"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F during the football season.
Tiffany from Freedom, WI
What brings you joy?
Aside from family, health and peace, friendship has been a constant joy throughout my life. I love to be in the company of friends. I love receiving a text or a phone call from a friend, and when it's from an old friend with whom I haven't communicated in a long time, it feels especially good. I miss the press box because I miss the friends I had there. This column is my new press box and the people who come here are my friends.
Dustin from Seymour, WI
What will it take for the Packers to earn a win against the Eagles, Seahawks or Saints?
I feel strongly the Packers will be hosting the Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs. The weather forecast for that weekend is currently for 30ish temperatures; that wouldn't create a significant homefield advantage for the Packers. The Packers will have to rush the passer and stop the pass to beat the Saints. I think the Packers will need to make it a low-scoring game, something in the 20s, because I believe shootouts favor the Saints. The Packers' pass rush was kind of weak against the Lions. I hope it hasn't decided it's done enough. The Smith Bros. need to be the driving force they were throughout the season.
Norma-Gene from Rolla, MO
Please elaborate on the "All Aboard!" comment you gave the Za'Darius Smith question. You have commented the Packers are good stewards of their cap. Do you still support your statement or do you fear the train whistle?
"All Aboard!" means the train is leaving the station, which is what will happen should the Packers execute more restructuring. By the time you hear the whistle, it's too late. Get out of the car and run.
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
How does Jonathan Taylor not get the ball more in the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl?
It was a good game. Wisconsin played well. The Badgers have a good football program, they play to the strength of their brand and their fans should be pleased by the team's performance in the Rose Bowl.
Dan from Milwaukee, WI
Would you agree the Lions need to move on from Matthew Stafford and his cap hit if they ever want to win? This would be a really good year to draft his replacement.
I see nothing about the Lions' roster that excites me. Nearly all of the Lions' arrows appear to be pointing south. They were No. 31 in defense, No. 21 against the run, No. 32 against the pass and No. 21 in rushing. The only thing they did well was throw the football -- they were No. 10 -- but Stafford is at the age when players begin breaking down physically. As I look at the NFC North, I see a division in decline. The Bears are without a first-round pick and a franchise quarterback. The Vikings are capped out and looking kind of ordinary. I get the sense the Packers will continue to dominate the division.
Matthew from Battle Ground, WA
I have always wondered why there has not been a group of star players who would be willing to take less money from the team to play together as a group and make their own brand, like the Purple People Eaters, Steel Curtain, Legion of Boom, etc., then those players market their brand and make big dollars off the merchandising and endorsements their brand produces. This would allow a group of dominant players to win multiple Super Bowl titles together, which is the only way you get to be immortalized in this game and still make the big bucks and not hurt the team's budget?
You're describing the Steelers of the '70's perfectly. The WFL raided the Dolphins (Csonka, Kiick, Warfield) and tried to do the same to the Steelers, but Joe Greene held that team together. Joe's sales pitch was, "We can achieve immortality." His teammates believed in him, rejected the money the WFL was offering, and together they achieved immortality and all of the riches that went with it. They sold everything from Coke to beer to tires and LectricShave. Jack Lambert starred in what is now a series of legendary TV commercials featuring rides at iconic local amusement park Kennywood, which is famous for one of the all-time great roller coasters, the Thunderbolt. What makes it so great? It's built on the side of a cliff and its first move is down. If you're not ready for it, it's a heart-stopper.
Justin from Eustis, FL
How much does money come into play when owners decide to change coaches and general managers? I know their salary doesn't count against the cap, but it does affect the bottom line when they pay a coach that isn't coaching anymore.
Usually, when a team fires a coach and he's hired by another team, the firing team owes the coach the difference in the two salaries. Suffice to say, the Panthers are very happy Ron Rivera has found a new job. Yeah, it's a drain on a team's bottom line when the guys they've fired decide to go fishing.
Clarence from Columbia, SC
What is your suggested solution to dealing with USC's football situation?
Allow me to get something off my chest. USC is a national brand that belongs to Southern Cal. Also, Carolina is a brand that is perceived nationally to belong to North Carolina. I think the first thing South Carolina needs to do is to develop a more distinctive brand. Also, get rid of the cock a doodle doo recording they play at football games, and tell the band to stop playing that stupid little tune they play on third down. The whole gameday experience needs to be blown up. It's tired and weak. Otherwise, stay the course. Will Muschamp is recruiting well and I think better days are ahead. There's not much else that can be done until Clemson experiences a downturn in its program. Very few states have the talent to support two top programs simultaneously. Even Florida can't do it anymore.
Ben from Hilo, HI
Was it a mistake for the Big Ten to add Maryland and Rutgers?
Maybe, but not as big of a mistake as it was adding Nebraska. The Big Ten got nothing from Nebraska: no TV market, no recruiting territory and shortly after admitting Nebraska the school lost its AAU accreditation, making it the only school in the Big Ten that isn't an AAU member.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, would you please consider providing an all-important "Vic's Picks" for the weekend playoff games?
I like the Seahawks over the Eagles, the Saints in a hammer job over the Vikings, the Texans over the Bills and the Titans over the Patriots.
Brad from Driggs, ID
If the Packers/GM Vic extend Aaron Jones this offseason and look for other worthy candidates, would GM Vic give Jamaal Williams an extension this offseason before he becomes a free agent in 2021?
In the salary cap era, it's Taylor or Hornung, not both.
Justin from Waukesha, WI
The Haslams are as foolish as the Fords and Snyders. Relieve these poor franchises of their useless and moronic ownerships.
Those people have so much money they feel no need to spend it wisely. Art Rooney bought the Steelers franchise for $3,200. The Jaguars owner has a $120 million boat parked out back.
Gerritt from Porto (wherever that is)
Isn't the fact McCarthy very rarely utilized Aaron Jones in a manner befitting his talent a bit of a problem for his upcoming job interviews?
No. The player McCarthy inherited in the 2017 draft couldn't block a toilet seat and was an inconsistent and unreliable performer. Two years later, Jones is the player he is largely because McCarthy developed his talents.
Pat from Seneca, SC
Which of the teams playing this weekend do you think has the best chance of winning it all?
The Saints. In their perfect world, the Seahawks will do the dirty work of beating the 49ers and that would allow the Saints to host the NFC title game. I'm going to keep an eye on that weather forecast.
Dave from Chippewa Falls, WI
A lot of people are talking about the Pats being at the end of the line, that the Titans are ready to take them out. There is also the talk about not counting them out. Do you remember this tipping point time with the 70's Steelers?
I remember it well. It was a game in Tampa in 1980. It was obvious the Steelers were no longer dominant, but they were winning games because they were the Pittsburgh Steelers. I remember writing "mystiques die hard." In that game in Tampa, Doug Williams was driving the Bucs toward a game-tying field goal when he inexplicably threw the ball away to stop the clock on fourth down. It happens that way for teams that can't seem to lose. Then, all of a sudden, they can't seem to win anymore.
William from Reading, UK
Would you agree Coach McCarthy is the pick of the bunch for the Browns HC job? What do you think he will add, change to that franchise?
My inbox is full of interest and concern for Mike McCarthy. Where was all this love and respect for him when yinze dumped on him in his final years with the Packers?
Scott from Hamlin, NY
Your power rankings say the Dolphins' arrow is pointing straight up. Do you believe they'll find the QB they're looking for in the draft?
They shouldn't force it. They should draft the best available players and allow fate to find their quarterback. Fate is the best drafter.
Mikey from Tallahassee, FL
Are you a New Year's resolution type of person? What's the goal for this coming year?
I have no goals. I have enough and I am enough.