Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman held a pre-Draft press conference Tuesday and he touched on a number of hot topics.
The whole thing can be viewed by clicking here.
I have watched it a few times now, and here are my notes:
- Spielman seems to be embracing the role of General Manager. He has always been pretty well spoken and dressed well, but every good manager knows to give credit where credit is due and Spielman did a nice job of acknowledging the tireless efforts of Scott Studwell, all of his scouts, his assistant, Eric Sugarman, to all medical and training personnel, and all the coaching staff. It didn’t even look like he had to refer to note cards, so that is pretty impressive.
- Spielman described himself as “very open” to trade possibilities. He said that things on that front have really “heated up” since the weekend ended and he suspects that things will continue in that direction all the way up until his team is on the clock and he has to make a decision.
- He believes that the Vikings could move back “X” number of spots and still grab an impact player. Predictably, however, he did not tell us what “X” equals. Later, he did admit that there could possibly be a deal so sweet for the future of the organization that he would consider moving out of the “blue chip zone.” “Never say never,” he said about this possibility.
- In regards to trading prior to being on the clock, Spielman sounded like it would have to be a heck of an offer to get him to do that. Instead, he suspects any trade involving the third pick would happen while on the clock. He says he thinks patience is the best strategy in maximizing trade potential.
- Spielman initially said he has received “a lot” of calls regarding a trade possibility. After a sly smile and a sudden need to drink some water, Spielman back pedaled faster than any of his current safeties can.
- Spielman said any trade on Draft Weekend is highly unlikely to involve either outgoing or incoming players, and will instead revolve solely around draft picks.
- In describing Justin Blackmon, Matt Kalil, and Morris Claiborne he was very complimentary of each and did not rule out any of them. “There are no negatives,” Spielman said about the skill set each of these guys brings to the table.
- Spielman dismissed the notion that the Vikings are simply a Cover-2 defense. “That’s not the case,” he said. Spielman went on to say that they play a lot of Cover-3 and could also be employing more Cover-1 in the future. Leslie Frazier has acknowledged this notion, too, in the recent past.
- Spielman was told everyone thinks he would be crazy if he passed on a left tackle like Matt Kalil. “Maybe I am,” Spielman replied. He once again insisted that Blackmon, Kalil and Claiborne have all been given “exactly the same grade.” He thinks each of these guys can have immediate impact.
- Spielman said any needs left unfilled after the Draft could still potentially be filled in free agency. However, he did say that right now their full attention is on the Draft and not on free agency, despite news having already broken that the Vikings have agreed to terms with wide out Jerome Simpson. He did acknowledge that the Vikings are hoping Simpson becomes a “success story.”
- Spielman said Simpson remembered joining the Vikings for their Top 30 Event as a prospect back in 2008. He thinks that event helps build a relationship with players and even if they aren’t picked up by the Vikings, it can help them break the ice if they become available in free agency.
- Spielman joked and laughed when asked if the Vikings take part in the pre-Draft smokescreens that have become so prevalent in the modern NFL. “No, never. We would never do that,” he said laughing. “We are very truthful when we sit up here and talk to you about the Draft.”
- Spielman admitted this is his first Draft with the Vikings where he will get the final decision if it comes down to it. He did, however, say that he is not feeling a great deal of pressure and is “excited” about this Draft.
- Spielman did essentially rule out the quarterback and running back positions with the third overall selection. This kind of surprised me a bit, not because it is unreasonable, but because Spielman seems to embrace the notion of other teams regarding him as crazy.
- Spielman said he is “confident” that there is enough depth of talent in the top 100 players of this Draft that he would possibly feel comfortable dropping back in each round to pick up extra picks while also getting a solid prospect. Although, he also didn’t rule out the possibility of jumping back up into the first round.