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Five questions with Vikings correspondent Judd Zulgad

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By Eric Edholm

Pro Football Weekly hits up Vikings beat writer Judd Zulgad for all the latest happenings each week with the team.

PFW: Who has been the team's defensive MVP to date?

Zulgad: LB Chad Greenway has led the Vikings in tackles in each game this season and has been credited with 29 by the team's defensive coaches. Greenway is an every-down player — either E.J. Henderson or Ben Leber comes off in the nickel — and has improved his pass-coverage skills in recent seasons. In the final season of his rookie contract, Greenway is in line for a lucrative deal and has become an anchor for this defense.

PFW: Is it time for the Vikings to consider benching ORT Phil Loadholt?

Zulgad: Loadholt had a solid, but not spectacular, rookie season. It appears as if opponents went to school on him in the film room, however, and he has had issues in pass protection. The problem is, if the Vikings bench Loadholt where would they turn? Ryan Cook is the top backup at all five positions but he currently is subbing for the injured John Sullivan (calf) at center. Cook was the Vikings' starting right tackle two years ago and lost that job, so giving it back to him would be a curious move. The Vikings almost certainly will allow Loadholt to play through this rough stretch.

PFW: Where does Adrian Peterson's 80-yard TD rank among his best runs?  

Zulgad: The longest run of Peterson's career was impressive, in large part because he shifted into a gear that simply wasn't there for much of last season. But for the pure "wow" factor, that run only ranks in his top five. No. 1 might be Peterson's 64-yard touchdown run in the 2009 regular-season opener at Cleveland when he ran left, stopped long enough at the Browns' 42-yard line to shake off three tacklers, shoving two of them away (Browns CB Eric Wright still might not be completely recovered), and then resumed his gallop to the endzone.

PFW: Will most of the players be near the facility during the bye?

Zulgad: QB Brett Favre said he is staying in town until Friday and will be studying film. TE Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring) and C John Sullivan (calf) are among the players getting treatment for injuries at Winter Park. But the bye provides many of the players with a chance to get away, either returning home or staying in Minneapolis-St. Paul and just enjoying some time off. Favre did say he would welcome any offensive teammates who wanted to watch film with him and try to get the passing game back on track. Favre said much of the work needs to be done in meeting rooms, where things can be discussed.

PFW: Now that the Vincent Jackson trade has fallen through, might the team explore other options before the trade deadline?

Zulgad: It doesn't seem like it at this point. The Vikings signed WR Hank Baskett last week after he was released by Philadelphia, and while he certainly isn't Vincent Jackson, Baskett (6-foot-4) does provide Favre with a big target. This doesn't mean something won't spark up as the deadline nears, but no one should count on that happening.

 

Judd Zulgad covers the Vikings for the Star Tribune and Pro Football Weekly. Be sure to check out his Access Vikings blog on the Star Tribune's Web site and follow him on Twitter @JuddZulgad.

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