Emptying The Notebook On Spielman Conversation

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 26, 2010 – 9:55 am

While we’re waiting for Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress to arrive in the media center for his formal press conference and then his sitdown with Vikings beat writers, I want to empty out the notebook from Thursday’s conversation with Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman.

– Using the pending status Brett Favre’s return to the Vikings in 2010 as context, Spielman was asked about this year’s class of QBs. At the top of most people’s lists are players such as Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford and Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen. Also in the mix are Texas’ Colt McCoy and Florida’s Tim Tebow. But with the Vikings picking at #30, many speculate that Bradford and Clausen will be gone and that it’ll be too early for the Vikings to select either McCoy or Tebow.

Anyway, here’s what Spielman had to say about this year’s crop of QBs: “It’ll be interesting to see how it unfolds. I don’t know if it’s as heavy at the top as it has been, but there may be some values as you go on down through the rounds. I think there’s value and if you do a good job in your preparation and you do a good job in developing your board, you can get some value for guys in those later rounds.”

That prompted a follow question from one of the reporters, asking if he envisioned the Vikings finding a good value at QB in the later rounds.

“There’s potentially a few that could be valued in the backend,” Spielman said. “Again, it’s still early in the process, and we’ve still got a lot of boxes to fill in our reports.”

– Spielman will enter his 20th season in the NFL in 2010 and he’s also spent time as an analyst on ESPN covering the NFL, so he performs well when he’s meeting with reporters. Because of his experience both in front offices and TV studios, he knows when to answer a question seriously, when to joke around and when to mix in a little of both.

A great example of this is his response when informed that Favre will be appearing on the Jay Leno Show on March 4. Spielman, who wasn’t aware of Favre’s show business plans, said he’d have to TiVo the program because he’d already be in bed sleeping.

“I’m an early riser and early to bed guy,” Spielman said.

– Rules of the Final League Year – specifically the rule that requires a player to accrue 6 seasons instead of 4 to achieve unrestricted free agent (UFA) status and the final 4 rule that places restrictions on teams that participated in Conference Championship Games from signing UFAs – will make acquiring free agents a bit more cumbersome for the Vikings this offseason.

With that in mind, Spielman was asked if the draft them becomes more important than in years past.

“I don’t ever think a draft is not important,” Spielman pointed out. “I don’t think you ever go into a draft and say ‘Hey, this one is going to be really important. Last year wasn’t very important at all.’

“Every draft is extremely important and I don’t take it differently and we’re not going to do anything differently than we have in the past.”

– It’s been widely speculated that the Vikings will open their regular season with a Thursday night game at the New Orleans Saints. Spielman said he hasn’t been given any indication by the league that that’s indeed the case.

– Finally, Spielman was asked about players turn down opportunities to participate in certain aspects of the Combine, specifically QBs who elect not to throw in front of NFL coaches and scouts. Here was his response: “I just think, again, regardless of position, if you’re not here competing then I’ve always had an issue with that, especially if you’re healthy. And I know there have been some quarterbacks that have not thrown here and one of the biggest reasons you here is because they don’t have the timing down with the receivers. And when you’re evaluating QBs at the Combine, you’re looking more at his mechanics and his release…looking at the arm strength. You know that he may have never thrown to that guy.

“You may want to ask some of the agents why they don’t have their quarterbacks throw, but I imagine that (comfort with receivers) may be one of the reasons. They want to go to their campus (on their Pro Day) and throw on their own turf, throw to the people they’ve been throwing to the last four years. And that’s great but the people you’ve been throwing to the last four years probably aren’t going to be the people you’re throwing to when you come into minicamp. So are you not going to throw in minicamp until you get used to those guys?”

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