We have already established with pretty good detail that Rick Spielman’s decision to release veteran cornerback, and locker room leader, Antoine Winfield was not a popular one when it came to the fan base.
As it turns out, according to NFL Network‘s Ian Rappaport, the move did not sit well with some “Vikings people” within Winter Park either.
One person told Rappaport that “It’s a move backwards” and he says some “aren’t thrilled” with Spielman’s decision.
I feel like I’ve already beat this topic to death, but I would still like to note that as of Thursday afternoon right tackles Sebastian Vollmer and Andre Smith remain unsigned, which is significant because the decision to break their budget for Phil Loadholt was cited as a reason for Winfield’s abrupt departure. In fact, other decent offensive tackles are currently available such as Jake Long and Eric Winston, not to mention the many options available in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Rick Spielman has a reputation in Minnesota for letting the market establish itself before making hasty, big-money decisions so it was surprising to see him cave to Loadholt’s demands even if the player was threatening to join the division rival Chicago Bears.
However, recent events are making me wonder if Spielman isn’t overvaluing the players he has had a hand in bringing to Minnesota. The most recent evidence of this is that the Vikings quickly snatched receiver Jerome Simpson to a one year deal worth $2.1 million. Not only is that a raise from his 2012 salary of $2 million, but Spielman gave Simpson a $500,000 signing bonus, and a $250,000 workout bonus, according to 1500 ESPN. The Vikings are betting on Simpson staying healthy (he did pass his physical) and producing far more significantly than he did last season.
Simpson’s pay day comes despite the fact that he never produced more than 50 receiving yards in any game last season and has caught the same amount of touchdown passes from Christian Ponder as I have: zero.
It is not a huge surprise that fans aren’t a fan of Rick Spielman’s approach to free agency, as he is usually going to shy away from the splashy instant gratification moves that fans love to see, but his decision to cut Winfield is putting everything else he does under a microscope and doing the math to see just why exactly his plan had to involve that questionable decision.
And, according to Rappaport’s report, some within Winter Park are looking pretty closely themselves.