Say Goodbye to Spielman’s Project Guys

Rick Spielman, Now a Tik Toker, Is Giddy about a Draft Prospect
Rick Spielman

This offseason is one of the changes for the Vikings. The Wilfs don’t often make these types of changes, but it was time. However, the new regime is still inheriting a roster built by Rick Spielman.

All of that is going to be changing. We have already seen some of these changes unfold. Guys like Dakota Dozier and Tuf Borland are already gone. This will not be the last of these changes as Adofo-Mensah and the Vikings say goodbye to Spielman’s project guys.

While no one really cared that Dozier and Borland were let go, it is signaling the time of Spielman is over. Now, Kwesi and Kevin get to rebuild this team in the image that suits the style of team that they want to build. The draft and free agency they have put together provide us a decent insight into how that looks.

Tuf Borland
Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Tuf Borland. [Joshua A. Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Bickel/Dispatch]

First and foremost, the Vikings want defenders who are fast and play downhill. Next, they want an offensive lineman that can actually pass block. Finally, they want versatile guys.

This is quite the change-up from Spielman. During one interview last year, Spielman said something to the effect that he just drafts and signs guys he thinks are good. Then, he lets the coaches figure out how to use them.

Clearly, this did not work. Kwesi on the hand wants to work side by side to build a team with a purpose.

Which Vikings Project Players Gets Axed

Chazz Surratt
Aug 27, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chazz Surratt. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

There will be some serious change-ups, especially on the defensive side of the ball this year. The new defensive scheme is going to require different styles of players. For example, cornerbacks will have to be able to play man-coverage.

This leaves the Vikings looking at many of the guys Spielman brought to Minnesota as potential cut guys. Here are a few that could be getting the ax this year:

  1. Chazz Surratt – Surratt being cut seems like a no-brainer. Honestly, he is just not good enough. His biggest struggle is that he is too small and incapable of getting off blocks. Couple that with his un-physical style of play, and you have a guy who, at best, makes a practice squad.
  2. Wyatt Davis – Davis might surprise a lot of people to be on this list. I am, too, as I was really high on him coming out of the draft. However, the Vikings’ scouting department didn’t even have a backup grade on Davis, but Spielman drafted him anyway. Although he was a relatively high draft pick, so there is a good chance that he makes the team on the practice squad.
  3. Janarius Robinson – Robinson is the Chazz Surratt of the defensive line. He is a speed rusher, but he lacks physicality at the point of attack. Unless he has figured out how to be more physical and set the edge, he could be released. Although, I think he is a great candidate for the practice squad.
  4. Kris Boyd – Boyd on this list shouldn’t shock anyone. He has the frame that Spielman loved in a cornerback. However, he is not good enough to play in a defense that requires a lot of man coverage.

Mitch Massman is a life-long Vikings fan. His first heartbreak was the 1998 NFC championship game. His full-time job is as an economic development professional in rural Minnesota. He fantasizes about the Vikings winning a Super Bowl one day, but until then he will write about the Vikings. Follow him on Twitter @skol_vikings3