While there is much speculation that the Vikings will select a quarterback with the No. 8 overall pick in the NFL draft, General Manager Rick Spielman made it clear that he won’t draft a QB with the pick because he said they will take the best player on the board with their first selection, and there is no reason to believe that a quarterback will be the best player on the board.
Spielman was asked about the decision between drafting a quarterback or going another way and selecting perhaps a defensive player.
“That’s one of the reasons we signed Matt Cassel and signed him back right at the beginning of free agency and were able to get that done, because that does not box you into taking a quarterback at No. 8,” Spielman said. “We can really follow our board and take the best player available. I think it is a deep class in this quarterback class. There’s going to be some value I think through other rounds, too, if you don’t take one in the first.
“But in doing what we were able to do in the unrestricted free-agent market — trying to fill needs in that area by signing Cassel and getting some of the defensive linemen under contract that we were able to sign, and signing Captain Munnerlyn will help our secondary — that gives you the flexibility to take best available player when we get into the draft next month.”
Spielman said the team is getting ready to begin the process of finalizing its draft board.
“As we go through that, we start our draft meetings on Monday and we’ll go eight straight days with our coaches and finalize our plan before the draft,” he said. “There are some very good defensive players, some very good receivers in this draft, some good offensive linemen. … There’s some significant linebackers that can play not only standing up but also help you rush the passer as well. I think we’re going to have a lot of options at 8, but we’re also going to potentially look to move out of that pick as well.”
Can find QB later
Spielman is confident he will be able to draft a good quarterback in the second round and maybe even in the third. It was in the third round two years ago where Seattle landed superstar Russell Wilson out of Wisconsin.
“It’s a very tortuous process this year trying to figure out these quarterbacks because there’s a lot of different flavors of quarterbacks,” Spielman said. “There’s mobile quarterbacks, there’s pocket passers, so you really have to home in and decide what type of quarterback you want, what kind of quarterback and what traits fit the kind of system you’re about to run.
“You look at the traits of the quarterbacks in here and work in our offensive scheme and adjust to some of the traits that that player possesses. It’s going to be a very interesting process as we go through our own evaluation of these quarterbacks and try to home in on the particular type of quarterback that may be best for us.”
Spielman also said the Vikings will benefit from having an extra third-round pick this year because of the depth of this draft class. The Vikings have the No. 96 overall pick from Seattle as part of the Percy Harvin trade. Other than that pick, the Vikings are set to select eighth in each round.
There have been reports that the Vikings, while having Christian Ponder under contract for this season, would have to pay the 2011 first-round draft pick around $10 million if they exercise a fifth-year option in 2015. Spielman said that wasn’t exactly accurate.
“This is this class that was the first year of the [collective bargaining agreement] where you can exercise the option, and if you’re in the top 10 that’s X-amount [of dollars], if you’re outside the top 10 that’s X-amount [of dollars],” Spielman said. “He’s not in the top 10 because he wasn’t a top-10 pick. But we have, I believe, until the first week in May to decide whether we exercise that option or not.”
If they get rid of Ponder, I will be very surprised, but I have been wrong before.
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