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.


Spielman: 'Just give us time to put this roster together'

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC, Chad Greenway, Vikings draft Updated: March 14, 2012 - 4:59 PM

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said the signing of free agent tight end John Carlson "definitely fits the bill" when it comes to the team's goal of adding as many playmakers as possible around second-year quarterback Christian Ponder.

Carlson signed a five-year, $25 million deal with $11 million guaranteed. That's a good chunk of change, but not nearly the bank-busting blockbuster signings that have been pouring in around the league.

So while Spielman hailed the arrival of Carlson, he also reminded reporters and the public about the team's commitment to building the team through the draft.

"Like I've said all along, we're going to be patient with it," Spielman said. "We're going to strike when we feel there's a player out there who can help us win ballgames. The ownership has always given us the financial backing we need to go get players. But we're also going to be very patient to know that many of our needs will be filled through the draft.

"We're not done yet. We're still looking at UFAs. We'll monitor that. There could be a couple of guys in over the next couple of weeks. We'll continue to add players as we see fit, but I really know that honestly, other than a guy here or there in free agency, but really honing in and building this roster through the draft."

Spielman also said: "Just give us time to put this roster together. We're not only putting it together for 2012. We're building this roster to be able to maintain this roster for over the next three to four to five years. If you look at some of the things we were able to do when signed Chad Greenway, to get a John Sullivan done and what we did with Kyle Rudolph and adding Carlson in the mix. The goal is hopefully to have the offense together with our young quarterback over the next four or five years. 

"I know we have some defensive needs as well that we have to address. But i know it will be a good draft on the defensive side as well."

And Spielman also explained why the team didn't jump in checkbook first on some of the high-priced individuals.

"I don't think we're a player or two away to go out and spend the money that's being spent on all those players that have gotten contracts early," he said. "I think what we're trying to do is find some players who we think are going to help us win ballgames, who are going to be able to contribute and then build this through the draft. Keep adding draft picks and keep our roster competitive year in and year out that way."

Carlson, a Minnesota native who grew up in Litchfield, where his father is still the basketball coach, said family was a factor, but not the only factor in his decision.

"I wouldn't have come back here if I didn't think the Vikings had a great thing going and a chance to be really special on the offensive side of the ball. That's something I want to be a part of. So the family thing was a factor, but not the primary factor."     

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