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Rick Spielman on a deep draft, trading up and maybe still taking a tackle


General Manager Rick Spielman this afternoon yakked it up with the local media about this weekend’s NFL draft, which starts Thursday night.

The most interesting part of his 30-minute press conference was his candid comments about how the Vikings vet prospects with character concerns. My colleague Mark Craig will be writing in depth about that for tomorrow’s paper, so I won’t step on his toes here. Be sure to pick up the paper or check back at later tonight for that.

While they don’t have a first-rounder at this moment, Spielman feels the Vikings will still be able to pick some good players in the second, third and fourth rounds, when they have five total selections.

“I feel very strong about this draft,” he said. “I think the depth of this draft class, especially at some of the areas we’ll be looking at, is very significant I think through the mid rounds. And for us to have an extra third and an extra fourth this year is going to pay dividends for us.”

All that talent, in addition to the cost it would likely take to move all the way up from No. 48 overall, makes the possibility of the Vikings trading back into the first round an “unlikely scenario at this point.”

“I think it’s a pretty significant jump and [would be] pretty costly to go from where we’re picking in the second round,” Spielman said. “But you never know if something will fall out of the sky that is just too good.”

Might he mean one of the top offensive tackles? After all, Spielman said that the Vikings spending big bucks on offensive tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers in free agency won’t preclude them from drafting a tackle. Ditto for the running back position after adding Latavius Murray.

“Just because we signed two offensive tackles in free agency doesn’t mean that if an offensive tackle was there we wouldn’t take him,” he said, pointing at how the Vikings structure contracts to give themselves an out. “Our job is to try to get the best 53 players out there.”

So, yes, breakings news: He says they will take the best player available.

'It's going to be weird.' Vikings defense eager for chance to tackle Peterson


Kyle Rudolph is just glad he plays offense now that Adrian Peterson is officially a member of the New Orleans Saints.

“So I don’t have to tackle him,” Rudolph said Tuesday as Vikings players continued voluntary offseason workouts. “If Adrian and I are on the field at the same time, there’s a big problem.”

Peterson signed a two-year deal with the Saints on Tuesday, meaning his first game in a non-Vikings uniform will be against the Vikings — on national television. The Saints open the season at U.S. Bank Stadium on Monday Night Football.

“It’s going to be weird, first of all, seeing him in a different colored jersey and different logo,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “It’s also going to be weird [him] playing against us on our home field. But we have to do what we have to do. If he gets the ball, we have to tackle him.”

That’s not something Vikings defenders were allowed to do during Peterson’s 10 seasons in Minnesota. The former seventh-overall pick and future Hall of Famer was nearly untouchable in practice as the Vikings tried to keep their franchise player healthy.

Former Packers defender Datone Jones, who signed with the Vikings this offseason, is one of a few current Vikings to have actually taken down one of the NFL’s former Most Valuable Players.

“His patience, being able to stop and start and being able to hit any gap once he stopped and started,” Jones said. “He reminded me of a guy like Ezekiel Elliott. Really good vision, fast. Not one guy could bring him down.”

Defensive end Everson Griffen, who said “it’s going to be fun to be able to hit him,” added there’s something fishy about the NFL schedule, released last week, sending the Saints to Minnesota just before Peterson signed in New Orleans.

“I don’t know about the odds of that,” Griffen pondered. “Saints, Week 1 and then all of a sudden they sign Adrian. I think the NFL had a little inside scoop on what was going on.”

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