Thursday, March 5, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "Rick Spielman"

Rick Spielman

I don’t know how many times I have typed this sentence, but here it goes one more time:  The Vikings always seem to be behind the rest of the league when it comes to signing their own free agents and their own draft classes.

I’ve also said before that we have no reason to worry about any holdouts now that the rookie wage scale is in place.

On one hand, it might appear as there is no reason to worry because the Vikings reportedly agreed to terms today with third round cornerback (and fastest man at the Combine) Josh Robinson.  The deal, as usual, is for four years.

On the other hand, however, there is a growing sense that the Vikings are taking a firm stance on the issue of “offset language” in these rookie contracts so Matt Kalil’s contract remains to be finalized with training camp beginning tomorrow.

The offset clause being referenced has to do with how the contract is handled should the player be cut prior to the contract expiring and then have the player sign with another team.  The Vikings want the contract to be worded in such a way that any money they still owe the player is offset by the new contract awarded.    The players, of course, would rather see themselves in a situation where they are being paid by two teams for a year or two in the event that they are cut by the team that drafted them.

Rick Spielman has indicated that he is confident that Kalil’s deal will be done without any major hiccups. 

Here is hoping he is correct.

I am heading out for the weekend, off to meet long-time internet friend and fellow Vikings fan “Fran the Man” to do some fishing on the famous Tangle Lakes (pictured  above). 

Before trekking off into the wild, however, I wanted to get one last post up as sort of a response to a comment received under my recent post on Leslie Frazier’s USO Tour.

B. Grant wrote:  “Nice piece here, Adam. Shows some real class on Leslie’s part (and on your part for pointing it out to us). Gonna put you on the spot, now…  What’s your true gut feeling about Leslie Frazier as an NFL head coach? Is he gonna have a long term and eventually successful run here in Minnesota, or will we be looking at a different head coach in the not-too-distant future? Can Leslie be a Super Bowl champion head coach? Go ahead, give us your honest take on this.

Okay, it has been a while since I have taken a real hard stance on something and made foolish predictions, so now seems like a fitting time to rekindle my old love for hack bloggering.

Yes!  I think Leslie Frazier can be a Super Bowl winning head coach.

Now, there is a long laundry list of reasons to doubt Frazier.  He mistakenly hung his hat on washed up veterans like Donovan McNabb and Bernard Berrian last season.  Chris Cook’s disasterous arrest prior to a Packers game and Adrian Peterson’s horrible injury during a garbage game, both happened under his watch.  Bill Musgrave, under Frazier’s authority, seemed to greatly underutilize players like Percy Harvin, Kyle Rudolph, and even Adrian Peterson at various points last season.  There was even some unexpected wishy-washy decision making at the end of the season when a hobbled Christian Ponder, who perhaps shouldn’t have been playing to start with, was replaced a number of times by Joe Webb.  Familiarity led to jobs being handed to Fred Pagac and Mike Singletary but the results were not at all favorable.  Botched challenges and too many penalties were just more signs of a dismal season.

More aggravating to me than anything listed above, and also more worrisome, were some very questionable play calls that ended up deciding games… and not to the Vikings benefit.  Who can forget Toby Gerhart’s fourth down carries against Detroit and Atlanta, both of which screamed “desperation” and signaled to the fans that the 2011 was forever lost.

Still, despite all of the negatives, I think that this is not only a new season but also a very different season and Frazier will make improvements that show exactly why he is an asset to the team.

First, there is no lockout.  Taking over a roster with a shortened offseason and two new quarterbacks as a first year head coach is not an enviable position to be in.  The negative consequences of the craziness that was the 2011 offseason were evident throughout the season, but I think we have already started to see (outside of Percy Harvin) a cohesiveness this year that just simply wasn’t there last year.

Secondly, Frazier gets to be a coach.  He put his name on enough poor personnel decisions last offseason that the Vikings ended up essentially demoting him and giving sole authority over the roster to General Manager Rick Spielman.  I think this will take a lot of pressure off of Frazier and allow him to sit back and do the two things he does best:  coach football and mentor young men.  What we saw this offseason, in the way Frazier and Spielman handled the sudden eruption from Percy Harvin, was a refreshing change from the days of Brad Childress and, while we don’t know all the details, this is the first true evidence we have to suggest the new power structure is an improvement over the old Triangle of Authority.

Cutting down on off-the-field problems, instilling a sense of discipline on this young roster, and seeing progressive improvement and development in all phases of the game are essential to Frazier’s future with the team.  No single factor will have more weight, however, than the progression of Christian Ponder.

If Ponder excels, Frazier has a future.  If he stumbles, Frazier likely doesn’t.  Fair or unfair, right or wrong, I think that will be the case regardless of how Frazier does in all the other aspects of coaching this season.  Ponder and Frazier (and possibly Spielman) are tied together with a knot that is too tight to undo.  Ponder’s improvement and success are paramount to the future of this young team, and the employment status of Leslie Frazier and his staff.

So far, all signs are pointing towards an improved quarterback situation, so right now I have no reason to doubt Frazier or his ability to turn this mess around and get started down the right track.

Okay, have a good weekend everyone!

I’m off to catch some fish.

At the moment, all seems well on the Percy Harvin front if you are a fan of, say, any of the other 31 teams in the NFL.

Us Vikings fans, however, we know better than to get comfortable with anything.  To us, if something looks stagnant, it is probably a ticking time bomb.  Like how nice that big inflatable roof looks?  Like the enthusiasm coming from the guys in that huddle… all twelve of them?  Like your chances on this Gary Anderson field goal attempt?

So, yeah, when sites like PFT or ESPN declare the Percy Harvin storyline “dead” all we Vikings fans are really going to do is sit on the edge of our seats and wait for this thing to blow up.

Rick Spielman, however, wants us to know that Percy Harvin’s previously stated discontent is something he, his staff, and the coaches are prepared to handle.

“There’s different personalities that you have to deal with on a daily basis, but when you look at Percy, what he brings to us on the field, how much passion he has to play football, he gives us a great opportunity to win on Sundays when he’s on the field,” Spielman said recently. “We try to know and understand when we draft a player, sign a player as a free agent, or bring a player into our organization, how we’re going to have to handle this player. Is he going to be handled differently? What do we have to do differently to handle a player? Those are a lot of pre-discussions that we have before we bring players in. And you just have to have a game plan if a guy has an issue or something and then try to work off that.”

“I know coach Frazier really met and sat and talked a lot with Percy. I dealt more with the business side of it and dealt with his agent, Joel Segal,” Spielman said. “As far as I know, the last dialogue I had, we’re expecting Percy to be at training camp and ready to go.”

We still don’t know, and possibly never will know, what caused Harvin’s outbursts last week and the reported request for a trade, but as of today it looks like Spielman and Frazier were able to tag team the issue effectively.

Training camp starts next month, however, and Harvin’s name will almost be the first one called during a much anticipated roll call.

The Vikings have made some fairly low level moves over the last few days, and the most intriguing is their decision to claim Harvard offensive lineman Kevin Murphy, which we mentioned yesterday.

Us fans are always on the lookout for training camp “sleepers” and signs point towards Murphy as a candidate to keep an eye on.  What signs?  Well, for starters, the Vikings weren’t the only team that wanted the young tackle after he was cut by the 49ers.

According to a Scout.com source, both the Detroit Lions and the Houston Texans put in a waiver claim on the 6’ 7” rookie.  So, it should at least be an encouraging sign that Rick Spielman wasn’t the only NFL G.M. that wanted this guy on the roster.

One of the most intriguing things about the remainder of this offseason will surely revolve around Spielman’s willingness to use his waiver priority (the Vikings are third) when other teams part ways with players.  Murphy is surely not the last guy that will join the Vikings via this route between now and the season opener.

Welcome to part six of our ten part series entitled “Welcome to the Big Show” where we attempt to bring you a comprehensive, in-depth look at each of the Vikings ten Draft selections of 2012. In case you missed them, here are links to the first five: Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith, Josh Robinson, Rhett Ellison, and Jarius Wright.

Make sure to go back and check out Brett’s fine article on Wright.  As we all know by now, Wright and Greg Childs have been friends and teammates since a very young age.  Childs is the subject of today’s “Welcome to the Big Show” segment.

PERSONAL HISTORY

During his junior year at Warren High School in Arkansas he put up 65 receptions and made 15 of them count for touchdowns, and earned a spot on the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s all-Junior team.  In 2007, he was an all-State selection as a senior.

Childs left high school as one of the most heavily recruited players in the nation.  He received scholarship offers from Tennessee, Ole Miss, Colorado, Mississippi State, and Texas Tech before deciding to stay close to home and become a Razorback.

Childs turned 22 on March 10th of this year which makes him the youngest receiver on the Vikings roster.

He met fellow Viking rookie Jarius Wright in the third grade when he moved to Warren.  Wright was a popular kid at the elementary school and they decided to target Childs for some old fashioned bullying.  It took about two years for them to finally become friends, and they have been teammates ever since the seventh grade.

Get Social

2,731FansLike
4,190FollowersFollow