Rick Spielman Presents Compelling Vikings Draft Plan

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Rick Spielman joined the Vikings organization in 2006. His first official job title was vice president of player personnel, and from 2012-2021, he was the general manager for the purple franchise. After the 2021 season, the second consecutive campaign without a postseason appearance, he was let go and replaced by Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.

In his tenure with Minnesota, Spielman was the overseer of many drafts. He was part of the front office that selected 140 players during that time. Some of them were phenomenal picks, others quickly flamed out, but that’s the everyday life of an NFL decision-maker.

Rick Spielman Presents Compelling Vikings Draft Plan

Rick Spielman Presents His Compelling Vikings Draft Plan
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Spielman is currently unemployed in the NFL but contributes to The 33rd Team, a website where many former executives and players write. In a collaborative effort with Mike Tannenbaum, another former NFL executive, he created the 2023 GM Mock Draft. The duo alternated the picks, and Spielman once again made the Vikings pick, even if it’s just in theory this time.

The former Vikings boss sent his longtime employer wide receiver Quentin Johnston out of TCU. Johnston is a 21-year-old physical freak receiver.

Cornerback was under consideration for this pick, but Johnston was just too good to pass up for the Minnesota Vikings. Johnston is a long, rangy, athletic receiver with great speed down the field. He also does an excellent job with the ball in his hands after the catch.

The Vikings cut Adam Thielen but still need a partner to go with Justin Jefferson, making Johnston the right choice.

Rick Spielman

Cornerback is indeed a significant need. Just last year, Minnesota picked two CBs in the draft but other than free agent addition Byron Murphy, the team doesn’t have anyone who is a sure thing. Akayleb Evans, Andrew Booth, Kalon Branes, Joejuan Williams, and Tay Gowan are hardly starting-caliber unless someone can make a big step.

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However, a wideout is also a need. Adam Thielen was released and hasn’t been replaced. The Vikings have K.J. Osborn on the roster. He recorded 655 and 650 yards in the last two seasons, a decent number for a WR3. If he can take over the WR2 duties on the other side of Justin Jefferson is debatable, and Jalen Nailor, Jalen Reagor, Blake Proehl, Brandon Powell, and Trishton Jackson shouldn’t be required to play a big number of downs in 2023. Someone has to play the second receiver role and take some pressure off Justin Jefferson.

Johnston is regarded as one of the top receivers in this year’s class. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Zay Flowers, and Jordan Addison are other players mentioned in that group. The last two are undersized players with the explosiveness to do some damage but lack the size to be considered top outside receivers. Smith-Njigba mainly played in the slot for Ohio State.

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Meanwhile, the star wideout from TCU is a big-bodied WR with exciting physical tools. He is 6’3″ and weighs 208 pounds while running a 4.52 40-yard dash and recording a 40.5-inch vertical. He drew some Alshon Jeffery comparisons, and that catch radius paired with the double teams thrown at Jefferson is a scary thought.

On the flip side, he has shown some inconsistent production in TCU’s offense. Johnston should be more productive than having just over four catches a game and six touchdowns in 14 contests. His hands are a concern for some draft pundits. Nevertheless, his physical tools and potential are intriguing. Only a handful of physical freaks like Johnston are in the NFL. He’s a rare specimen.

Johnston recorded 1,069 yards and 6 touchdowns last season and is the third receiver to come off the board in the mock draft.

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Spielman’s track record with WRs is a mixed bag. He managed to draft Jefferson out of LSU in 2020, partly because of huge blunders by other teams. The Eagles famously chose Reagor with him on the board.

Another Spielman pick, however, was Laquon Treadwell in 2016. The Vikings needed a receiver, and he picked the best one on his board in a horrendous receiver class. Treadwell is currently a free agent. His next team could be his 7th NFL franchise.

In 2015, Spielman drafted Stefon Diggs in the fifth round in what turned out as one of the best picks of the last decade. The Vikings traded him away after five productive years and used the return to pick Jefferson.

Another wrinkle in the mock draft is Anthony Richardson. The exciting quarterback prospect went off the board later than most expect. Spielman envisions him going to Tampa Bay with the 19th overall pick. In that scenario, the Vikings would be in range to make a move to get their next franchise QB.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt