Jim Souhan: Spielman deserves to do a bit of dancing

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 4, 2013 - 12:11 AM

The Vikings GM continues to make exceptionally savvy moves.

hide

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

What if NFL executives behaved like NFL wide receivers?

What if, after an NFL general manager’s hotly-debated decision turned out better than an Apple stock option in 1979, he felt emboldened to execute a touchdown dance? Maybe rub his rear end against a goalpost, ala Randy Moss? Maybe reprise the Ickey Shuffle?

If so, a certain Viking employee should be dancing the Ricky Shuffle.

He won’t, of course, either physically or metaphorically. To imagine Rick Spielman dancing is to imagine Bill Gates rapping.

Spielman doesn’t exult. He just makes sensible and often prescient decisions.

This winter, the guy who drafted Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Phil Loadholt, John Sullivan, Kyle Rudolph, Blair Walsh, Sidney Rice, Harrison Smith and Matt Kalil faced two choices certain to offend a portion of his locker room and a portion of his fan base.

Spielman had to decide whether to keep Antoine Winfield and Percy Harvin, two of the best players in the NFL over the past five years.

Winfield is a tremendous professional. Harvin is wildly unprofessional. Winfield is a technician. Harvin is an irrepressible talent. They shared these characteristics: They were spectacular, if undersized, players, they would be difficult to replace, and keeping them would be as risky as ditching them.

Winfield has done everything within his power to extend his remarkable career, but he’s a 36-year-old cornerback. Harvin lashed out against Brad Childress and Leslie Frazier, who might be the nicest coach in NFL history.

Spielman had to decide: Keep them because of their talent, or pressure yourself to replace them?

Spielman cut them loose.

Winfield was cut to free up salary space during free agency. Spielman wanted Winfield back only if he was willing to take a bargain contract. Winfield, a prideful man, signed with the Seahawks. Reports out of Seattle suggest he’ll either be a role player or may have trouble making the team. In other words, Spielman made the right decision.

He traded Harvin to the Seahawks for three draft picks, including a first-rounder in 2013. At the time of the deal, the Seahawks believed they had stolen a great player, and a more than a few Vikings, including Peterson, agreed.

Neither the Vikings nor the Seahawks could have known that Harvin would wind up missing most of the 2013 season because of a hip injury, but Spielman must have felt confident that something would happen to Harvin, whether it be continued migraines and attitude problems or an injury that seems inevitable for a player who plays so violently with such a small frame.

Whatever would happen to Winfield and Harvin with their new team, Spielman was obliged to replace what they used to provide for his team.

He used the Vikings’ first pick in the 2013 draft on the proverbial best player available, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who has impressed during training camp.

He used the 25th pick, acquired in the Harvin deal, to take the best cornerback available. Xavier Rhodes should be in the starting lineup by Opening Day.

He dealt his way back into the first round to take the most talented receiver available, Cordarrelle Patterson, with the 29th pick. Patterson’s size and explosive talent could allow him to replace Harvin’s presence as a kick returner and catch-and-run receiver.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis - WP: L. Lynn 4 FINAL
Washington - LP: J. Zimmermann 3
Toronto - WP: M. Buehrle 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 0
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 5
Baltimore - LP: B. Norris 2 FINAL
Boston - WP: J. Tazawa 4
Minnesota - LP: K. Correia 4 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: B. Chen 5
Cincinnati - LP: T. Cingrani 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: E. Jackson 8
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: D. Otero 4
Milwaukee - WP: J. Henderson 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Grilli 7
Atlanta - WP: E. Santana 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 5
NY Yankees - LP: I. Nova 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 16
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 0 FINAL
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 7
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Quintana 3 FINAL
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 6
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. Lyles 3
Arizona - LP: M. Bolsinger 6 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren 8
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 3
Brooklyn 94 FINAL
Toronto 87
Golden State 109 FINAL
LA Clippers 105
Atlanta 101 FINAL
Indiana 93
Memphis 86 FINAL
Oklahoma City 100
Chicago 3 FINAL(OT)
St. Louis 4
Columbus 4 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 3
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Colorado 4
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 1 FINAL
Chicago 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Colorado 0
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Columbus 1
Toronto FC 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 0 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 4
Portland 0 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Chivas USA 1
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which quarterback is best in the NFL draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close