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Spielman Talks Draft, QB Class

Posted by cjsiewert on April 20, 2010 – 6:06 pm

The 2010 NFL Draft features a high-profile class of QB prospects, especially with Sam Bradford expected to be the 1st overall pick, Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen universally expected to be a 1st round pick and then all the hype surrounding Tim Tebow.

QB talk has dominated the buildup to this year’s draft, but you wouldn’t know that by speaking with NFL personnel executives such as Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman.

“We don’t treat the quarterback position any different than we treat any other position,” Spielman said during a pre-draft press conference at Winter Park on Tuesday.  “As we evaluate our draft board, I think the best approach to it is like you don’t have anyone on your roster, and you’re just going to go ahead, set your draft board, set the players how you see them, and pretend like you don’t have needs.”

In recent years, the Vikings have not drafted on the notion of the team’s ‘needs’ by position but rather by drafting the best available player.  Case in point – the Vikings drafted RB Adrian Peterson in the 2007 draft following a career-best 1,216 rushing yards from Chester Taylor in 2006.  Also, the WR position didn’t seem to be an immediate need last year but the Purple selected Florida’s Percy Harvin, resulting in Harvin receiving Rookie of the Year honors.

The best way to visualize the Vikings belief in drafting the best available player on the board is to look 2 or 3 years into the future.  When it comes time for the Vikings to make a selection and they possibly choose what is believed to be not an immediate need, they are certainly looking down the road for what that player will contribute to the team in the future.

“We may think a year from now, two years from now, that that guy could maybe be a potential Pro Bowl player,” Spielman said when asked about drafting on a need basis.  “And then you get into the debate a little bit, well, if you take a guy lesser on your board that could potentially fill a need this year, two years from now that guy might just be that same level of player where this guy you passed up is a potential Pro Bowler or in the Pro Bowl, then you look back two years and say, ‘Geez, we passed up a Pro Bowler to take an adequate player.’”

All things considered, it’s safe to say that when it comes time for the Vikings selection on Thursday night, don’t expect them to draft on a need basis, but rather select the best available player who they feel could either make an immediate impact or be a potential contributor down the road.


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Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 5 Comments »

NFL Opener, Prime Time Games Highlight Vikings Schedule

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 20, 2010 – 5:00 pm

As was widely expected, an NFL season-opening matchup on Thursday, September 9 with the New Orleans Saints and 3 other scheduled prime time games highlight the Vikings 2010 regular season schedule.

The NFL released its entire slate of games for the 2010 season at 6:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday evening, kicking off what will be an exciting week across the league with the annual draft just 2 days away.

The other prime time games on the Vikings schedule include a Sunday night game at Green Bay  on October 24 (Week 7) and Monday night games at the NY Jets on October 11 (Week 5) and at home versus the Chicago Bears on December 20 (Week 15).

Here are a few other notes on the Vikings 2010 schedule

– After beginning the season at New Orleans on September 9, the Vikings return home for 2 consecutive games at Mall of America Field against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 and then division foe Detroit in Week 3.

– The Vikings will have their bye in Week 4.

– October will be a high-profile month for the Vikings. On October 11, the Vikings play at the Jets on MNF. The following week the Vikings host the Dallas Cowboys at 3:15 p.m. CT and then they play consecutive road games at Green Bay on NBC at 7:20 p.m. CT and at New England on Halloween at 3:15 p.m. CT.

– An important part of the schedule will come in mid-November, when the Vikings play at the Chicago Bears in Week 10 (11/14) and then host the Green Bay Packers in Week 11 (11/21).

– In 2009, the Vikings used a 3-game home stand in November to notch 3 wins and take control of the division. In 2010, the Vikings have a 3-game home stand in December against Buffalo (Week 13), the NY Giants (Week 14) and Chicago (Week 15) that could provide them with an opportunity to solidify their playoff aspirations.

– Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress will return to Philadelphia – where he coached from 1999-2005 on Andy Reid’s staff – to take on the Eagles in a Week 16 contest on December 26.

– With the NFL featuring all division games in Week 17 this year, the Vikings will finish the regular season by traveling to the Motor City for a battle with the Lions.

We’ll have more coverage of the Vikings 2010 NFL schedule on vikings.com through tonight and into tomorrow, including a chat between myself and voice of the Vikings Radio Network, Paul Allen.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 13 Comments »

Goodell Makes It Official: Vikings @ Saints To Begin 2010

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 20, 2010 – 12:34 pm

In our previous entry we tried to imagine a scenario in which the Vikings weren’t selected to play the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, September 9 to open up the 2010 regular season schedule.

We couldn’t do it.

And the NFL agreed. Commissioner Roger Goodell said today during his live chat on NFL.com that the Vikings and Saints will indeed open the NFL season in what will be a rematch of the 2009 NFC Championship Game.

The rest of the 2010 regular-season schedule will be released this evening at 6:00 p.m. CT on NFL Network, NFL.com and right here on vikings.com.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 59 Comments »

What If The Vikings Don’t Open At New Orleans?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 20, 2010 – 10:04 am

Conventional wisdom of late has been that the NFL would kickoff its 2010 schedule on Thursday, September 9 by having the Vikings travel to New Orleans for a NFC Championship Game rematch against the Saints. The NFL traditionally pits the defending Super Bowl champions against an intriguing opponent at home on the Thursday before the first Sunday of the regular season.

The idea of Vikings vs. Saints to begin the season is even more realistic when you consider the teams New Orleans will play at home this year – Atlanta, Carolina, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Seattle, Minnesota, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. With the NFL now emphasizing division matchups late in the season, let’s operate under the assumption that New Orleans won’t open up with a NFC South contest. That leaves the Vikings and Steelers as the 2 most intriguing options remaining. But when you consider Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger may be suspended to begin the season for violating the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, Pittsburgh becomes less intriguing.

So you can see why conventional wisdom says it’ll be Vikings vs. Saints to begin 2010. But as well all know, conventional wisdom is often wrong. Also, consider that while promoting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s live chat with fans later today league spokesman Brian McCarthy tweeted “Someone should ask him [Goodell] who the Saints open with.”

Maybe the NFL is going to surprise everyone and not have the opening game be Vikings-Saints.

There are 3 bits of information that I could come up with that would support that idea:

1: Over the past 2 years, teams that participated in the previous season’s conference championship game opened the following season at home 7 out of 8 times (with the Eagles at Carolina in 2009 being the only exception). The Vikings of course were in the NFC Championship Game last year.

2: Not that the NFL always considers this angle, but keep in mind that the Twins are on the road during the NFL’s opening weekend and then they play at home during Week 2 of the NFL season.

3: Maybe the NFL will indeed pit New Orleans against a division opponent – say Atlanta – to begin the season. Or, maybe they’ll have the St. Louis Rams, who will be sporting the #1 overall draft pick from the 2010 NFL Draft, travel to New Orleans to take on the defending Super Bowl champs.

Or maybe not. As hard as you try to make a case for the NFL scheduling something other than Vikings-Saints to begin the season, it just doesn’t add up. Should Favre return to the Vikings, there’s no other possible matchup that is as intriguing as Vikings-Saints to begin the season.

Maybe conventional wisdom will actually be right.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 10 Comments »

Division Matchups To Enhance Late-Season Schedule

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 20, 2010 – 9:12 am

The NFL isn’t set to release its 2010 schedule until 6:00 p.m. CT this evening, but there’s already an interesting nugget that’s emerged from league commissioner Roger Goodell.

Appearing on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike In The Morning,” Goodell said the NFL wanted to push as many divisional games as possible into the last 3 weeks of the season and that every game in Week 17 of the 2010 season will be a division game.

“We actually have 28 divisional games in those last three weeks, as opposed to 15 for the 2009 season, and all 16 of the final Week 17 games will be divisional games,” Goodell said, per espn.com. “We’ll see what the impact is as we go through the next season, but we think that’s a positive development in keeping the integrity of the game in those late-season games.”

The “integrity of the game” issue that Goodell mentioned is a reference to concerns the NFL has about teams who’ve already clinched playoff positioning resting their players in the final weeks of the regular season. With the philosophy of scheduling division games late in the season, there’s a higher probability that playoff spots won’t be determined until the last couple weeks of the season.

This seems like a good move for the NFL and yet another example of how this league continues to find ways to improve its product. Having division games late in the season will add intrigue to the playoff race and will intensify division rivalries.

Last season, the Vikings had just 1 division game in the final 5 weeks – against Chicago in Week 16 – and they were done playing the Packers before their Week 9 bye. With the emphasis of division games late in the season, one might expect a couple more Vikings-Bears or Vikings-Packers matchups in the season’s final month.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 6 Comments »

2010 NFL Schedule Set To Be Released This Evening

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 20, 2010 – 7:13 am

Today’s a busy day for Vikings followers, with the team’s pre-draft press conference set for 2:00 p.m. CT and then the NFL schedule set to be unveiled at 6:00 p.m. CT.

We know who the Vikings will play in 2010, but this evening’s announcement will tell us when the Vikings play each opponent. Here are the Vikings home and away opponents for the upcoming season:

Home: Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Arizona, Dallas, NY Giants, Buffalo and Miami
Away: Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Washington, New England and the NY Jets

There has been widespread speculation that the NFL will kickoff its season with an NFC Championship Game rematch between the Vikings and Saints in New Orleans on Thursday, September 9. The NFL has traditionally matched the defending Super Bowl champs with an intriguing opponent at home to begin the season, and a Vikings-Saints matchup would certainly fulfill this criteria.

Another thought making the rounds is that the Vikings would be a good candidate to play at the NY Jets on Thanksgiving night.

I’d also expect that one of the Vikings-Packers games will be on Monday Night Football as well as either or both of the Vikings-Eagles and Vikings-Patriots games. The Vikings and Giants will play one another again in 2010, which makes it 11 of the last 12 seasons where the 2 franchises have met during the regular season.

Finally, with the Saints on the schedule in 2010, the Vikings will play the defending Super Bowl champions for the 3rd consecutive season.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 5 Comments »