Friday, May 22, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "Rick Spielman"

Rick Spielman

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Waynes, like the Vikings' new stadium, represents a bright future in Minnesota

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Wow, what a crazy weekend. Things got rolling on Thursday night and didn’t slow down until Saturday evening, but here we are, sore fingers and all. If you missed any of our draft coverage, head over to the landing page and check it out — Adam, Brett, Arif, Lindsey, Andy, Carl, Brent, and myself put out some work we know Vikings fans will love

Now that the draft has come and gone, it’s time to assess Rick Spielman’s new “toys”. In a three-day span that saw the Vikings draft 10 new players and sign nine undrafted free agents, a few of Spielman’s organizational goals became clear:

  • Protect Teddy Bridgewater
  • Give Mike Zimmer flexibility and creative freedom on defense
  • Add versatile weapons to Norv Turner’s offense

Nothing is more important than ensuring the long-term health and development of Teddy Bridgewater, who staked his claim as the face of the franchise last season. After watching his quarterback suffer behind an offensive line that gave up 30 sacks in 2014, Spielman entered the draft with a concrete plan: add depth to a depleted group of tackles.

He did just that, finding tremendous value in the fourth round by drafting Pittsburgh’s T.J. Clemmings, a first round talent who fell because of a lingering foot injury. Spielman proceeded to solidify the group later in the draft, selecting two more offensive tackles — Tyrus Thompson (sixth round) and Austin Shepherd (seventh round).

According to Chris Tomasson, the Vikings will pick up the fifth-year options for both Harrison Smith and Matt Kalil. GM Rick Spielman implied earlier that the 2012 draft picks would be re-signed for 2016, but the team made it official Monday morning.

Smith, drafted No. 29 overall, will bring in a $5.2 million paycheck; Kalil will make $11.096 million as a No. 4 overall pick.

No questions existed about Smith remaining in Minnesota, as he is arguably the top safety on the team and a no-brainer to keep around. In his first three seasons in purple, Smith tallied 192 tackles, 62 assists and 10 interceptions. He also added three sacks in 2014.

Smith played in all 16 games last season; if he stay healthy moving forward, he will continue to play a huge role for the Vikings’ secondary. Tomasson reported that the Vikings plan to work out a longer-term contract with Smith prior to the regular season. Smith has been vocal about wanting to stay with Minnesota, which is great news for fans.

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Somewhat predictably, after a slew of compensatory picks that couldn’t be traded played out, Rick Spielman traded the top pick in the fifth round.

Spielman traded away the 137th pick in exchange for the 146th pick (traded back nine spots) and picked up an extra sixth rounder (#185) which completes Rick Spielman’s goal of accumulating 10 picks in this year’s Draft.

With their next pick, number 143, The Vikings selected tight end MyCole Pruitt out of SIU.

Pruitt was the top performer for his positional group in every single NFL Combine drill, with bench press being the lone exception. At 6′ 2″ and 251 pounds, Pruitt has used his sure hands, blocking abilities, and football intelligence to climb into the conversation for valuable mid-round prospects.

There are some concerns about Pruitt’s on-field effort, but he fits this pattern of “coachable” players that need work and seem to be catching the eye of the Vikings in this Draft.

Pruitt joins a competitive group behind Kyle Rudolph that includes Rhett Ellison, Chase Ford, and Brandon Bostick.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Here are just a few of my takeaways from the first two nights of the 2015 NFL Draft. 

  • Many people expected NFC North rival Chicago to pick up a cornerback or wide receiver, and the Bears followed through by selecting WR Kevin White out of West Virginia. As Draft analysts pointed out, the only question now is if Jay Cutler can capitalize on him.
  • The theme around the 2015 NFL Draft seemed to be trading up or down, but the first trade didn’t happen until San Diego traded up from No. 17 to get RB Melvin Gordon.
  • The first questionable/surprise pick came at No. 9 when the New York Giants selected OL Ereck Flowers. I expected them to grab CB Trae Waynes at that point, and I don’t know that Flowers will pan out to be a top-10 pick.

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