Chart: Inside the Vikings' war room

  • Updated: April 26, 2014 - 11:55 PM
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Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, left, and his staff worked the phones at the 2013 NFL draft.

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What: The Vikings’ draft “war room” is the coaches’ meeting room on the second floor of the team headquarters at Winter Park.

The leader: General Manager Rick Spielman. He has orchestrated every draft since 2007 and has had final say since 2012.

Who’s in the room? About 20 people. The head coach and offensive and defensive coordinators are in there full-time. Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer is brought in periodically. Also present are owners Mark and Zygi Wilf, Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski, Assistant General Manager George Paton, Director of College Scouting Scott Studwell, seven college scouts, two pro scouts, two team doctors and head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman.

Working the phones: Paton and Brzezinski drum up trade options by persistently calling other teams to gauge interest throughout the draft. When trades are made, Brzezinski phones the league with the Vikings’ side of the confirmation.

Did you know? Since Spielman took over, the Vikings never have picked a player that they didn’t reach on the phone immediately before they submitted their pick to New York. When the Vikings know the pick, one of the pro scouts in the room calls the player’s cellphone. “I just want to make sure they’re there, they’re alive, they’re not arrested, they haven’t lost any limbs,” Spielman said. As for whether being unable to reach a player would be a deal breaker, Spielman laughs. “If Adrian [Peterson] hadn’t picked up, that would have been a tough one to pass on,” he said.

Keeping an open line: Once the draft begins, the Vikings have a land line phone open to New York. It stays open for every minute of every pick in the entire draft. There are two team representatives in New York. Last year, Director of Pro Scouting Ryan Monnens and pro scout Scott Kuhn were in New York and were the ones who turned in the player card to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

What do the big bosses do? Everything that’s done in the draft room unfolds with owners Zygi and Mark Wilf holding front-row seats. “They’re very competitive people, but they understand the process and they trust us to do the best job we can do,” Spielman said. “They ask a lot of questions. But they’re very, very supportive. I have a meeting with them the day before to just kind of talk about different scenarios. They kind of sit and enjoy the process.”

The mood of the room: In Hollywood, “Draft Day” is quite the show. The salary cap person is Jennifer Garner, who kicks off draft day by telling the general manager, Kevin Costner, that she’s pregnant with his child. “I assure you that will not happen here,” Spielman joked. In Hollywood, the general manager first notices a basic flaw (a fear of being sacked) in the draft’s hotshot quarterback AFTER he trades three first-round picks to move up to No. 1 overall to take the hotshot quarterback. And the only reason the GM has to look for the flaw is a tip — “watch the tape” — at the end of a phone call from a linebacker who sacked the hotshot quarterback and wants the GM to draft him instead. In the real world, teams like the Vikings spend nine months researching every player. It takes 10 long days of organization-wide meetings to stack the entire draft board using a numbering system that ranks each player to the thousandths of a percentage point.

All work, no play: “Yeah, it’s a little different [than the movie],” Paton said. “It’s actually very quiet. You’d be surprised. There’s not much talking. We’re on the phone, obviously, but you don’t hear much else. We’ve already had the meetings. We’ve already had all the discussions we could possibly have. Very rarely is a voice raised. Draft day is the easy part.” Said Spielman: “People don’t realize how much is happening at the same time. But as long as in that room everybody knows and understands what their roles and responsibilities are, then it’s organized. All I have to do is say this, this and this, and everybody knows exactly what to do.”

MARK CRAIG

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    Sunday April 27, 2014

    Last year’s first round had the Vikings moving quickly. GM Rick Spielman needed a team effort from the other 18 or so people who make up the Vikings’ draft day...

  • Vikings owners Mark (center) and Zygi Wilf reacted after the team completed the first round in 2013 with three picks. The Vikings owners are “very competitive people,” Spielman said.

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New Orleans 28 FINAL
Carolina 10
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
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
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Memphis 6:00 PM
Indiana
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Chicago
Philadelphia 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Portland 9:00 PM
Sacramento
San Antonio 9:00 PM
Phoenix
LA Clippers 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Columbus
Los Angeles 6:30 PM
Detroit
Anaheim 7:30 PM
Dallas
Nashville 8:00 PM
Calgary
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
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
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
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
Michigan
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
Missouri
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
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
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
Vanderbilt
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
Navy
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
Nevada
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
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
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
Hamilton 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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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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