Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "Rick Spielman"

Rick Spielman

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Photo provided courtesy of Vikings.com

Don’t you love the NFL offseason?  If you thought the wait for the NFL draft was bad, we’re currently experiencing the worst part of the year for football fans. For those finding ways to supplement your withdraws with another type of football, I’m jealous. For myself, in hopes of filling the void, I’ve watched and re-watched the practice highlights looking for something to stand out.  I’ve also done a great deal of thinking around the current depth chart, trying to predict where the 2014 Vikings will make their greatest strides.

When looking at a defense full of holes in 2013, it isn’t difficult to identify the area in need of the largest improvement. Second to only the Philadelphia Eagles, the Vikings ranked 31st in total passing defense in 2013, surrendering an average of 287 yards through the air per game. To throw salt on the wound, the Vikings allowed 37 passing TDs and a completion percentage of 64.7%, a completion percentage so high that only 6 quarterbacks averaged a higher number for the 2013 season.

The Vikings secondary wasn’t just the weakest spot on the field, it made an opposing quarterback look like a pro bowler week in and week out.

The defensive collapses were frustrating to watch. Each week, fans watched in agony as the defense gave up more 3rd & long completions, some of which cost the Vikings wins and ultimately cost Head Coach Leslie Frazier and staff their jobs. There is no quick fix for a defensive unit as broken as the Vikings secondary. Was it the scheme or the personnel? Let’s take a closer look at how General Manager Rick Spielman has addressed the troubled secondary entering the 2014 season.

It has been a little while since we’ve gone around the web and checked in with all of our various friends.  If you think our Blogroll is missing a good quality Vikings site please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments section and I’ll get them added right away.

Now, without further delay, here is some of the best stuff out there this week:

 

 

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 Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has a great track record of getting the most out of his linebackers. After the Vikings selected Anthony Barr with 9th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Zimmer is certainly excited to get an opportunity to mold Barr into the dynamic playmaker he thinks he can be. Zimmer has never had a linebacker with the size, speed and athleticism of the 6-5 255 pound UCLA product. Barr has extreme potential but he is very raw and still learning the linebacker position. Barr was not used as an off-the-line backer nor was he asked to drop into coverage often. 

Anthony Barr had some monster hits and big plays last season, but for the most part he didn’t show up on tape as often as expected. Part of that is because he spent a good chunk of time lined up on the line of scrimmage, sometimes in a three point stance trying to bull rush offensive tackles. Barr is not a strength power player, he is more of a finesse speed guy that will benefit when moved to a more traditional linebacker position.

General Manager Rick Spielman said at the 19th Annual Arctic Blast in February, “I really, really think we’re going to do a lot of movement in the draft.”

Well, with the draft just hours away, not much has really changed. The idea that the 8th pick is flexible and the thought of Spielman trading back to aggressively peruse more picks is still very much on the table. The Vikings have eight picks in the 2014 NFL Draft, and Spielman has gone on record saying the goal is to compile 10 selections annually.

 Eight of Rick Spielman’s 61 draft picks since 2006 have earned Pro Bowl honors. A 13 percent Pro Bowl success rate for a team committed to building through the draft is a strong number. As good as Spielman is at directing a war room and doing his due diligence, he unfortunately has never successfully struck gold at the quarterback position. Viking fans are hopeful that 2014 will be the draft that Spielman strikes it rich at the most important position in professional football.

 How much influence will new Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and new offensive coordinator Norv Turner have in Spielman draft strategy? And will Zimmer encourage Spielman to continue his recent tradition of drafting two players from the same school?

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