Hartman: Vikings GM Spielman stands by belief in draft

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 19, 2013 - 9:06 PM

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said the team is in the initial process of evaluating personnel like it did last year, a process that led to the team's drastic improvement from a 3-13 record in 2011 to 10-6 and an NFC wild-card berth this season.

"We'll be open, upfront and honest," Spielman said. "We'll evaluate each guy, evaluate where we're at as an organization and what we need to do to improve from what we did last year. Again, the only reason you're in this business -- and it was great to see the strides that we have made -- but again, until you win that Super Bowl, you have to get better. Then the next year it's a whole new year.

"There will be some new faces here, again. Our coaches did a great job this year of developing and bringing in these young players and how they all contributed. We're going to have another eight and potentially maybe more draft picks, and we have to do as good of a job or a better job with this draft and bringing in players."

One difference facing the Vikings front office is that the team had 19 free agents last year and didn't sign any, while this year it has 10 and at least half of them made a significant impact in the Vikings' improvement this season, such as Erin Henderson, Phil Loadholt, Jamarca Sanford and Jerome Felton.

Another problem facing Spielman is the salary cap, with most of those important free agents looking for big raises, and a player such as defensive end Jared Allen scheduled to make $14 million on the last year of his contract. And if they are to keep Percy Harvin, the Vikings will have to offer him a big contract similar to that of Adrian Peterson's seven-year, $100 million deal.

GM likes Webb

While most experts believe the Vikings need a backup quarterback other than Joe Webb, Spielman won't hold his bad performance in the playoffs at Green Bay against him, insisting he likes Webb in the role.

"Joe has been a very good backup quarterback," Spielman said. "I'm sure, as everybody has seen, that he probably didn't play the way he wanted to play up in Green Bay. But if you look into his history, that's what you have to do, the things he did when he came into the Washington game a year ago, what he did in Detroit the game Christian got hurt, what he did in Philadelphia when we got stuck two years ago.

"Joe has done a very good job for us in that backup situation. But he just didn't probably play as well as he wanted to play, and overall we didn't play as well as we needed to play up in Green Bay that night."

Spielman also likes the future of third-string quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who didn't see any action this season.

"Bethel was a UFL kid, got a big arm, a lot of promise," Spielman said. "Coaches did a great job working with him through training camp. He flashed some of the ability that he has in that last preseason game against Houston and really has made some progress."

But Spielman said the QBs and all the others players will be evaluated, and he reiterated his belief in building a winner through the draft.

"I still believe in how you build a foundation for your football team and keep it competitive year in and year out is developing your draft picks and hitting on draft picks every year," he said. "Those are the guys that you're going to build your core football team with. If you can sprinkle in free agents here or there, you never know ... but for the most part, we're always going to try to build through the draft. Then as our guys eventually come out of their rookie contracts, those are the guys you want to keep because those are the guys, I think, that you know the best."

After one tremendous season as the first Vikings general manager since the days of Mike Lynn, Spielman looks like just the man to keep the team improving.

Caruso not moving

St. Thomas' Glenn Caruso, the Liberty Mutual NCAA Division III Coach of the Year three seasons in a row, said he is happy where he is and not looking for a another job.

"I'd be lying if I said that there weren't people that called to offer other jobs," said Caruso, who guided St. Thomas football to the D-III national championship game, where the Tommies lost to Mount Union 28-10 last month.

"But at this point, this is the right place for myself and this is the right place for my family, without a doubt. ... We've had several [offers]. We've had a couple in the last two years since our profile, the school's profile has gotten better as a football program. But I'm a big believer, when people call on you, and you see the success, it's probably more a function of St. Thomas than it is the coach."


• There was exciting news this week about Twins owner Bill Pohlad, one of the sons of the late Carl Pohlad. Bill has signed on as a director of the film "Love & Mercy," a biographical picture about Beach Boys star Brian Wilson, who incidentally is a relative of Kevin Love. Pohlad hasn't directed a film in more than 20 years, but he has produced such acclaimed films as "Brokeback Mountain" and "The Tree of Life."

• Andy Bischoff, a former Cretin- Derham Hall football coach who spent the past five seasons as a Montreal Alouettes assistant coach under Marc Trestman, has joined Trestman's staff with the Chicago Bears as tight ends coach.

• MLB Commissioner Bud Selig recently awarded the Twin Cities the Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities (R.B.I.) World Series for the third year in a row. The final again will be at Target Field. The ballpark also will be home to the Big Ten championships May 22-26 and state high school championship games on June 17.

Stadium Journey Magazine recently ranked the best stadium experiences in American sports. Xcel Energy Center ranked fifth while Target Field rated ninth out of 101 listed venues.

The Twins might have a better chance to sign veteran pitcher Joe Saunders now that he will be satisfied with a one- or two-year contract rather than a long-term one, which he was initially looking for.

Gophers men's hockey coach Don Lucia gives freshman goalie Adam Wilcox a lot of credit for the team's success. "Adam Wilcox has been the guy all season long. He has given us a chance to win every night he has played, and he's a big reason why we have the record that we do," Lucia said.

• Former Gophers offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch was hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the same role. He had been with the University of Miami the past two years.

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Tennessee 7:25 PM
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 89 FINAL
Toronto 105
Memphis 117 FINAL
San Antonio 116
Milwaukee 97 FINAL
Portland 104
Houston 115 FINAL
Denver 111
Indiana 100 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
Catawba 69 FINAL
George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
Gardner-Webb 65 FINAL
Jacksonville 68
Longwood 60 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
Ohio State 97
Manhattan 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
Char Southern 58 FINAL
Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
Detroit 70 FINAL
UCF 75
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 73
Denver 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 61 FINAL
Houston 56
UT Martin 54 FINAL
Illinois State 64
Milligan 76 FINAL
Louisiana 115
Abilene Christian 44 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 83
USC Upstate 73 FINAL
Memphis 83
Alcorn State 56 FINAL
Murray State 94
Central Mich 80 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Georgia State 54 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
TX-Pan American 69 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
SMU 67
Texas State 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 66
SC State 39 FINAL
Texas Tech 101
Missouri State 70 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Chicago State 60 FINAL
Western Ky 75
Morehead State 50 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Northern Colorado 82 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 92
Winthrop 62 FINAL
Auburn 80
New Mexico St 55 FINAL
Baylor 66
San Diego St 62 FINAL
Cincinnati 71
Eastern Mich 46 FINAL
Michigan State 66
Loyola Marymount 58 FINAL
Stanford 67
Incarnate Word 82 FINAL
Grand Canyon 80
Northeastern 58 FINAL
Cal Poly 60
Central Arkansas 55 FINAL
New Mexico 76
Howard 45 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Portland 73 FINAL
CS-Northridge 56 FINAL
Oregon 79
Grambling St 38 FINAL
Washington 86
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
Oklahoma 72 FINAL
(13) Duke 92
Savannah State 56 FINAL
Auburn 62
Northern Colorado 43 FINAL
South Florida 84
Youngstown St 73 FINAL
Robert Morris 65
Siena 75 FINAL
Sacred Heart 65
Vermont 63 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
(1) South Carolina 69 FINAL
Hampton 49
Fla Gulf Coast 91 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 46
Texas Southern 92 FINAL
Houston Baptist 80
Northwestern 88 FINAL
Appalachian St 72
NC Central 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 67
Drexel 50 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Northern Ky 66
Alabama State 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 77
Morehead St 69 FINAL
USC Upstate 75
Arkansas State 59 FINAL
Kent State 44
American Univ 60 FINAL
Manhattan 52
UNC Greensboro 60 FINAL
St Bonaventure 78
Arkansas-Monticello 56 FINAL
Northwestern St 61
Prairie View 70 FINAL
Sam Houston St 51
McNeese State 59 FINAL
(3) Texas 76
Yale 90 FINAL
Wagner 65
Oakland 61 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 54
Eastern Kentucky 62 FINAL
Alabama A&M 56
SIU-Edwardsville 47 FINAL
Northern Ill 69
McMurry 25 FINAL
TX-Arlington 82
Portland 65 FINAL
Eastern Washington 72
North Texas 42 FINAL
San Francisco 60
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




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