PHOENIX – Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman has made it clear. Even with a pair of first-round picks in next month’s draft and an obvious need to continue reviving the passing attack, the Vikings are not tied down to absolutely selecting a receiver in Round 1.
That flexibility was provided last week with the signing of free agent Greg Jennings coupled with the re-signing of Jerome Simpson. So now the Vikings move toward the draft with an ability to use their 23rd and 25th picks on other positions of need — middle linebacker, cornerback, defensive tackle — depending on how the draft board breaks.
And with a 2013 draft class that seems to be very deep at receiver, Spielman may have the luxury of waiting a round or two to nab another receiver.
The Vikings have already set their preliminary draft board with plans to continually rearrange it over the next month. But part of the fun Spielman anticipates from the draft itself will come in the monitoring those first runs made on receivers. The GM believes in adhering to a react-but-don’t-reach philosophy to such surges.
Said Spielman: “That’s the whole part of managing draft day and understanding when runs start to take place on certain positions. … Besides the trading part of it, up and down, that’s very exciting.”
The Vikings are still six months out from their trip to London for next season’s Week 4 clash with the Steelers. But already the organization is busy pulling together a wide array of logistics. From a football standpoint, Spielman explained Tuesday that finding the right practice set-up would be key, noting that the Vikings have at least preliminarily eyed the soccer stadiums of the Chelsea and Arsenal clubs as possibilities.
Most of all, the organization wants to make sure it has back-up plans in place for inclement weather.
“There just aren’t a lot of indoor facilities over there that are football-related,” Spielman said. “There are indoor facilities that are soccer-related. But for the most part, we just want to make sure that if there is rain or any type of weather and we can’t go outside and practice that we have either grass fields that drain very well or potential to go inside where you can get some work done.’’
Webb still a QB
Joe Webb’s disappointing faceplant in the Vikings’ 24-10 playoff loss in Green Bay cost him the No. 2 quarterback position. But would that open the door for Webb potentially moonlighting again at receiver?
“I’m not thinking that way, as we speak,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. “I’m seeing Joe as a quarterback. Things may change. But I see him as a quarterback and I see him coming in and competing for a position.”
The Vikings signed free agent guard Seth Olsen on Tuesday. Olsen spent the previous two seasons in Indianapolis, where he made a total of five starts. He had also briefly been with the Vikings practice squad in 2011.