Souhan: Spielman's record in NFL drafts is excellent

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 26, 2013 - 12:22 PM

Rick Spielman has altered his persona in Minnesota, becoming more down-to-earth and successful that anyone would have imagined.

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Vikings general manager Rick Spielman

When Rick Spielman arrived in Minnesota, he came across as an intense, sometimes socially awkward executive who shunned attention and carried an iffy résumé after making a series of questionable decisions in Miami.

He rarely spoke in public and when he did, he’d begin most sentences with the word “again,” as if, in his mind, he had answered every question a dozen times.

Spielman has altered his persona in Minnesota, becoming more down-to-earth and successful than anyone would have imagined. Thursday night, the best word to describe his latest work was “again.”

He again capitalized on a free-falling prospect, taking Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. He again tried to stuff his roster with athletic cornerbacks, this time taking Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes. He again proved aggressive, trading four draft picks to move into the first round at the end of the night, and taking Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

NFL executives love to tell you they were surprised that players became available to them in the draft. The Vikings weren’t lying Thursday.

Nobody expected Floyd to fall to the 23rd pick in the draft. And while Spielman was detailing his surprise at a podium in the Vikings’ fieldhouse, assistant public relations director Tom West motioned to him, waving a phone. Spielman sprinted back to the team’s draft room. At the same time, coach Leslie Frazier was conducting a radio interview, and he, too, was summoned.

The Patriots offered Spielman a chance to trade his second, third, fourth and seventh-round picks for the 29th selection. The Vikings craved Patterson because of his raw athletic ability and-returning prowess. They paid a high price to get him, but this was the result of their gamble.

In one day, the Vikings added three high-end talents to key positions. Just as important, they did not get lured into the trap of taking the overrated Manti Te’o.

Spielman has conducted six drafts, this being his second with the title of “general manager.” His first-round picks, before Thursday, have been Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Christian Ponder, Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith. He traded his other first-round picks for Jared Allen.

The three first-round picks Spielman made on Thursday could prove surgical.

The Vikings have never replaced nose tackle Pat Williams. While Floyd is more of an under-tackle than a nose tackle, Frazier is sure to find a way to play Floyd and Kevin Williams together.

The Vikings need to replace the departed Antoine Winfield, one of the best players in recent franchise history. Rhodes can’t be expected to match Winfield’s contributions, but he is a big, strong cornerback who could match up well in a division filled with physical receivers.

The Vikings need to replace Percy Harvin, and Patterson will immediately take over as a primary kick returner. Patterson is also likely to catch a lot of short passes the way Harvin did, although it would be foolish to compare anyone as raw as Patterson with the remarkably savvy Harvin.

Spielman has made his bones taking players who have fallen inexplicably in the draft.

Peterson somehow fell to the seventh pick because of a broken collarbone, one of the silliest chapters in the history of the draft. Harvin fell to the 22nd pick because of his defiant personality, and became a player who almost helped the Vikings to the Super Bowl as a rookie and became an MVP candidate last season before he was injured. Everson Griffen may have fallen to the fourth round in 2010 because of his partying. Early last year, Peterson, Harvin and Griffen may have been three of the Vikings’ five most gifted players.

Because Spielman paid a high price to Patriots boss Bill Belichick to acquire Patterson, the assumption around the league will be that Belichick fleeced another desperate GM. That’s presumptuous at best.

Spielman helped build a roster that should have won the Super Bowl in 2009, and he has helped the Vikings rebuild rapidly after their fall from grace.

Thursday night, Spielman did good work in the first round. That’s no longer a surprise.

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Toronto 1 Top 6th Inning
NY Yankees 2
Washington 2 Top 7th Inning
Miami 0
NY Mets 5 Bottom 5th Inning
Atlanta 0
Boston 1 Top 5th Inning
Baltimore 0
Milwaukee 0 Top 6th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Chicago WSox 4 Top 5th Inning
Tampa Bay 0
Cleveland 0 Top 3rd Inning
Minnesota 1
Detroit 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Kansas City 1
Seattle 0 Top 3rd Inning
Houston 1
Los Angeles 2 Top 2nd Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
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LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Philadelphia - A. Burnett 3:05 PM
Oakland - S. Kazmir
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong 3:10 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Arizona - W. Miley 3:10 PM
Colorado - C. Bergman
Cincinnati - A. Simon 7:05 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
San Diego 20 3rd Qtr 7:18
Buffalo 3
Dallas 17 3rd Qtr 7:37
St. Louis 21
Washington 20 3rd Qtr 12:03
Philadelphia 24
Houston 3 3rd Qtr 6:09
NY Giants 17
Minnesota 9 3rd Qtr 6:43
New Orleans 13
Tennessee 0 3rd Qtr 8:05
Cincinnati 19
Baltimore 10 3rd Qtr 5:59
Cleveland 14
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Detroit 12
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Arizona
Denver 3:25 PM
Seattle
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Miami
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Carolina
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Carolina 2
Buffalo 4:00 PM
Washington
St. Louis 5:30 PM
Columbus
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Edmonton
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Calgary
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
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(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 2:00 PM
Toronto FC
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 9:21
Montreal 15
Ottawa 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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