Saturday, August 27, 2016

Rick Spielman

Will Spielman break his first-round tendencies?

Spielman trading up
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

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.

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A popular, sensible choice (if available)

the Josh Doctson show
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

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.

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Dates for offseason workouts, OTAs, and minicamp

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings won’t christen U.S. Bank Stadium until the start of the 2016 regular season, but they will return to Winter Park long before the opening of their brand new home in downtown Minneapolis. As first reported by ESPN’s Ben Goessling, the Vikings will begin offseason workouts just 17 days from now, on April 18. He also shared the team’s full schedule through June, as follows:

  • Offseason Workouts — April 18
  • Organized Team Activities (OTAs) — May 24-26, May 31-June 2 and June 6-9
  • Mandatory Minicamp — June 14-16

This offseason will likely be much calmer than the last, when Adrian Peterson held out through the beginning of June. When he finally returned to the practice field, the Vikings were well into their offseason program and looking ahead to training camp.

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Finally the NFL Draft is here! Well, almost.

At least now the league’s annual event is less than one month away from taking place. Soon enough, each team will do their best at selecting the right players to add to their roster and then the Cleveland Browns will end the careers of a new set of rookies.

Unlike the New England Patriots, the Minnesota Vikings have not made an enemy of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and are going to be allowed to keep their first round selection in this year’s draft. With their very first draft pick in 2016, will the Vikings keep it boring or will they use the selection to become the talk of the league after the draft’s opening night?

favorite first round memories
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The 2016 NFL Draft is less than a month away, making now the perfect time to reflect on prior draft day experiences. To celebrate the peak of the offseason, I’ve asked the Vikings Territory team to share their favorite first round memories and recall the one moment in Minnesota Vikings draft history that stands out in their minds.

What’s your favorite Minnesota Vikings draft night (Round 1) memory?

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