Thursday, October 27, 2016

Will Spielman break his first-round tendencies?

Spielman trading up
Image courtesy of

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, more often called “Trader Rick” this time of the year, is a genius at the negotiating table. When it comes to the NFL Draft and accumulating picks, no one does it better.

Between 2012 and 2014, Spielman selected a league-recorded seven players, and between 2011 and 2014, he successfully executed 15 trades involving 39 picks and the exchange of five veterans, per Mark Craig.

The general manager famously fleeced the Cleveland Browns in 2012, swapping the third overall pick for the fourth overall pick and three additional selections that year. The result? Minnesota ended up with current left tackle Matt Kalil and the Browns landed one of the draft’s biggest running back busts in Trent Richardson. And in 2013, the Vikings drafted three players in the first round, even after giving up four selections to acquire Cordarrelle Patterson.

Rick Spielman’s NFL Draft Tendencies, by Ryan Boser 

Some may argue that trade was a flop, but Patterson’s had his moments in Minnesota and will get one more chance to prove himself in 2016. Even with that massive transaction, Spielman has been conservative, especially over the last two drafts. In 2014, he selected Anthony Barr and Teddy Bridgewater in the first round, and the following year, came away with just one selection in Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes.

Spielman doesn’t always stick to the script, though. According to Vikings Journal, Sharrif Floyd was only one of seven first round draft picks taken in Minnesota’s original slot. It’s clear that Spielman will move down and trade his way out of picks, but he rarely trades up. When Spielman does move up, it’s almost always to get back into the first round, as he did in 2012, 2013, and most recently in 2014 with Bridgewater.

by -

A popular, sensible choice (if available)

the Josh Doctson show
Image courtesy of

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer loves hands-on coaching. He’ll routinely step on the field with his own players, walking them through drills and sometimes, participating side-by-side with defensive backs and defensive tackles. In his two years at the helm, Zimmer’s style hasn’t changed; his son, Adam, commented on his father’s approach before the start of the 2014 season:

“He’s a perfectionist. He wants to get things exactly the way he wants it and in order to do that, he has to know everything that everybody’s doing.”

In order to get things just right, Zimmer has to get his hands dirty. At last year’s rookie minicamp, he made it a point to coach up Trae Waynes after every whistle, helping the rookie through his footwork, hand placement, and grabbiness. It’s a practice that’s familiar to Zimmer, and one that ensures he has an intimate understanding of his players’ strengths and weaknesses.

by -
image courtesy of


2016 will be Cordarrelle Patterson’s make or break year as a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings as Head Coach Mike Zimmer pointed out at a recent NFL owners meeting.

“If he wants to be something other than just a returner, this is the year he has to do it. If he wants to be a NFL wide receiver, this is the time,” Zimmer said. “A lot of guys grow up slower than others, at different times, in different stages. Guys kind of blossom in their third or fourth year. I don’t know if it’s going to happen — I hope it does, for our sake. I’m not trying to make excuses for him, but he wasn’t at Tennessee very long. There’s a lot of factors: I don’t think he was quite really ready when he came in the NFL. You’re always hoping — because he has the talent to do it. But there’s guys that do and guys that don’t. Right now, he’s right on the fence.”

Last offseason, Patterson opted not to do extra training when he had the opportunity to work with and be mentored by a Hall of Fame wide receiver. Consequently, his 2015 season was a huge disappointment after being relegated to only kick return duties. The former first-round pick caught only two balls on just two targeted attempts all season. This offseason, Patterson is taking his craft more seriously by working out with quarterback guru and route-running coach Steve Calhoun of Orange County California.

by -

With Vikings Nation eager to draft Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell or TCU’s Josh Doctson on day one of the draft, an exciting mid-round talent like California’s leading receiver Kenny Lawler has quietly stayed below the surface of the draft hype and speculation around Winter Park. Lawler has been a touchdown making machine for Jared Goff and he also joins his record-setting quarterback as juniors making the jump to the NFL.

Kenny Lawler | Wide Receiver, California


Height – 6′ 2″
Weight – 203 pounds
Year – Junior

At First Glance

First-Team All-Pac 12

Projected Round:

3rd Round

Get Social