Sid Hartman: Spending big isn't Rick Spielman's style

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 25, 2012 - 7:57 AM

The Vikings general manager appears to be putting more emphasis on the draft instead of the free-agent market.

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Rick Spielman

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While Rick Spielman has had his critics because the Vikings general manager hasn't made a big splurge in signing free agents this offseason, the past record of teams spending big money hasn't worked out in many cases.

"We're again taking it slow," Spielman said. "We're not going to go out -- I just don't believe in going out and spending a lot of big money on one or two free agents.

"I think the best way you continually build your roster is to have solid drafts. We had a very good draft last year, and a lot of those young kids will come into their second year and have to contribute.

"Hopefully this year, we'll be able to have that same type of draft, because I know we have potentially another 10 picks coming in. You want to create competition, so we're going to look at some of these lower-end free agents to come in and possible compete with the other young players we have on our roster."

Spielman said the Vikings, some $15 million under the salary cap, still might sign some free agents.

"There are some guys that will come in and compete at different positions if we're able to get them," he said. "We're looking to upgrade in a lot of different areas, but a lot of times you can get those upgrades accomplished without the high-name guys or high-priced guys. You can find value in some guys at different positions, potentially offensive line or getting some competition in at fullback or looking at some potential returners out there. I also know the depth of this draft, and we're going to be able to fill a lot of needs with young players in this draft."

Spielman, Vikings coaches and Vikings scouts continue to attend campus pro days of players who will be eligible for the April draft.

This past week, Spielman and Vikings coach Leslie Frazier were in Baton Rouge, La., to watch Louisiana State star cornerback Morris Claiborne. Spielman said the All-America put on a performance like he had never seen before.

So on that basis, the Vikings -- who I think are very unlikely to trade during the draft -- will have the tough choice of selecting either tackle Matt Kalil of Southern California or Claiborne. I think they will take Kalil to protect their investment in quarterback Christian Ponder from the left tackle position.

However, Spielman said that if somebody comes up with an offer like the one Washington made to St. Louis to get quarterback Robert Griffin III -- a deal that gave the Rams three first-round picks and a second-round pick -- he has to listen.

Excited for Cook to return

Regarding cornerback Chris Cook, who was found not guilty of domestic assault and is now back on the Vikings roster, Spielman said: "We had Chris in the office the other day, and I talked to him and Coach Frazier talked to him, he met with our staff.

"We are very excited about getting Chris Cook back, not only to help us on the football field, but we think Chris Cook is a very good person, and we really believe that he's moving on and going to be a better person."

The 2010 second-round pick was inactive for the final 10 games of last season after his arrest, but the Vikings left him on the roster.

"We're pleased that this has all come to a resolution, and now we're looking forward to what Chris has learned, and he's looking forward to moving on," Spielman said. "I know he's grown from this experience. He was very proactive in doing some things and making sure that he's going to be not only a better football player but a better person as well.

"Sometimes you have to go through some hard lessons to give you a wake-up call, if there was a wake-up call. But you go through some tough times sometimes, and sometimes coming out of those situations really makes you a stronger and better person."

Asked proper questions

A poll asking citizens of Minnesota how they feel about the proposal to build a new Vikings stadium asked the proper questions, and the result was that more than 60 percent of those polled are in favor of the Vikings getting a new downtown Minneapolis home.

The poll was conducted by a very respected firm, Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. of Washington, D.C. It was commissioned by Home Field Advantage, a consortium of Minneapolis business and community leaders.

It's pretty obvious that the Minneapolis City Council holds the key to whether the stadium bill is passed by the present Legislature.

Like I keep on contending, the Vikings would use the stadium only 10 game days plus the playoffs, leaving the rest of the year for major events outside of the NFL. If the stadium naysayers would check what happened in Indianapolis and Dallas after those cities got their new stadiums, they would have a good idea of what would happen here.

Jottings

University of Minnesota Regent Richard Beeson gave President Eric Kaler credit for his great job of lobbying a legislative committee, which voted in favor in favor of allowing the university to sell alcohol in TCF Bank Stadium suites and also allowing for a beer garden to operate inside the stadium.

Now that Erin Henderson is back with the Vikings, they have only one more of their own free agents they want to sign: his brother and fellow linebacker, E.J. Henderson, who would be spending his 10th year with the team.

Former Gophers running back Marion Barber III announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday. Barber, who made $2.25 million last season with the Bears, became a Gopher on the last scholarship for his class on a great decision by coach Glen Mason, and what a career he had.

Royce White will almost certainly be a first-round pick in the 2012 NBA draft after the former Hopkins star's strong season with Iowa State, which ended with his excellent game in the NCAA tournament against Kentucky and one of the best frontcourts in the country. White said last week he would sign with an agent and turn pro, and many websites project him to be a mid-to-late first-round selection.

Former Gophers infielder Jack Hannahan has been competing for the Indians starting third base job this spring with Lonnie Chisenhall but has been sidelined for the past week by lower back tightness. Hannahan, who returned to full baseball activities Friday, is hitting only .222 this spring, but he has been praised repeatedly by manager Manny Acta for his fielding.

John Gaub made his major league debut with the Cubs last year as a September call-up, but the former Gophers lefthander was sent to minor league camp by Chicago on March 15.

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    • University of Minnesota Regent Richard Beeson gave President Eric Kaler credit for his great job of lobbying a legislative committee, which voted in favor of allowing the university to...

  • LSU defensive back Morris Claiborne put on an impressive display in front of Vikings officials, but is he worth the No. 3 pick?

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Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Chicago 6:00 PM
Cleveland
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Washington
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
New York
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
Charlotte 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Memphis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Tampa Bay 8:30 PM
Edmonton
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
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(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
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
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