecting one of the pass rushers or defensive tackles and grabbing a quarterback in the second round, or trading back into the end of the first round if necessary.

The Vikings are not seriously considering keeping Christian Ponder as the starting quarterback next season. Who are the options to start next season?

He has played well the last couple games, but it is too late. The Vikings need to move on. He has not been consistent enough to call him the quarterback of the future. Are considering him the starter next season? Maybe, but I do think the starter beyond next year is definitely in college right now.

As far as the options for next season, the three on the current roster - Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman - are in play. The top free agents are Jay Cutler and Michael Vick. If released, Matt Schaub could be in the that conversation, as well.

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