Sunday, August 2, 2015

Rick Spielman

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Vikings fans have plenty to look forward to in 2015 and beyond, including the new stadium

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The 2015 regular season won’t kick off for another 147 days, but Vikings fans have plenty to look forward to until then. Minnesota will be “on the clock” Thursday April 30th, when the NFL Draft begins and Rick Spielman makes the 11th-overall selection. In late July, players will report for Training Camp in Mankato, ringing in the start of “real” football activities.

But, the fun begins in early August, when the Vikings suit up for a five-game stretch of preseason games. On Thursday afternoon, the NFL released its preseason schedule, which is outlined below:

Hall of Fame Game (Aug. 9th, 7:00 p.m. CT): Minnesota Vikings vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Canton, Ohio)
Week 1 (Aug. 14th-16th): Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Week 2 (Aug. 21st-23rd): Oakland Raiders vs. Minnesota Vikings
Week 3 (Aug. 28th-29th): Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 4 (Sept. 3rd): Minnesota Vikings vs. Tennessee Titans

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Baseball fans bought peanuts and Cracker Jacks at stadiums all over the country today, celebrating the MLB’s Opening Day while cheering on their favorite ball clubs. As I write this, college students from Duke and Wisconsin are packed into Lucas Oil Stadium, screaming their teams to victory in the NCAA National Championship Game.

Vikings fans, meanwhile, know that the 2015 NFL Draft kicks off in just 24 days — plenty of time to mull over this year’s biggest sleepers and most talented prospects. Until then, we can keep tabs on the rest of the NFC North — here’s what’s happening in Green Bay, Detroit, and Chicago:

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Spielman meeting Teddy
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

[NOTE FROM ADAM: We are thrilled to welcome back the knowledge and insight we’ve grown to expect out of Ryan Boser. Ryan contributes a number of places, with very valuable draft and fantasy takes, and we encourage you to follow him on Twitter to keep track of everything he is doing.]

BY RYAN BOSER

From Adrian Peterson to Jabari Price, Rick Spielman has had varying degrees of involvement in 65 rookie selections during his eight-draft Minnesota Vikings tenure. While “need” is an ever-changing variable, we have a large enough sample size to begin to glean some of his general philosophical tendencies.

1. Spielman is fearlessly aggressive with offensive skill position players in the first two rounds.

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With his first pick as VP of Player Personnel, Spielman eschewed infinitely more pressing defensive needs to select a supremely talented RB with durability concerns. Meanwhile, Chester Taylor had just eclipsed 1,500 YFS in the first year of his 4-year contract.

Two drafts later, Spielman & Co. snatched Percy Harvin in R1 despite a failed Combine drug test.

Spielman reached wildly for Christian Ponder, and traded up for backup Toby Gerhart, an ultra-raw Cordarrelle Patterson and Pro Day flop Teddy Bridgewater.

What it Means: Kevin White almost certainly ran himself out of the Vikings’ range, but if Amari Cooper slips, he’d be the odds-on favorite at 11. If both White and Cooper are gone, DeVante Parker would surely get a long look, and I wouldn’t count out stud RB Todd Gurley (pending Peterson) despite last season’s ACL tear — the precedent is there for such a pick. Monstrous WR Dorial Green-Beckham is a textbook Spielman pick in R2 (or late R1 via trade-up). He comes with drug and violence-against-women baggage, which will make him an especially tough sell at this juncture, but the team is officially kicking the tires.

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Quarterback Mike Kafka was signed by the Vikings after apparently impressing at the first annual veteran combine. He isn’t the only veteran that found work in Minnesota after working out in front of Rick Spielman, however.

Defensive end Caesar Rayford was also signed and will compete for a spot near the bottom of the Vikings depth chart. The agreement was announced by Rayford’s agent on Twitter.

Rayford spent 2014 playing arena football and in the CFL. He last played in the NFL in 2013 as a member of the Dallas Cowboys where he played in his only NFL games. In seven games with the Cowboys he is credited with being in on five tackles.

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The NFL Draft is a month away and the question on the minds of Vikings fans is “What are the Vikes gonna do at #11?” Convincing arguments can be made for nearly every prospect outside of QB, so we had our man Luke Inman (@luke_spinman) of eDraft back on the show with a basic premise: If you were Rick Spielman, what would you do in these scenarios?

FTW 109 - What do you do

Spoiler: We get different answers for each — including trades — and the wild card scenario even features an Adrian Peterson trade.

Full episode after the jump! 

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