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 before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Holmgren says Browns weren't duped by Vikings

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFL draft Updated: April 29, 2012 - 12:27 PM

Right or wrong, it appears everyone outside of the Browns' front office assumes Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman duped Cleveland into trading up a spot in the first round on Thursday.

Naturally, Spielman was vague about the trade discussions he had with other teams before convincing the Browns to pull the trigger on a deal that gave the Vikings something for nothing. The Browns got running back Trent Richardson, a player the Vikings didn't want anyway. The Vikings got Matt Kalil, the player they wanted all along, and Cleveland's picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds.

Browns President Mike Holmgren doesn't appreciate the perception that the Browns were fools that fell for a bluff. So when a reporter asked a question about how Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden will improve the team's offense, Holmgren diverted to what had been said and written about the trade with Minnesota.  

"We didn’t want to lose [Richardson] and I guess my conversations with [head coach] Pat [Shurmur] and Tom [Heckert, the general manager] in particular were if you even think someone is going to hop over there, if you even think someone is going to jump us then what are we going to do to prevent that from happening and get up in there," Holmgren said. "Contrary to what was written and what was said, we weren’t the lone ranger in that deal [for Richardson]. We had to compete."

Richardson, of course, has the ability to make Holmgren go from perceived dupe to genius by living up to his lofty expectations. Holmgren added to those expectations when he said Richardson will be a better running back than Shaun Alexander, the former Seahawks standout that Holmgren coached.

"I love Shaun," Holmgren said. "if I could adopt Shaun, I would, but he wouldn’t block anybody, nobody and I still love him. The difference is Trent is an excellent pass receiver, not just a willing blocker but a very, very good blocker so when Pat’s calling the game and we’re running our offense you don’t have to be thinking, ‘Okay now how do we protect him in the passing game?’ You don’t have to do that so that’s different. But, again I have great affection for Shaun Alexander and what he did for Seattle and what he did for me. This young man, different player, and there is no reason he can’t do the same for us here.”


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