Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


New staff brings new perspective

Posted by: under Vikings, Vikings coaches, Brad Childress, Leslie Frazier, Vikings management, Brad Childress, Leslie Frazier Updated: February 16, 2011 - 11:06 AM

Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman gave an update Tuesday on the team's preparations for the scouting combine, draft and free agency (assuming it takes place at some point after a new CBA is finalized).

Spielman said one of the initial steps was for the personnel department and coaching staff to evaluate the current roster as a whole, not just the 19 potential restricted and unrestricted free agents.

Spielman said it was interesting and helpful to hear different opinions and perspective from the new assistant coaches hired by Leslie Frazier.

“It’s always good to get an outside perspective on your talent and I know that listening through, I know we have a lot of pretty explosive pieces on the offensive side of the ball," he said. "Again, there are some holes or some things that we know we have to get filled on offense but I think everybody came out with pretty much the same scenario because we did this process before they came in and we actually did the process again after they came in and got them a chance to get familiar a little bit. Just from a tape standpoint … there wasn’t too many differences at all or opinions on where we need to go.”
 
Spielman said the team created a free agent board much like their draft board.
 
"We wrote over 700 guys up," he said. "We actually implemented guys on our current roster, not only our free agents but guys that are under contract to see how they stacked with what’s potentially out there in free agency, if we do have free agency. It was a very smooth, easy process. Leslie was very good as far as the communication in the meetings, talking back and forth, throwing out different ideas. Very smooth from that process."
 
Spielman said the new coaches input is important because of their background with many of the free agents.
 
"A lot of these guys coached some of these guys that we talked about in free agency or know them inside and out because they played against them twice a year," Spielman said. "It was a benefit to have some new coaches come in and [give] some of the insight and knowledge that maybe we wouldn’t have if they weren’t here because they coached some of these players in the past."
 
Both Frazier and Spielman have talked numerous times in interviews about the need to tailor the offensive scheme to the talent. One of the common criticisms with former coach Brad Childress was that he was too rigid with his West Coast offense.
 
New offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said his scheme will use facets of different systems he's familiar with, but he said the concepts also must fit with the talent at his disposal.
 
"I know Bill and the offensive staff have been very open to trying to get the best players in here and utilizing the skill set we can get in here to kind of tailor the scheme to what the player’s skill set is," Spielman said.
 
Spielman said that philosophy "opens your options as you look at players."
 
"It makes it an easy and smooth working relationship with Leslie and the new staff as far as, ‘OK, I know what you’re telling me what his strengths and weaknesses are,’" Spielman said. "Now they’re going to say, ‘Hey, this is how it’s going to work for us.’"
 
 
 
 
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