Rick Spielman met with local beat reporters this morning and assured us all that the Vikings have a plan in place for the looming offseason. Unfortunately, Spielman did not share many specifics of that plan with us. But the GM did give some insight on how the Vikings might proceed.
The front office and coaching staff spent the past six weeks taking a long look at their roster and then compared their players to the ones who are expected to be available next month in free agency and in April’s draft.
While he noted that “everyone gets riled up” if the Vikings don’t make a splash on the first day of free agency, Spielman did seem open to being active after a disappointing season that saw them go from 5-0 to .500.
“I hate failure with a passion,” said Spielman, still dwelling on last season.
The Vikings put a price on every free agent and are leery of committing to long-term contracts that could cost them dearly down the road. But they did also sign nose tackle Linval Joseph, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and guard Alex Boone early in free agency during the past three years.
Spielman acknowledged the offensive line is an area the Vikings have to address. He conducted a study looking into the correlation between when a lineman is drafted and how successful those players were at the NFL level. Unsurprisingly, he concluded that a “much lower percentage” of the linemen picked after the first three rounds became quality starters.
Spielman also acknowledged that the Vikings have selected only two linemen in the early rounds, Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt, since 2006.
So, yes, the Vikings will be eying the top offensive linemen early in April’s draft. But as Spielman said, “there are other holes on this roster, too.”
Now that the Vikings have pretty much set their draft board, Spielman believes this a good draft for tight ends, corners and safeties. As for the tailbacks? He said it is the strongest class he has ever seen — noteworthy because they have a decision to make on a certain $18 million man.
Spielman acknowledged that Adrian Peterson has a “significant” salary on the books for 2017, but he would not say what the Vikings plan to do about it. (We’ve reported the obvious, that there is no way Peterson plays at that salary.) Spielman said the decision on Peterson has not yet been made, but no matter what happens, Adrian will “always be a Viking.”
Spielman was also noncommittal when asked twice about whether the Vikings will look to give quarterback Sam Bradford a contract extension, though he later mentioned Bradford when listing a handful of key players who will be due for new contracts in the next couple of offseasons.
And the Bradford question prompted him to veer to Teddy Bridgewater, who still has no recovery timeline and has not been cleared to throw or do other football activities. Asked if he was 100 percent certain that the 24-year-old would play again, Spielman couldn’t say with certainty.
During the hour-long chat with reporters, Spielman also said he expects an announcement from linebacker Chad Greenway about his future in the next couple of weeks, that the Vikings have not closed the door on left tackle Matt Kalil, and that defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, still rehabbing his knee injury from last season, is still under contract with the Vikings.