Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Spielman on the draft, Ponder and Bradford rumors

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated: May 6, 2014 - 3:12 PM

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman met with the media today to discuss Thursday’s NFL draft, something he says can’t come any sooner.

“I know all weekend I’m in here shooting more holes in these players,” Spielman said. “How many more times and how much more film can you see?”

Spielman did say the draft getting pushed back two weeks was beneficial in that it gave him extra time to catch up on the scouting process after a throughout coaching search that led to the hire of Mike Zimmer.

“It’s been so long this process, and you guys have got to be tired of writing about this draft and the mock scenarios,” Spielman said. “And we’re tired, too. It’s been an extra-long time but [we’re] also very prepared.”

Before the afternoon media session, Spielman and members of the brain trust had gone through four hours of mock scenarios, including trading up and trading down. Spielman says the Vikings don’t know who they will select with the eighth overall draft pick, but he has a hunch that he hasn’t shared with anyone and certainly wasn’t going to share with us today.

Spielman, who admitted “I love to be active on draft day,” has started getting calls about his first-round pick. Some teams have asked about his second-rounder and fourth-rounder, too.

“I know there’s been a lot of calls coming in just on feelers,” Spielman said. “I had three yesterday. I already had two texts today. So everybody is just now starting to line up their dance partners.”

Spielman talked a lot about quarterbacks, including the two on his roster and one who currently plays football in St. Louis, and he mentioned that this quarterback class is deep.

Spielman said the decision to pass on Christian Ponder’s fifth-year option was to keep the team’s options open heading into 2015 and to maintain financial flexibility. He also emphatically said that the Vikings have no plans to trade Ponder before or during the draft.

“Christian is a still a very young quarterback,” Spielman said. “He has shown flashes but he just hasn’t been consistent as you wanted yet.”

He also shot down the rumor/report that the Vikings talked to the Rams about Sam Bradford.

“That is not true,” Spielman said. “I have not had any specific talks with the Rams.”

As for the quarterback class, Spielman said selecting Ponder with the 12th pick in 2011 won’t deter him from taking a chance on a quarterback or any other player if he feels they are worth the risk.

“You can’t be afraid,” he said. “Regardless of position, if there is a guy there you have strong feelings for whether it’s [pick] eight or 40 or wherever it is or 16, then you take him. The one thing you cannot be afraid of in this job is to take chances and take risks on guys you feel strongly about.”

Spielman did not unveil his draft board to us unfortunately, but he did acknowledge that linebacker is a position the Vikings will likely address.

And asked specifically about Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who is being linked to the Vikings in mock drafts, Spielman said that the presence of 2013 first-round pick Sharrif Floyd, whom he gave a vote of confidence to, “does not preclude us from taking another in-line pass rusher.” Spielman pointed out that you can never have enough pass rushers, especially considering how often teams are in nickel and other sub packages in today’s NFL.

So who will the Vikings pick eighth overall? We’ll mercifully find out in a little over 48 hours.


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78


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