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Five questions with Vikings correspondent Judd Zulgad

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By Eric Edholm

Pro Football Weekly hits up PFW correspondent and Vikings beat writer Judd Zulgad on five hot issues surrounding the team.

PFW: A front-office source told PFW he believed that Jared Allen appeared worn down from the fact that Allen never really comes off the field. Is there any truth to that assertion?

Zulgad: Allen actually had a good game on Sunday against the Cowboys, credited with three quarterback hits and provided consistent pressure. The Vikings have been concerned about Allen wearing down in the past and went into this season hoping to limit his reps. The problem is that he's so stubborn that it's difficult to get him off the field. The Vikings will tell you that Allen is seeing numerous double-teams or is getting chipped on a consistent basis, but the bottom line is that he needs to get home far more than he has in getting one sack in the first five games. If that means getting him off the field more, Allen might have to adjust to that.

PFW: Tougher game emotionally for the Vikings — at Green Bay (Brett Favre's return again) or at New England (Randy Moss' return)?

Zulgad: The Green Bay game always has been one of the most emotional for the Vikings and that was before Favre started returning to Lambeau Field as a member of the Packers' archrival. This isn't even close. New England is an AFC game in which the Vikings will be underdogs and likely will be somewhat loose. The Packers game will have an added intensity and emotion to it.

PFW: Percy Harvin has been the best Vikings player the past two weeks. Has Moss' arrival been the biggest reason for him breaking out?

Zulgad: Moss' arrival has not only helped create more space for Harvin on the field — it's also enabled him to move back into the slot role more often — but it's clear Harvin wants to prove to Moss just how good a player he is. Harvin grew up idolizing Moss, and that means he wants to impress him at every turn. So far he has done a very good job, including the 95-yard kickoff return he had to start the second half on Sunday against the Cowboys.  

PFW: Do the players in the locker room seem to care or be affected by the Favre case with the league? The term "distraction" gets thrown around a lot; but is it one?

Zulgad: It sure doesn't seem like it. It might be a distraction to Favre, but the players seem to have rallied around him when asked about it and ignored the issue otherwise when asked about it. As long as Favre isn't suspended, his dealings with the league probably won't be considered that big of a deal inside Winter Park.

PFW: Who has been the most underrated contributor to the team through five games?

Zulgad: Chad Greenway, who is in the final season of his contract, has gotten off to a very solid start. Greenway leads the Vikings with 51 tackles and appears to be much improved in pass protection. There was a time that opposing tight ends seemed to have success against him, but that no longer seems to be the case. Greenway is quietly doing a very good job of getting himself a big payday at some point after this season.

 

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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