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:
January 20-25 - Senior Bowl
January 26 - Pro Bowl
February 17 - First day of franchise / transition player designation
February 19-25 - Scouting Combine
March 11 - Free Agency begins
March 23 - Owner's Meeting
April 7 - Off-season workouts begin for teams with new HC
April 17 - 2014 Schedule Released
April 21 - Off-season workouts begin for teams with returning HC
May 2 - Deadline for RFAs to sign offers
May 8-10 - NFL Draft
Well, with only a little more than 48 hours until the 2012 NFL Draft is underway, I decided to pull the plug on any last minute changes to my 2012 Mock Draft a little early and call for a final version right now.
My final mock draft of the year is two rounds deep and can be viewed right here.
My top three picks have stayed exactly the same since I posted my first version on January 10th. Andrew Luck, RGIII, and then Matt Kalil to the Vikings. I still think there is a very good chance that Rick Spielman attempts a coup and trades back from the three spot, but the mock does not account for trades… or else things would get way too messy.
In the second round, I eschewed the stereotypical need based pick of a receiver or secondary talent and instead went with a guy I felt was clearly the best player available. Here is a hint: It’s a defensive tackle.
I know defensive tackle isn’t the biggest need on this roster, but it also isn’t the most solid position on this team either, and I just couldn’t pass up this particular prospect when the mock worked out the way it did.
Anyways, here is the link again, check it out… scrutinize it… and then come back on Thursday and Friday to laugh at how horribly wrong my mock was.
Let’s assume for a second that Rick Spielman is full of you-know-what and has had his sights on Matt Kalil since December. So, why not just come out and say so?
If this is the case, then Spielman deserves a lot of credit for successfully generating a trade market for the third overall selection despite the presumed absence of the two premier passers in this class. If he manages to finagle a trade back and still land Kalil, then the guy is going to look like a freaking genius and many of us are going to have a whole ton of crow to eat after doubting the guy all offseason long.
So, with Andrew Luck and RGIII already off the board, what kind of trade interest might the Vikings get when they pick up their phones in the war room? Let’s take a look.
The Vikings are, for a lack of a better phrase, blitzing the media with the contention that they are undecided as to whom they will select if they keep the third overall selection.
After weeks of Rick Spielman using the media to confuse anyone that knows how to read Head Coach Leslie Frazier has jumped into the action and is also putting forth the notion that the Vikings can justify passing on USC left tackle Matt Kalil.
“You’ve got to really weigh your options,” Frazier said in a recent interview. “Because the philosophy [in the NFL] has always been to get the game-changer. And left tackle is not necessarily the game-changer. Usually game-changers are the guys who can score you points. Receivers. Quarterbacks. So what are we measuring that left tackle against? It’s a loaded debate.”
See, and here is where I either imply that I think this is either all “smoke” or imply that I think the regime running this team is full of idiots.
It is not a loaded debate.
This is not about positional importance. It never should have been, and it certainly shouldn’t be now. This is about selecting the best player for your team, the prospect that your thousands of scouting hours, that you have bought and paid for, tells you is the best football player for your team.
It is that damn simple.
Spielman wants to insist that Matt Kalil, Justin Blackmon, and Morris Claiborne all have been given the exact same grades by the Vikings front office. As someone that has seen what real scouting reports (not the kind you find on the internet) look like, I find it very, very hard to believe that these three players have the exact same grade.
The reports are far too detailed, far too personalized to get me to believe the process has identified no differences between three very different individuals.
The decision to pursue free agent receiver Jerome Simpson is a curious one for a team that has plenty of image issues like the Vikings. Even more curious, is the decision to make their interest known during the week in which their image may never be more important to their future.
“I’m not going to go into whether we’re going to sign him or not,” Rick Spielman told 1500 ESPN.
Spielman did, however, make a point of explaining how deep they are digging to see if Simpson might be worth the risk after the recent debacle that landed him 15 days in jail for a drug related felony.
“We’re in that process right now of just going through the discussion and how we feel. But I can tell you — not just in his case, any case — if there’s a guy that has a character concern, we’re going to do everything we can to turn every stone over. You wouldn’t believe how deep we went into the calls to different people that aren’t even involved with football to make sure that we felt very comfortable bringing him in here for this visit.”
Spielman also said that he and his team did plenty of research prior to even deciding to bring Simpson in for a visit.
“There was a lot of research done before he came in on his visit,” Spielman said. “I think from our ownership on down, after we’ve gathered all our information and talked to numerous people in all walks of his life (about) what type of character kid he is and what happened and why he got put in that situation and listening to him (Saturday) talk to all the people at our organization … if we do sign or we do decide to sign a Jerome Simpson, it’s going to be something that we felt comfortable enough with to bring into this organization, to give him a chance here.”
Simpson left Minnesota on Sunday without a contract.
If you read our comments section and have done so recently, you have surely noticed that a new Vikings site called Vikings Draft Card has a very staunch supporter (highly unlikely to be the writer of the site, right? Right.) that loves dumping links from that site onto ours.
The site appears to have just been started this month and, by all appearances, has a main purpose of persuading Vikings fans that Matt Kalil is not worth being drafted in the three spot that the Vikings currently hold and should instead draft Morris Claiborne. I am all about opposing views and going against the grain, so I really do recommend checking out the site. However, we won’t be adding them to our blogroll until/unless the site owner decides to put his or her name (or any name) to the words they write.
Still, I have to give that site credit (and the person posting links in our comments section) for pointing us towards a report coming out of Green Bay that essentially leaks Wonderlic scores of a number of top prospects in this Draft class.
Much has been made of the reports that Claiborne scored an astonishingly low Wonderlic grade of “4” which would assuredly rank him amongst the lowest scores ever. Even Vince Young did better.
However, the latest leaks suggest that maybe Kalil isn’t the brightest bulb on the tree either.
The score is lowest amongst the reported scores for offensive tackles, and second lowest of all offensive linemen reported on. He scored 11 points less than the average score for offensive tackles, but is still 11 points ahead of Claiborne’s score which can allegedly be written off to a learning disability.
So, there you have it, some evidence that might suggest the Vikings should pass on the USC left tackle that yours truly rates as the second best player (yes, including quarterbacks) in this class. For me, this just more evidence that the Vikings instead should take any trade offers very seriously.
A Wonderlic score may or may not be any sort of indicator of a prospect’s future as a football player, but I still think the Vikings must take Kalil if they remain at the three spot.
Jerome Simpson’s visit with the Minnesota Vikings apparently went “incredibly well” and the Vikings are still in the process of doing their due diligence regarding his felony conviction, 15 day jail sentence, and probable league-imposed suspension.
The Rams have also expressed some interest in Simpson and the Bengals are reportedly still open to seeing him return, but Simpson has been a pretty toxic free agent following the incident involving drugs being delivered to his home. Some are questioning the wisdom of even entertaining the idea publically of bringing in a felon when the stadium situation in Minnesota seems to be at the tipping point.
Simpson left Minnesota on Sunday without a deal in place, according to the Pioneer Press. The Vikings presumably want to know exactly what kind of suspension Simpson is facing, and possibly waiting until after the stadium situation has (hopefully) been solved, before signing the athletic receiver.
With a suspension almost certain, it will be interesting to see what type of contract Simpson gets on the open market this offseason.