Vikings GM Spielman weary from waiting for draft

  • Article by: MATT VENSEL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 7, 2014 - 7:40 AM

Rick Spielman just spent most of another May morning going through draft-day scenarios when he met with reporters Tuesday afternoon. For once, it looked as if he welcomed the distraction.

“It’s been so long, this process,” the Vikings general manager said. “You got to be tired of writing about this draft and the mocks, all the scenarios. We’re tired, too. It’s been an extra-long time, but [we’re] also very prepared.”

The NFL draft is two weeks later than usual, giving Spielman time to catch up on draft prospects — particularly a large group of underclassmen — after the thorough coaching search that led to the hiring of coach Mike Zimmer.

But as the draft preparation stretched into May, Spielman found himself in his office nitpicking players more than he probably should.

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

Still, Spielman tried to make the most of this extra time. He and his staff continue to run through countless mock draft scenarios to prepare themselves for what is expected to be an unpredictable first round Thursday night. He also has been chatting up his NFL peers.

Spielman said he has a pretty good idea who the Vikings will select in the first round.

“But I’m going to keep that to myself ’til Thursday,” he said with a smirk.

And Thursday can’t some soon enough.

“It still seems like forever,” he said, later adding, “I think everybody is just anxious and ready to go.”

Phone still ringing

Spielman says the Vikings are getting calls not only about their eighth overall pick, but also their second-round pick and their fourth-round pick.

“Everybody is just kind of starting to line up their dance partners,” Spielman said.

While Spielman is interested in accumulating more picks, he won’t pass up a chance to add a high-impact rookie.

“If there’s a guy there that we say we don’t want to pass, he’s too big an impact for us, we’re going to take him,” he said. “If I can see there’s depth if we drop back X amount of spots, we’re still going to get a good football player, I would love to do that and pick up extra picks if I can.”

Waiting for QB?

Spielman said he feels this draft features a deep class of quarterbacks and said the Vikings have ones they like in pretty much every round.

“I would say if we covet a quarterback at [pick] eight, and let’s say the next quarterback we would not touch until the second round, we’re going to sit there and be patient and wait,” he said. “If he comes to us, great. If not, we’ll get another very good football player and move on.”

Spielman was asked if he learned any lessons from taking Christian Ponder at No. 12 in 2011.

“You can’t be afraid,” Spielman said. “Regardless of position, if there’s a guy there that you have strong feelings for, whether it’s at [pick] eight or 40 or 16, then you take him.

‘‘I mean, the one thing you cannot be afraid at this job is to take chances or take risks on guys that you feel strongly about.”

Etc.

• Spielman shot down a report that said the Vikings spoke with the St. Louis Rams about trading for quarterback Sam Bradford. “I have not had any specific talks with the Rams,” he said.

• Spielman said the Vikings decided to pass on Ponder’s 2015 option to give the team flexibility. He also emphatically said the Vikings have no plans to trade Ponder.

• Last year’s first pick of three first-round selections, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, got a vote of confidence, but Spielman said Floyd’s presence “does not preclude us from taking another in-line pass rusher,” such as Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

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