Sid Hartman: Spielman says he won't be boxed in at drafting quarterback

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 9, 2014 - 12:39 AM

The GM believes the Vikings will benefit from a deep and talented draft pool.

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Vikings GM Rick Spielman is used to being boxed in by the media, as he was Jan. 17 after Mike Zimmer was introduced as the new coach. But Spielman said he won’t be boxed in at drafting a quarterback if there is a significant player at another position available.

According to Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, the recent NFL combine in Indianapolis indicated that this year’s draft will be loaded with good players.

“Very talented draft class this year, and as you go through the positions, you see the size and speed of some of these receivers that are coming out that are just going to be incredible, and you wonder, is there anyone that can cover them?” Spielman said. “Then you had the defensive backs and they had a very good performance and they’re all good size. I would say for the most part this is a very, very deep draft class. A lot of that has to do with all the juniors that have came out. I’ll tell you this, both Minnesota kids [Ra’Shede Hageman and Brock Vereen] showed up very well at the combine.”

The Vikings need help, especially on defense, and apparently some of the NFL experts believe there will be outstanding players, ones who might be first-round picks in other years, that could fall as far as the third round.

As for quarterbacks, Spielman said he believed it was a deep class there, too.

“I think you can find quarterbacks in the second round and the third round, as well,” he said. “We’ve started that process on the evaluation part. I think we’re scheduled to go out there and see a lot of these quarterbacks through the spring and get to know them a little bit better. The one thing that I want to make sure we don’t do is box ourselves into having to take a quarterback if there’s another player that’s very significant at another position.

“I think it’s pretty deep at all the positions and that’s what will make the draft very intriguing, because I don’t think there’s a really weak class at any of the spots. I’m anticipating that will create a lot of movement in the draft, especially in that first round. The talent is pretty even that people will start moving up and down to get the guy they covet.”

Spielman was asked about the player potential for the Vikings’ top pick, No. 8 overall.

“We’ll definitely get a good player at the eighth pick, and it’s just so wide-open on any direction that we can go, because of some of the turnover I’m anticipating on defense and trying to get younger in some spots, that we can go many different directions in the draft,” he said. “We’ll have a number of options, I think, at that eighth pick if we end up staying at that spot.”

Free agency philosophy

While the Vikings are looking at the draft for a quarterback, they also brought back Matt Cassel after last year’s starter for six games opted to become a free agent. Cassel is returning for a reported two-year, $10 million deal.

Speaking of the Vikings’ pending free agents before the Cassel news came out Friday, Spielman said: “We met with all of our [free-agent] players’ agents at the combine. Those meetings will continue to go on. over the phone. We want to keep the door open on everyone and we’ll see how it all shakes out as we get closer to March 11. I’m optimistic we’ll sign everybody, but I know that’s not realistic. We’ll work extremely hard at it, and the hardest thing is to be patient and try not to panic and do something you’d regret a year or two from now.”

Spielman also said that while he is a big believer in re-signing his own players, there are some intriguing unrestricted free agents that the team might target.

“There’s some very good positions in the UFA where we’ll be looking, it’s a pretty deep class in some areas,” Spielman said. “We haven’t had the official word [on what the salary cap will be] but if you read the papers on where the salary cap is going to come into place [$133 million], that’s a pretty significant jump from what we were anticipating. So that kind of puts a little change in the game plan as well, for how you approach things.”

Would Spielman splurge on a high-priced free agent?

“I haven’t been a big believer, unless it’s a unique circumstance, in signing big-time free agents,” he said. “Every once in a while those opportunities will present themselves, we have some guys we really like, but we’d like to keep our own guys, as many of them as we can as well. You just have to be patient through free agency. People talk about how you haven’t signed anyone throughout the first week, we don’t play until September. So we have plenty of time, and I know there will be some changes on the roster, but I’m excited about the way we’re going.”

It will be interesting if the Vikings don’t make an exception when it comes to signing somebody higher-priced such as Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, whom new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer coached and could replace Jared Allen, if he doesn’t re-sign.

Jottings

Twins President Dave St. Peter, who has spent some time at spring training, shared his thoughts on the club: “Well I think we’re encouraged early on here. The Sano situation not withstanding, I think we feel pretty good about the health of our team. It’s way too early to make any declarations, but there’s a better vibe in camp. I think it starts with just a greater level of confidence that our starting pitching is going to give us a chance to win night in and night out.”

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 14 2nd Qtr 14:56
Dallas 7
Seattle 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Nashville
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 48 2nd Half 9:31
Georgetown 55
FIU 34 2nd Half 7:04
USC Upstate 50
Long Island 31 2nd Half 15:59
Stony Brook 45
San Diego 24 1st Half 3:02
Xavier 32
Illinois 4:00 PM
Indiana State
Western Ky 5:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Cal State Fullerton 5:00 PM
Wright State
Michigan State 5:30 PM
Rider
UCLA 6:00 PM
North Carolina
Marquette 7:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Long Beach State 7:30 PM
Western Mich
Stephen F Austin 8:00 PM
Prairie View
UAB 8:30 PM
Florida
Rice 8:30 PM
Mercer
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 58 2nd Half 3:13
Washington 70
Wichita State 30 2nd Half 4:36
Fla Gulf Coast 53
Wisconsin 18 2nd Half
(1) South Carolina 31
BYU 5:00 PM
BYU-Hawaii
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Montana
Illinois 5:00 PM
(9) Kentucky
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
Central Michigan 7:00 PM
Richmond
Oklahoma 7:15 PM
South Florida
Princeton 7:30 PM
Wake Forest
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Butler
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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 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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