Free AgencyRumorsSpeculation

Is Rick Spielman Planning Something Huge?

Every year that Rick Spielman has been with the Vikings has produced at least one ambitious and exciting move.  Sometimes they have been in the form of player trades (Jared Allen and Percy Harvin), free agent signings (Brett Favre), or Draft Day moving and shaking (Matt Kalil and Cordarrelle Patterson).  Even during the seemingly ho-hum offseasons he has produced at least one splash move that gets the fanbase to collectively giggle with glee.

Today’s cuts, as outlined earlier by Arif, are reportedly going to leave the Vikings with a whopping $41 million in cap space.  Meanwhile, Spielman is still armed with a full compliment of draft picks.

Right now, most Vikings fans seem to think they have Spielman pegged, that he will predictably spend conservatively in free agency and explore all options to move around throughout Draft Weekend.  They think he’ll bargain hunt, perhaps throw his new coach a bone by signing Michael Johnson, and then lean on Norv Turner to pick which quarterback prospect to target in May.

I don’t think it’ll be that predictable.

Call it hunch.  Call it reading the tea leaves.  Call it looking at the pattern in Spielman’s track record.  Call it whatever you want.  I just think that Spielman has something cooking and it is bigger than any of us really expect.

Quarterback is obviously this team’s biggest priority (sigh) and all those dots are continuously being connected by fans, analysts, and hack bloggers on a daily basis.  After a disappointing 2012 campaign, rumors swirled that San Diego might be willing to deal quarterback Philip Rivers, but he rebounded nicely this year.  Was it enough, however, to call a trade absolutely impossible?  He is only two seasons away from an expired contract, after all, and is owed a $13.8 million salary from a Chargers team with virtually no cap space to play with this offseason.  If you recall, it was Spielman that started the process of prying Jay Cutler away from Denver prior to his trade to Chicago.

Here is another conspiracy theory on the other side of the ball.  What if the Vikings decided to finally make a gigantic investment at cornerback and trade for one of the best in the game?  The 28 year old Darrelle Revis is currently at the center of swirling rumors that make it seem very likely that the Bucs plan to ship him and his $13 million base salary elsewhere.  With the previous regime and their cover-2 scheme this sort of trade would make no sense at all, but Mike Zimmer is a wild card in all of this, as none of know for sure what exactly he has planned.

The Saints seem to be shopping all of their valuable offensive playmakers.  With only $1.5 million in cap space at the moment, they are having to shed some weight just to feel comfortable signing their draft class.  Lance Moore and Darren Sproles have been two names mentioned as being on the trading block, but what about that giant TE/WR they just placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on?

Jimmy Graham will be paid over $7 million if he plays under the current tight end designated tag.  However, if his agent can successfully argue that he is a wide out, then the franchise tag will cost the Saints $12.3 million and really put them in a bind from a cap perspective.  Sure, signing Graham to a long-term deal that is cap friendly in 2014 is a solution, but so is entertaining bids for his services from guys like Rick Spielman.  Tight end and wide out aren’t exactly pressing needs for the Vikings, but Jimmy Graham is one of those special players that you cannot ignore, and any team would be better with him on it.

So, I put my neck on the line there by thinking outside the box a little.  My three scenarios can’t possibly be the only ones out there.  I’m curious, what do you all have?

Let me know in the comments section what sort of fireworks show you think Rick Spielman could possibly pull off this offseason.  Speculation is a blast, give it a try!


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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. I thought Phillip Rivers could’ve easily been had last season but after his rebound it will cost too much. I like the idea of Darren Sproles. Ever since Chester Taylor left we lacked a great scat back who was dangerous on third downs. I’m totally in favor of reuniting him with Turner.
    I would like to see the Vikings go after Verner and Byrd. I also think we shouldn’t spend too much because we need to extend Harrison Smith and Matt Khalil next year.

  2. Brett Favre is available. Just sayin’
    WOW! 41 mil in cap space??
    Ricky don’t lose that number, it’s the biggest you ever had.

    1. Freds would have bet Frans would have flashed back to a Grateful Dead reference. Steely Dan?

  3. Sorry Adam but I’m not computer literate enough to just post a picture, but if you click on the link below and scroll down a bit, check out the incredibly YOKED Brett Favre.
    Hope I look that good when I hit my 40’s. . .oh wait.

  4. I dont think people fully understand how much cap the vikings have this year. They are capable of signing some big names this year and still have enough left over for smith and kalil. I think verner is an intriguing sign due to his age and upside and michael johnson makes too much sense. Finally, griffin would be a good sign as well because a team can never have too many pass rushers. Then, hope one of the 3 qbs fall to us at 8 or trade down and take mosely and take carr in the late 1st or early 2nd round. This team is setup for a fast roster turn-around and I am excited to see change

  5. #1 sign DE Everson Griffen or Michael Johnson
    #2 sign CB Nolan Carroll
    #3 sign DT Joseph Linval
    #4 sign LB Vincent Rey

    If Spielman is going to do something big with a trade? He might as well just trade up to the #2 spot and draft Blake Bortles.

    1. Draft Bortles? Trade Up? Come on now…lets remain patient on the QB…we might have bridgewater fall to us…its entirely possible

    2. There is mo need to trade up and waste picks on a QB this year. There is no Andrew Luck’s in this draft. I would trade down and trade down again and gather as many picks as possible for this deep draft and still get a Derek Carr, McCarron, etc etc.

    1. Well, here it is almost spring and a sure sign of it is, AKs mention of Sproles. Good God man, if you’ve not already done so, please change your dog’s name from Percy to Sproles.

      Freds agrees though a little “wiggle” in the back field would sure be nice.

  6. Trade Jennings and pick to rams for #2 pick and draft s Watkins. Try to move up from 8 to 4 and draft k Mack . Move up in round 2 draft AJ Macarron. Pick up j Byird and Vick. Look for a corner.

    1. No way rams would give us their number 2 pick for Jennings. They wouldn’t even give us their number 2 pick for Jennings and out number 8 pick.

      1. We talking Rick S. Crazy talk. If any GM can pull off some thing so crazy it Rick.

    2. Why the hate? I think this is a good idea, we get a lot younger player in Watkins and that LB we desperately need.

  7. They’ll kick it off by signing Johnson, I would actually be more surprised if they didn’t sign him at this point. After that I’ll go with them going swapping vets with the Texans picking up Schaub after Cassel makes him expendable in Houston. They’ll push hard for Verner but end up losing him to someone else. If you want some crazy trades lets stick with the Johnson signing…but I’ll send the Pats Seattle’s third round pick to give Mallett a one year tryout as the starting QB. Then I’ll get real crazy and send Dallas Shariff Floyd for approaching-bust-status Morris Claiborne, actual draft bust Bruce Carter, and their 2nd round pick… I bet Zimmer could get both of those guys playing to their actual potential. I would then take my man Aaron Donald with our first pick trying to trade down a few slots, but taking him at 8 if I needed too. I just improved all three levels of our defense and still have an extra 2nd round pick to use. Am I outside the box?

  8. hmmmmm,let’s see now…..let Cassel go to the texans…sign McCown…..draft defense… FA offense… AD to either Texas team for 2015 picks …..gain a couple more 2015 picks by trading down this year……and then (you know where I’m going with this don’t cha) buy the 2015 number one pick and take the best QB in the country to lead us to the promise land just in time for the SB in MN…….there, is that big enough for ya, Adam?

  9. let dan snyder spend the stupid money. i’d rather spread out the talent than blow the dough on a splashy signing or two

  10. Memo to NFL rookies: Cancel your tweet account now. Get basic cable with the sports package, and sign up for Netflix. Go to movies, go hunting and fishing, go to church. Date your high school sweetheart. Drink three beers a week, one each on separate days at home or in a tavern where few other people go. Never miss a day in the weight room, and go a few extra times. Take nothing more than Advil for pain and never allow smoke to exit your nose or mouth. Call your parents weekly and your high school coach once a month. Hang around guys who do things similar to this. If you haven’t cancelled your tweet account yet, cancel your tweet account.

    OK, if you’re any good, you have a chance.

    1. Dear Buds,

      You are an old kook. Time has passed you by in both lanes. Frankie Avalon has left the building, disco is dead and Dragnet is no longer running in prime time. Please fast forward your life at least until 1990. You want NFL rookies going hunting? Hunting? You do know when one goes hunting, they usually have a GUN. Hunting? Sheesh. Can you imagine Chris Cook packing heat and wandering the woods with a shotgun? You can sign up and take Pac Man Jones out to field to go Pheasant hunting, your old pal Fragile will wait on the couch.

      The rest of your comments are correct, though Freds has to think further about this going back and dating their high school sweet hearts thing. Don’t you kind of think Adrian Petersen is busy enough currently “spreading his legacy” without going back and traversing over past “sweet hearts”? Just a thought.

      Also, for the sake of clarity, the next time one of theses twitter infested NFLers enter a “tavern” will be the first time.

      1. Dear Freds,

        Turns out, an old kook is better than a young Cook, who has already surpassed me rap-sheet-wise (reckless driving my axe, that was just plain fun until dad got wind of it.) Just so you know, Frankie Avalon was a weenie, and Bonanza IS in prime time if you get the right channel.
        Freds, my feeling is that if more of our youngsters got a 20 gauge or an Ithaca single shot (still my favorite) for Christmas, they wouldn’t feel the need to get a glock and try it out on someone. Get a gun for what a gun is for, which is to take out a rabbit or a pheasant or a deer, not your neighbor.
        I will correct my suggestion to date ONLY your high school sweetheart, but I stand by my recommendation of taverns. Throw one down, shoot a couple games of pool to your favorite three songs for a quarter (a buck these days?), and call it a night. (and cancel your twitter account.)

  11. Lets not forget about a big, mean, mammoth bastard on the defensive line. It all starts up front.

    1. There you go johnny! Nobody ever farmed with a herd of shetland ponies. Clysdales and Belgians, sign
      ’em up!

  12. I’d be heartily disappointed if we traded for graham. The price is way too high. We coul draft the top two tight ends in this class for less.

  13. Finally a nice long one from Dubs! I had wondered about the Rivers thing for a while. I’d like that better than Vick. Probably has 3 years of high level play in him. Good guy to mentor a promising QB.

    I say we trade Rudolph and Jennings and back to Packers for two #1s and Randall Cobb along with Mark Chumura’s defense lawyer. Then, use said lawyer to defend Sharper and bring him out of retirement and trade the #1s for Graham and use our #1 to draft a HOF QB. Simple.

  14. Be careful when you get on board the Michael Vick Bandwagon. He rarely drives you to your desired location.

    We should let Karma, drive that bandwagon. He would drive it to Cleveland so that Michael Vick would have an appropriate end to his career. In the Dawg Pound.

  15. I would hate to see Griffin go. In fact, I think it would be wise to try and keep him, and sign Johnson. Despite his limited use, Robison is still over 30 and has proven to be better when kept fresh. The two combined cap hits for Griffin and Johnson shouldn’t exceed Allen’s cap number by much from last year, and being undermanned at DE is not an option.

    Linval seems to be the best DT option on the market, and factoring in the cap savings from Guion, Linval’s cap hit wouldn’t seem to painful.

    The Colts have the cap space to keep Davis, so we have to go for Verner. We should only settle for a player like Carroll if Verner or Davis arn’t available.

    Trade back in the 1st to gather at least one more pick, and take the best defensive player available with our first pick.

    If (and only if) we can acquire another 2nd round pick, send it to the Pats for Mallet, saving us the need to draft a QB early.

    Then, use our other 2nd round pick on a LG, and hope that Baca takes the next step. Besides a late round QB, the rest of our picks are used on Defense.

    WR4, RB3 and OL depth can then be found in FA, late in the draft or in the undrafted class.

  16. Ricky will go after Talib, Johnson and Asamoah and then also sign Vincent Rey. Defense, defense and more defense will be the theme

  17. RS better be active with all that cap space. You may get one first round rookie to make an impact on defense and would be lucky to get that second round rookie to make an immediate impact. Free agency is where you can get immediate starters for the defense and then you also add rookies for depth.

    The cap is going to go up in 2015 & 2016 as well. So now is the time to get at least 2 to 3 top free agents. Most of the time free agents do not make an impact their first year on a new team because they need to learn the new system, get use to the new environment, etc. But now, all of the team needs to learn the new systems. It is a perfect time.

    As someone said above, Michael Johnson makes too much sense. He already knows the defense. it probably is going to be a 5 yr 50 to 55 mil deal with the latter years being absurd and thus not likely to be earned unless they are completely stupid and do the same thing they did with Allen and let him get that final 14.28 mil last year. What a waste. Not because Allen is bad but I just cannot see how a team can pay a player that much money with no assurance of his services beyond that one year. It seems like bad cap management. But, I digress. I would be surprised if Johnson does not get signed.

    Also, Alterruan Verner makes a ton of sense as well. His secondary coach is now with the Vikings. He also would be at least familiar with his coach and the transition could be quicker. Add in the fact that he is only 25 and paying him top dollar is also not a bad investment. I expect his deal to be in the 5 year 50 mil range similar to what Brandon Carr received from Dallas. It could be that the Vikings feel it is too much for Verner. Rumor is they like Nolan Carroll. Either way they need a veteran corner.

    At DT it is hard to say. I would love to see a trifecta and the team sign Linval Joseph. He is going to command over 7 mil per year and it could be close to 9 or 10. The Vikings could afford it but it could come down to a question of value. Is Joseph worth that much money? They may settle for Paul Soliai or Arif’s favorite Pat Sims. But Oakland is rolling in dough so you would think they will try to re-sign Sims. Also, Sims had his best season in his contract year. This is always a concern.

    A player I would also like to see them sign is Jon Asamoah. They need to upgrade over Charlie Johnson.

    Others I like are Taylor Mays, Keith Rivers, and Brandon Ghee mainly because they are familiar with Zimmer’s schemes and should not be very expensive.

    In the draft, I could see a total curve ball from the Vikings now that they signed Cassel (yuck but it was necessary). Here is a quick mock using drafttek’s latest as a guide

    8. Mike Evans WR
    40. Rasheed Hageman DT
    72. Christian Jones LB
    96. Keith McGill CB
    104. Brandon Thomas OG
    136. Charles Sims RB
    168. Jimmy Garoppolo QB
    200. Brock Vereen S

    1. This would be a good draft, I’m not as high on Hageman .. He’s only flashed a motor. I also think Garopollo will be gone before this. Evans has a chance to be a big time target, and even though it’s not a need I’m in favor of building a passing attack that is primed for a QB like rivers or Bradford who could get jettisoned by their teams. Peyton manning picked Denver because of the weapons they had.

    2. I am not gonna be a happy fan if we go WR with our first pick, regardless of the BPA thinking. We need a stud defensive player, and we need him now. I know we can fill in LB’s and DL’s and CB’s in later rounds, but we need one that can impact now. This #31 defense absolutely needs to be the focus of this first pick. (I noticed the site you linked now is updated to have us picking Manziel.)

  18. I understand that Revis is a complete jerk, but in a division with Megatron, Marshall/Jeffery and Nelson I have no problem investing extra in a CB who has proven he can shut down anyone one on one. Revis was never a fit in Leslie’s outdated scheme, but I have faith that Zimmer could maximise his talents.

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