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.
#Vikings Rick Spielman on QB situation: "We feel very strongly about moving forward because of all the in-depth knowledge we have on our current three quarterbacks. Also the practical game knowledge we have on those guys."
— Sean Borman (@SeanBoarMan) February 28, 2018
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.”