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.


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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New Orleans 28 FINAL
Carolina 10
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 105 FINAL
Orlando 98
Detroit 91 FINAL
Minnesota 97
New York 95 FINAL
Cleveland 90
Utah 102 FINAL
Dallas 120
Oklahoma City 90 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 2
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Chicago 5 FINAL(SO)
Ottawa 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Arizona 1 FINAL
Florida 2
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 4
Anaheim 0 FINAL
St. Louis 2
NY Islanders 0 FINAL
Colorado 5
Montreal 2 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:02 PM
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
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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 Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




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