Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman once again is taking bows for accumulating extra selections in the NFL draft. Never mind that all of his machinations led to the added selections coming in the seventh round, which in reality is nothing more than getting a head start on signing undrafted free agents.
The Vikings had eight choices entering the draft: one in the 2nd, two in the 3rd, two in the 4th and one apiece in the 5th, 6th and 7th. Spielman was scheduled to have three selections in the top 86 -- meaning three in the first two days of the draft and five on Saturday.
The Vikings wound up making 11 choices in the draft: one in the 2nd, one in the 3rd, two in the 4th, two in the 5th, one in the 6th and four in the 7th. Spielman wound up making his third selection at No. 109 – meaning two selections in the first two days and nine on Saturday.
Spielman made four selections among the first 169 players taken in the draft, two choices from 170 to 180, and then five of his choices came in the final 53 players taken in the draft.
He made four of his choices among the first 67 percent of the draftees, and five choices among the final 20 percent of the draftees, and now the Vikings’ homers want to have another parade to honor his genius as a draft manipulator.
There is that whole 2016 draft thing, but let’s forget it and celebrate Rick’s dominance of the 2017 seventh round.
The only real reason for any laudatory review of Spielman’s work in this draft is that the Vikings were able to land Dalvin Cook, the gifted running back from Florida State. Cook still was available early in the second round because of what the NFL calls “character issues.’’
That’s the default term for league officials, personnel people and television’s trained NFL draft analysts for criminals and other dunderheads: “character issues.’’
In the NFL’s world, Aaron Hernandez had character issues.
Cook’s background included a charge of hitting a woman at a bar and a citation for mistreating pit bull puppies.
Spielman’s initial comment to the assembled media on Friday was that Cook was never “charged’’ in the incident with the woman, and it was dropped in less than 30 minutes.
Actually, Cook was charged, it went to trial and the jury came back with a not guilty verdict within 30 minutes in a he-said, she-said situation.
The most-talented running back available, Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon, was the pariah of this draft because there was video of him punching a woman and doing considerable damage to her face.
Spielman was able to move a few places to get Cincinnati’s choice at No. 41 overall for a simple reason:
Mike Brown, the Bengals boss who cares nothing about what the media and the public have to say, knew he could let the Vikings have Cook and that nobody was going to touch Mixon before he took him at No. 48.
For this, Spielman gave Brown a fourth-rounder, and Brown got the running back he wanted anyway.
Spielman kept wheeling and dealing and wound up with nine selections on Saturday, when he was originally scheduled for five.
“Rick, Rick, he’s our man,’’ came the cheers from Purpleville, except Rick’s bonanza came in the final 20 percent of the draft, where you can find those vital pieces needed to fill out a practice squad (or, if you're lucky, the Sunday inactive list).