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Five Takes from Rick Spielman’s Combine Presser

The Vikings general manager addressed the media from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman spoke with media Wednesday from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Spielman, who opened the presser by stating the Combine is the team’s first opportunity to sit down with its own UFAs, also said the week represents a critical part of the draft process.

During the interview he addressed multiple topics, including the quarterback position.

On the quarterback decision:

Spielman made it clear no decisions have been made on how the Vikings will move forward at quarterback, but also added that the team has a “pretty good idea” of what it will do.

“A lot of things will go into play in this decision. Contracts are definitely a factor in it,” Spielman said.” We’ve always planned out our contracts two or three years down the road. Our objective is to draft well and to keep those players on your roster…We have some significant contracts coming up with some key players, especially on the defensive side, but the offensive side as well. So that all goes into play as we make this decision.”

Spielman will meet with the representatives of all the Vikings’ in-house free agents beginning this week.

On Teddy Bridgewater:

Spielman emphasized the Teddy Bridgewater tolling matter was a league decision and that the NFL would address the situation in the near future. The general manager noted that he personally believed the contract would not toll, but the issue is not entirely resolved until the official ruling is announced.

As far as where Bridgewater is at from a physical standpoint, Spielman said the Vikings “probably have more in-depth knowledge than anyone on where he’s at right now.” Later, he added:

“Teddy’s been a great teammate. Teddy is a great kid. Unbelievable representative of our organization. Unbelievable work ethic and attitude on how he came back from such a significant injury.”

A report surfaced yesterday claiming Bridgewater’s contract will likely not toll and he is expected to become a free agent.

On Riley Reiff’s season:

“Excellent. He came in right off the bat. We moved him right over to left tackle. He was not only a tremendous football player for us, fit everything we wanted culturally, but I think as we went through the OTAs, coach Zimmer made him a captain. That’s pretty rare for a guy that has never been here. And that I think reflects on what we felt of him not only as a football player but what he brought to our football team in a leadership role.”

On Latavius Murray and his potential role in 2018:

“[Murray] made a significant difference on our explosive runs this year; made a significant difference on our conversions on third and fourth downs and short yardage situations, made a significant difference in goal-line and has ability to get the ball into the end zone. That, along with how we revamped the offensive line, was one of the points of emphasis we really wanted to improve on last year.”

Spielman stressed that the ability to have different types of backs on the roster makes it more difficult on opposing defenses:

“It gives the defense a little bit more to game-plan for [and] the coaching staff can be a little bit more creative on how they use those backs in certain situations. I don’t know that you want to have three of the same kind, but if you can have different types of running backs I think it’s a little bit more difficult to defend.”

On Laquon Treadwell’s future:

“Laquon continues to progress. It’s going to be a big year for him. Hoping to see that jump this year. I know he does work extremely hard at it. He’s a pleaser. He wants to do good. He’s just got to learn how to relax a little bit and not press so much and just enjoy playing. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Because you see, when he does get an opportunity to catch the ball in the games or if he’s targeted, I don’t think he’s dropped the ball. But [he] also doesn’t have a lot of targets in a game.”

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Sean Borman

Sean Borman is a writer with Minnesota roots that's still somehow an optimist. He was an intern with the Vikings during college and previously wrote for Rant Sports. You can find Sean on the golf course and on Twitter @SeanBoarMan.

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    1. Lol [coughs into hand].

      Hey! He said Reiff made captain last year. He also made it seem like the team wants to keep Latavius Murray around and get Treadwell more targets. So… there’s that.

      1. “Because you see, when he [Treadwell] does get an opportunity to catch the ball in the games or if he’s targeted, I don’t think he’s dropped the ball.”

        Not according to everything I’ve read on the web.

        1. My ‘hot take’ before the season was that Treadwell would have ~750 yards with 6 or 7 TD’s, so trust me when I say I watched him ALL season. When he was targeted, for whatever reason, the throws weren’t even close. Even that one-handed snag against the Packers was way off target.

          I saw a combination of Laquon not getting much separation and the QB not putting the ball where it needed to be.

          He’s not of the same ilk of Thielen or Diggs. He can’t get open as quickly as they can. He’s more of a red-zone threat WR that will go up and catch contested balls. Very wide catch radius.

          I believe he needs to be used differently in order to bring out his natural talent. And definitely get more targets.

            1. I wouldn’t be opposed to trying him there. He’s a good blocker, has decent size and great hands. I still think he has a future at WR though.

          1. As for the balls not being where they should be ~ Could that not be because the QB doesn’t trust him to get open ~ Not just on the catch in the Packers game ~ But over all ~ Spielman and Zimmer have both said he tries to hard on top of that ~ I do agree he is mostly a redzone target who can fight for catch contested balls ~ Hopefully 2018 is his big step forward as a better all around WR ~ However they need to cover their butts and find someone to push him or replace him ~

            1. Oh absolutely. When a QB looks his way and anticipates throwing to him – then sees a defender all over him – he’s going to instinctively throw it where neither of them can catch it.

              Hopefully an offseason of OTAs, training camp & preseason will help the QB (whoever that may be) and Treadwell get their timing down and establish the trust that he and Keenum seemingly failed to develop.

              I, for one, believe the Vikings want DeFilippo to examine how to use Treadwell best as well. Covering their butts would be smart.

      2. I’m totally in agreement with keeping Murray and would go as far as saying someone is crazy if they tried to force Murray to take a pay cut or get cut ~ He was almost like having another TE out there when ask to pass block ~ I still think the Reiff was one of the best FA signings for the money on a starting left OT ~ Its right up there with the signing of Case ~ Reiff played into the success of Case playing so well just as Murray did ~ I’m not sure what to make of Treadwell but I’m giving him all of 2018 before I call him a bust ~ Maybe he can add 35lbs and move to TE ~ LOL just kidding guy ~

        1. After listening to Spielman’s press conference I believe the team will keep Murray as they value his blocking, for one, and also his style. He helped the team tremendously on short yardage situations. Both Spielman and Zimmer said having diverse skill sets at the RB position makes things more difficult for the defense. I still think McKinnon brings more bang for the buck, but I agree with all of their points.

          Reiff was such a solid addition. His demeanor set the tone for the resurgence of the offensive line and as a result, the entire offense improved. Hopefully that continues into the upcoming season.