Doug from St. Louis, MO

Will the new south end zone seats be completed for opening day at Lambeau?

Yes, the south end zone construction will be completed for the start of the season, beginning with the preseason opener. When I come back from vacation, something always strikes me as having changed while I was gone. When we drove back into town this past weekend, the first change I noticed is that a big “G” had been mounted on the back of the south end zone construction. That told me the construction had reached its final phase. It’s amazing what that “G” does for the place. All of a sudden, Lambeau Field looks done, and it looks great. The new construction is seamless. Lambeau Field has never looked better.

Troy from Woodland, CA

Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham says injuries to quarterbacks will put an end to the read-option offense. “The problem is for those quarterbacks, one of these days, one of them is not going to walk off. It’s a lot of pressure on him to physically do that.”

I think everyone would agree with Coach Cunningham. The issue is disposability. Since there’s such a glut of “spread” quarterbacks in college football, are they more easily replaced? I think that’s the issue. If yes is the answer to that question, then the read option will devalue the quarterback position and that’ll give all of the read-option teams a salary cap advantage. I think the answer to that question, however, is going to be no. Colin Kaepernick is a huge talent that wouldn’t be easily replaced.

Bart from Sanibel, FL

Welcome back, Vic. I read the comments made recently by Gary Knaflec about how the NFL and the players union do next to nothing for players of his generation. A lot of the comments people left under the article were critical, saying they chose to play a dangerous game, the NFL owes them nothing, etc.

I’m sure everyone that reads this column knows how I feel about the old guys. I’d not only like to see them get more help from the league and the players union, I’d like to see them get more respect from the fans. The old guys have my respect and they have my love, too.

Eric from Amherst Junction, WI

Vic, coming off a vacation myself, I was wondering what your favorite part of going back to work was?

This column is my favorite part of going back to work. I enjoy “talking” to the fans. I enjoy reading their questions, giving thought to their point of view and then sharing mine with them. “Ask Vic” is a big part of my life.

Roger from Ithaca, NY

In what ways does the Packers organization differ from the other NFL organizations with which you’ve worked?

It certainly has more tradition and history than the Jaguars, and it’s more button down than the Steelers. The better answer to your question, however, is that teams don’t differ much from each other. They basically have the same infrastructure, they pick from the same pool of players and their fans react the same way to winning and losing.

Chris from Voorhout, the Netherlands

Vic, for those of us international fans who have never managed to visit Green Bay, what is the town like?

That’s a question I would’ve never been able to answer had I not lived here. For all the years I came to Green Bay to cover football games, I didn’t have a clue what the town was like because I never saw it. We’d stay in Appleton, then get on a bus and drive across a lot of farm land before, all of a sudden, a football stadium would appear. I used to think to myself where’s the town? Now I live here and I know where the town is because I live in it. That’s the great thing about Green Bay: You can live in it without having to ride an elevator to your front door or park your car on the street or ride a subway. I live a few miles from Lambeau Field and I can go to work in the morning any time I want and not have to worry about traffic backing up at a tunnel entrance, as was the case in Pittsburgh. Life is good in Green Bay. If the weather wasn’t so awful, everybody would live here.

Joshua from Groton, CT

Vic, three of the top 10 players voted on by their peers are from the NFC North. Does this tell you anything about how talented that division is?

Mostly, your question tells me how different Packers fans are from other fans in their regard for divisional pride. I get questions all the time wanting my opinion on the strength of the NFC North. In Jacksonville, I’d get questions about the strength of the SEC. Packers fans have a college-like fascination for conference pride. I’m OK with it, I just don’t feel it. My interest is in the Packers, not the Bears, Lions and Vikings. Yes, the NFC North is strong. What can I say that’ll satisfy everyone? The NFC North is the strongest division in the NFL. When the great division ranker in the sky issues his final division rankings, he will say the NFC North is the greatest division in the history of man. I’m sorry, I still don’t feel it.

Carl from Washington, D.C.

Hey, Mike, I just wanted to say it’s nice that you give soccer more respect than Vic does, but I really think people overlook the sport. It takes strategy, skill, precision, speed, endurance, strength and a whole lot of quick thinking and creativity. Vic admires football for its smash-mouth qualities, but I think he needs to give soccer a real chance. Like you said, even you enjoyed it in your time in Spain.

I read that. It disappointed me.

Josh from Caledonia, WI

Welcome back, Vic. Do you think, perhaps, one of the reasons Tavon Austin was taken so highly is his rare ability for after the catch? You mentioned catch-and-fall down guys are a dime a dozen. He’ll be exciting to watch.

That’s exactly why Austin was selected with the eighth overall pick. It’s a different game than the one I grew up covering. This is an open-space game; it’s a game that favors players of Austin’s ability, just as it’s favored Darren Sproles. Sproles, however, was selected in the fourth round of the draft. I am fully respectful of Austin’s talent; I’m just not sold on taking a guy that small that high. I can’t help but think it’s a desperate attempt to get Sam Bradford to the level expected of a first-pick-of-the-draft quarterback. Maybe it will.

Nick from Cambridge, MN

The talk of switching to an 18-game schedule has been quiet lately. Do you think that if this does happen the league will start having some expansion teams again?

I don’t think expansion is in the foreseeable future. I think we’re headed for franchise relocation, but not expansion. The commissioner favors an 18-game season; the players don’t. I think the commissioner will eventually sell his idea of an 18-game season and the likely trade-off will be more game-softening, player-safety measures.

Justin from St. Louis, MO

Why do Packers players usually not get in trouble? Is it the atmosphere or what?

The Packers pay attention to the red flags.

Daniel from Copenhagen, Denmark

Mike, you can’t just mention the ’93 World Cup qualifier between Denmark and Spain and then leave. It was a scandalous match equal to the “Fail Mary” game, where Denmark as ruling Euro champs were robbed of the ’94 World Cup in the U.S.

Mike is gone and there will be no further mention of the 1993 World Cup qualifier between Denmark and Spain.

Brian from Stantonsburg, NC

Hey, Vic, I hope you had a great vacation. When big news stories occur when you’re away from your job (such as the Aaron Hernandez case and Rodgers getting ranked No. 6), do you follow those stories closely, or do you try to stay away from work-related events? What is your take on both of those stories?

I read on them. The Hernandez story is big news; Rodgers being rated No. 6 is a non-event for me. I think everyone knows how I feel about rankings and stats. Here’s what I know about Rodgers: If there was a draft of NFL players today, he’d be the first pick. That tells you all you need to know about who’s No. 1. With all due respect to Adrian Peterson, however, I have no problem with his No. 1 ranking because I love to watch him play. I am in awe of what he did last season. When I first heard about the Hernandez story, I shook my head and thought to myself, “When are these ‘Dead Zone’ problems going to end?” It’s why I don’t understand why everyone is in such a rush to sign rookies to contracts. Keep them poor and in the facility right up to training camp. It gives you a chance to “infect” the player with your way of doing things. It gives you a chance to help him avoid the pitfalls of the “Dead Zone.” Hernandez, of course, is not a rookie, which makes me wonder how he might’ve benefitted from the offseason schedule being pushed back this year, as it’s supposed to be next year. Money and idle time are a bad combination.

Greg from Bellevue, WA

Before you left, your video stated that all the divisions were tough. With that said, often times it’s matchups that favor one opponent over another. What division (or divisions) do you think the 2013 Packers best match up against?

I think the Packers would match up well with the NFC South, which is led by the Falcons and Saints, both of whom are dome teams with up-tempo offenses and struggling defenses. The 49ers and Giants have been problem teams for the Packers, and I think most people would agree those teams have overmatched the Packers up front. I think that could change. We’ll see.

Corey from Whitehall, PA

Who are some teams that are being overlooked that you feel can be a top-five team?

I don’t think any team in the NFC is being overlooked. The Rams? They played the 49ers off their feet. The Cardinals? Now they have a quarterback. The AFC has some teams for whom expectations are limited. The Chiefs are in rebuilding, but I can’t help but wonder what a new regime and stability at quarterback might do for them. Don’t forget, they dealt the Packers their only loss in 2011. The Raiders are in a similar situation. The NFL, in my opinion, has achieved true parity. Nothing would surprise me.

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