Randy from Portage, WI

Any thoughts to share on the gutsy fake punt by Clemson yesterday? It seemed like it led to a tight game becoming a blowout.

Clemson played with a lot of confidence. I think they knew they were the better team, and after they had the halftime to digest that feeling, they took control of the game in the second half. They didn’t need that fake punt. I’m disappointed Notre Dame wasn’t the opponent. I think that would’ve been the dream matchup of last night’s games.

Paul from Minneapolis, MN

Vic, be new, I dare you. Ditch the khakis.

I’m not throwing them out, but I like your challenge. I’m done buying khakis. I’m going to be new.

John from Fairbanks, AK

My wife and I read your column daily and I think we’re both enjoying Packers games more as a result. We escaped our own frozen tundra to meet our son, a Bengals fan, in Hawaii. Now he’s trying to tell us the Packers should fire Mike McCarthy and hire Chip Kelly. Please tell me that’s just a crazy Bengals fan and your inbox is free of such sentiment from Packers fans. Happy New Year!

I get the sense young fans view the hiring and firing of coaches as the most entertaining aspect of football. I think they would enjoy multiple hirings and firings throughout the season.

John from Logansport, IN

Vic, what did you think of the games last night? Happy New Year!

They disappointed me. The college product is hit and miss. It really underscores the quality of the NFL product. It was not lost on me yesterday that three of yesterday’s four playoff teams are from states that do not include an NFL team. There’s a statement in that about the power of the NFL. I hate bubble-screen football. It’s soft and cheesy. If I could have one job, it would be czar of college football. It could be easily fixed if it ran according to a singular vision.

Herb from Palm Desert, CA

Vic, you’re a run and bomb guy. I like that about you. What are your views on the Packers doing everything in their power to pound the ball and taking a few shots down the field, even if it means a deep jump ball and risking a turnover? Can this team sustain that for the rest of the season, however long that may be?

You can’t sell play-action to defenders that aren’t involved in run support. The Packers were beaten in Arizona by man coverage; those defenders didn’t even look into the backfield, they just covered their man. That’s why the Packers need to beat man coverage.

Kevin from Bangor, WI

What do you feel are the key components the Packers need to address to be a team that can make a serious run for another Super Bowl appearance?

They have to become so good at running the ball that all 11 defenders are required to stop it, or they have to win their one-on-ones in the passing game. The challenge and the fix are very obvious. When the Packers’ receivers get open, Aaron Rodgers is given time to throw and delivers the ball on time and accurately, and the ball is caught, the Packers offense will play at a championship level. If the coaches can find a way to scheme all of that, I’m all for it. Or the players could find a way to execute it, and I think that would be a more lasting and uplifting solution.

Vincent from Seattle, WA

Vic, in the decade of the sixties, what was your most memorable moment of NFL coverage on TV?

It was the Ice Bowl, followed by Super Bowl III. I think those were, by far, the most significant events of that decade.

Don from Riverton, UT

What’s the biggest contributor to your sports perspective?

It’s having played high school football. I wanted desperately to be good, but had to accept being irrelevant. It left me with an unfulfilled quest to make the game love me as much as I love it.

Matt from Rockbridge, WI

Vic, you’re in charge of FOX. The robot decision comes up. Keep it or get rid of the over-played, stupid transformer throwing a steel football. What do you do?

I do whatever the marketing department tells me to do, because they have the stats on the viewer demographics, and the customer is always right. Give the customer what the customer wants. FOX is very good at that.

Fred from Monroe, WI

My family drove 200 miles today to shovel snow at Lambeau. Whatever it takes! Just win, baby. Happy New Year!

I get the feeling you’re not a FOX robot fan. You feel the game, don’t you? You’re a romantic. Your quest will be much more rewarding.

Tim from Grimes, IA

Do you think Ty Montgomery’s ankle injury is the straw that broke the camel’s back?

Jordy Nelson’s knee injury was the first significant event of the 2015 season. Montgomery’s ankle injury might be the second. It appeared he was going to be the other threat the passing game needed.

Simon from Mountain View, CA

Vic, I’ve got a bold prediction for Sunday’s game. Adrian Peterson will carry more than 13 times.

You got that right. I guarantee Peterson is the dominant man in the Vikings’ game plan. They know from the Week-11 game what happens when Peterson is erased from the game plan. He will carry early and often, and beating the Vikings will be all about stopping Peterson. Expect greater resolve from the Vikings for getting Peterson to the second level.

Kevin from Herndon, VA

Don’t I remember you saying earlier in the year, “10 wins for wild card, 11 for division?”

If you wanna see the future, look into the past.

Tyler from Menomonie, WI

Junior Galette’s cap hit will cost the Saints $12.1 million in dead space in 2016. To make things worse, he was paid $12.5 million back in March. My question is do you remember when this column wasn’t about the salary cap anymore?

“Ask Vic” was created to help fans understand the Jaguars’ outrageous salary cap mess, which forced the team to re-structure every contract on the team in 2001 just to get under the cap. In the beginning, every question to “Ask Vic” was cap-related. Slowly the column grew in length, diversity and popularity. When the Jaguars finally dug out of their salary cap mess, the column had to evolve or die. When I came to the Packers, I didn’t have to write about the cap anymore because the Packers don’t play cap games. They act responsibly and with vision. That’s why Packers fans have a team on whom they can depend to be a division title and playoff contender. As long as this column isn’t answering questions about cap problems, everything about this team and its future is just fine.

David from Madison, WI

Machine men with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men!

It’s a game of the heart. Find big, fast, athletic men with hearts that love football and its human confrontation, and you’ll beat the robots and their plays.

Darren from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Who do you get the sense is going to step up these next couple of weeks?

Aaron Rodgers.

Frank from Weston, WI

You seem like a guy who has seen some hard times. Is this where your calm, even-keel demeanor comes from?

I have never known hard times. Luck has followed me through life. I had a draft lottery number of 15, but when I was only a few months from being drafted and sent to Vietnam, Nixon ended the draft. I came out of college and stepped into a dream job covering a team that won four Super Bowls in six years. I’ve never worked a day in my life, and I’ve never known the pain of being unemployed. Peace and prosperity have been my steady companions, but I come from a town where I saw others’ hard times. I was raised by my hometown. It taught me about life without having to live it.

Paul from Neenah, WI

Vic, can you provide a player on offense and defense who have exceeded expectations this season?

Damarious Randall has played above the expectations for a rookie cornerback. By comparison, Josh Norman is the hottest corner in the game, but it didn’t happen for him right away. On offense, JC Tretter began the year as a backup, but Corey Linsley’s ankle injury gave Tretter a chance to prove he’s worthy of a starting job, and he did. Happy New Year, everyone.


HAVE A QUESTION FOR VIC?