The next few months will contain plenty of unknowns for Vikings general manager Rick Spielman as he attempts to navigate free agency and the draft for a team that started off last season 5-0 before falling to 8-8 and missing the playoffs.
On Thursday, Spielman left the confines of a heated tent and plunged into icy cold water.
But at least he knew the drill.
Spielman participated in the Polar Plunge benefiting Special Olympics Minnesota over the noon hour Thursday, the third time he has participated in the event. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota Vikings, Andy Kenutis).
For the first time, the event was held in downtown Minneapolis, with gawkers checking out the action from the confines of surrounding warm skyways. Spielman was joined by several other Minnesota sports executives — Twins President Dave St. Peter, Timberwolves President Chris Wright, Minnesota United President Nick Rogers and Wild Chief Operating Officer Matt Majka.
Temperature at jump time was 13 degrees. As someone whose hands got cold inside his gloves while taking a video of the jump, I have tremendous respect for those who actually made the leap on such a cold afternoon.
Spielman acknowledged that it was “very cold,” but he didn’t seem to mind.
“It’s a great cause. It means something to me because I have a special needs daughter who participates in Special Olympics and adapted sports,” he said. “When I go out there and watch my daughter play, and see the competitive spirit these kids have and how excited they get when they win, they deserve just as much or more opportunity as a kid without special needs.”
Spielman joked that jumping into the cold water was a “good way to wake up and get ready to go on the work we have ahead of us,” noting that draft meetings are coming up very soon.
And hey, if the jump is the same time next year, it will come right after Minneapolis hosts the Super Bowl.
“Hopefully we’re playing in the Super Bowl and we can do this as a celebration,” Spielman said. “Maybe we’ll have everybody in the organization do this.”