Spielman: Most important free agents will be his own

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 21, 2013 - 9:09 PM

Rick Spielman.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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INDIANAPOLIS - For those anticipating a Vikings shopping spree when the NFL's free-agent market opens next month, General Manager Rick Spielman delivered another reminder Thursday that the team's plan is to build mostly through the draft with only a few selective moves in free agency.

Speaking at the NFL combine, Spielman stated once again that many of the Vikings' most significant free-agency moves may come through the re-signing of their own players.

The Vikings have 10 players eligible to hit unrestricted free agency March 12, including Pro Bowl fullback Jerome Felton, right tackle Phil Loadholt and linebackers Jasper Brinkley and Erin Henderson.

"You have a lot more success when you sign your own players as unrestricted free agents," Spielman said. "Because you know them the best. And if you screw up signing one of your own guys and he doesn't pan out, then that's a fault on you."

Spielman's philosophy on avoiding expensive free-agent moves has salary cap strategy to it. But the GM also understands that the time line for free agents to adjust to a new team, a new system and a new environment can also be iffy.

Peterson doing fine

Spielman also fielded questions Thursday on his two biggest offensive playmakers: Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson.

Probed for new detail on the possibility of Harvin being traded, Spielman offered his now well-rehearsed reply. "We have no intent on trading Percy Harvin," he said.

Pressed on whether that intent meant the Vikings absolutely wouldn't trade Harvin, Spielman refused to go that far.

As for Peterson, who underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia two weeks ago, there is no fear that the injury will hinder his participation in offseason workouts, organized team activities or minicamp.

"He'll be ready," Spielman said.

Playing catch-up

The NFC North's newest boss, Chicago's Marc Trestman, is in the early stages of a unique challenge. Not only is he a first-time NFL head coach, but he's also been out of the league for more than eight years. His last NFL post was as quarterbacks coach with the Dolphins in 2004. Since then, he's had stops in the ACC and the CFL. And now he's back, busy familiarizing himself with a Bears team that went 10-6 in 2012 but missed the playoffs.

Trestman, a St. Louis Park native and former Gophers quarterback, admits that getting used to personnel has kept him in hyperactive catch-up mode since his hiring last month.

Said Trestman: "I don't feel behind in the football and X's and O's side. But certainly in the personnel side, I've got some work to do. ... When I left the league, you know everybody in the league. You know how your personnel matches up in your division and your conference and throughout the league. That's a big part of it."

Draft pick allotment

The NFL has unveiled the tentative pick-by-pick order for April's draft. And on the opening two days, the Vikings will pick 23rd, 52nd and 83rd overall. The six selections the organization currently has for Day 3 won't have official slots until the NFL announces compensatory picks at the league meetings next month. Those selections will be tacked on to the ends of Rounds 3 and 7.

The Vikings are not in line to receive any compensatory picks and will have the fifth and 23rd picks of the fourth round; the 22nd pick in Round 5; the 21st selection in Round 6; and picks 7 and 23 in Round 7.

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