Rick Spielman Stoked about 1 Vikings Rookie

Rick Spielman's "Biggest Regret" Is Exactly What You'd Think
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

He’s not the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings anymore, but if he were, Rick Spielman would be particularly excited about one of the team’s rookies.

That’s running back DeWayne McBride from the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Rick Spielman Stoked about 1 Vikings Rookie

Spielman was the Vikings boss from 2006 to 2021 and is responsible for scooping talents out of the draft like Justin Jefferson, Stefon Diggs, Danielle Hunter, Percy Harvin, and even played a part in the selection of Adrian Peterson in 2007.

Rick Spielman Stoked
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For starters, this was the Vikings draft class last month:

  • R1: Jordan Addison (WR, USC)
  • R3: Mekhi Blackmon (CB, USC)
  • R4: Jay Ward (S, LSU)
  • R5: Jaquelin Roy (DT, LSU)
  • R5: Jaren Hall (QB, BYU)
  • R7: DeWayne McBride (RB, UAB)

And for Spielman, it was McBride who moved the needle the most. Spielman said this week that McBride was “probably the steal of the draft.”

“There were some off-the-field concerns, I believe, but nothing that I heard that off [set] teams’ boards. But the biggest issue with him was he is that he only caught two passes last year. Don’t know what his hands are like, but he’s a big, physical back with excellent vision that’s always going forward. Very productive as a runner,” Spielman added.

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VikingsTerritory is unaware of any off-the-field matters for McBride.

Via their actions this offseason, Minnesota has guaranteed it will run the football more in 2023, desiring balance in playcalling, unlike 2022 when the club ran the ball the third¬†least¬†leaguewide. Spielman’s successor, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, extended fullback C.J. Ham’s contract, signed a blocking tight end in Josh Oliver, and currently has five running backs on the roster. It may not be well-known yet, but Minnesota won’t rank near the bottom of the league for rush-play percentage this season.

McBride played in 31 games for UAB and recorded remarkable numbers, including 3,523 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns. His career average per run was 7.3 yards. But Spielman is correct — UAB quarterbacks virtually never threw the football McBride’s way. We shall see if that’s a ‘UAB thing’ or a negative facet of McBride’s skill set.

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The Vikings are expected to trade or release Dalvin Cook in the coming weeks, leaving Alexander Mattison, Ty Chander, Kene Nwangwu, and McBride to vie for RB1, RB2, and RB3 duties. VikingsTerritory’s Janik Eckardt boldly predicted this week that McBride could steal the RB1 gig. Eckardt hypothesized, “The Vikings turn to a true running back committee after the eventual Dalvin Cook trade, but rookie DeWayne McBride impresses in training camp and claims the starting spot.” It sounds like Eckardt and Spielman might agree.

McBride will turn 22 in July.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.