Vikings GM Spielman: It's all going according to plan

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 15, 2014 - 12:32 AM

The Vikings general manager is very pleased with how free agency has played out so far.

hide

Vikings GM Rick Spielman is used to being boxed in by the media, as he was Jan. 17 after Mike Zimmer was introduced as the new coach. But Spielman said he won’t be boxed in at drafting a quarterback if there is a significant player at another position available.

Shortly after filling another need by re-signing receiver Jerome Simpson to a one-year deal, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman surfaced via conference call Friday afternoon to declare the first seven days of free agency a successful venture that upgraded the league’s worst scoring defense and gave the franchise the flexibility it needs to stay true to its draft board come May.

“We had a specific plan in place,” said Spielman, “and we’re very pleased how that plan came together.”

The plan started on Day 1 of the three-day negotiating period on March 8, when the Vikings re-signed quarterback Matt Cassel and defensive end Everson Griffen. Both were important, but the Cassel re-signing set the tone because the Vikings weren’t sure he’d come back after opting out of his previous contract. And that was discomforting for a team that could be ill-positioned to take a quarterback in the first round.

“I think that was a huge piece to this whole thing,” Spielman said. “That got us going in the right direction.”

Adding nose tackle Linval Joseph and cornerbacks Captain Munnerlyn and Derek Cox infused three youngsters into an aged defense, while Simpson, who was second on the team with a career-high 726 yards receiving last season, gives the Vikings four experienced receivers under contract.

Holes in the roster remain, with the most obvious being left guard, where the team still is pursuing free agents, including incumbent Charlie Johnson. But one week into free agency, Spielman feels comfortable that the moves he’s made will enable him to draft the best players available, regardless of position.

“It sure helps you head into the draft not to get boxed in [where] you’ve got to take this position,” Spielman said. “Now we have that flexibility to see how the draft is going to fall. … We feel we have a good start, but by no means is this what our 53-man roster is going to look like.”

Although the Vikings now will shift into the next phase of free agency, the action won’t come to a standstill. Spielman said the team has some free-agent visits scheduled for next week and will be monitoring the market, looking for bargains that could be had for one-year deals and trying to project which players might end up being post-June 1 roster casualties.

“It’s pedal to the metal,” Spielman said. “It never ends. That’s the exciting part because this is the time of year with free agency and the draft that you’ve got to improve your ballclub. … We’re not saying by any means that we’re completely finished, because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Spielman also touched on a variety of other topics. Here are some highlights:

On the new run-stuffing nose tackle Joseph not getting enough credit as a pass rusher: “People say, ‘Oh, he’s a great run stuffer,’ but he’s very athletic for his size. In fact, we had him in here for a top-30 [visit in 2010] when he was coming out in the draft. We feel not only is he going to help us stop the run, but also has enough power and athletic ability, enough quickness to get upfield as a pass rusher.”

On whether he has ruled out bringing free-agent defensive tackle Kevin Williams back for a 12th season: “I’ve talked to his agent a few days ago. We’re continuing to monitor that. There’s no decision that’s been made. I told him we’d leave it open, that we were trying to address some other needs that we definitely wanted to get done first.”

On his plans at left guard and whether they include Johnson or Jeff Baca, a sixth-round draft pick a year ago: “We’re excited about where Jeff has come. We’re working to try and sign Charlie back. I know he’s got a couple of teams that are interested in him as well. I think the more depth you can accumulate on that offensive line, it really helps your ballclub. That’s an area that we’ll probably address in the draft as well. ... But we’d love to have Charlie Johnson back as well.”

On Bears free-agent defensive tackle Henry Melton, who left his visit with the Vikings without a contract and continued on with his plan to visit Seattle and Dallas: “[He wants] to see what’s out there, but we’ve contacted his agent as well and just monitoring it as it goes along.”

On quarterback Christian Ponder’s future: “Christian is under contract here. He’ll be out here participating when we get out here on April 7. I know he’s going to get an opportunity to compete.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 114 FINAL
LA Lakers 108
LA Clippers 107 FINAL
Golden State 125
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close