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Making A Tough Task Even Tougher

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 18, 2011 – 10:19 am

I’m sure it’s hard enough to evaluate an entire draft class, give each player a grade and then stack a draft board that both ranks players in the correct order and also provides a framework to fill holes on a 53-man roster. But adding to the difficult for NFL personnel departments this time of year is the fact that it’s crucial to have a good understanding of not just how you want to behave during the draft, but also how the other teams are going to behave at the same time.

That’s the task at hand for Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman, who organizes the Vikings efforts on draft day. Each year he’s not only trying to figure out who the Vikings like, he’s trying to figure out which players other teams like and which players they’re likely to take. This is especially the case for teams ahead of the Vikings. In order to be sufficiently prepared to make a decision with the 12th overall pick in the 1st round, Spielman needs to figure out what will happen in the first 11 picks.

“I have a pretty good idea right now of who’s going to be there when we’re picking,” Spielman said last week while appearing on Pro Football Talk Live with Mike Florio. “What I’ll do is I’ll sit down with (head coach) Leslie (Frazier) and I’ll sit down with ownership once we get our board settled and solidified and then we’ll go ahead and go through those options.”

One of the options Spielman includes every year is that of trading either down or up to get the targeted player.

“But we’ll also go through a lot of scenarios where if we do move down, and how far can we move down, and what type of players will be there if we do move down in the draft,” Spielman continued. “Are those the same caliber of players that we can get at twelve? So we definitely do a lot of those scenarios.”

As if the task on its own isn’t challenging enough, it’s even more difficult this year with an uncertain climate due to the Collective Bargaining Agreement impasse.

“The thing that’s different this year from the past is that you had an idea of what teams did in trades and what they did in the UFA (unrestricted free agency) market, where they may have filled some of those needs,” Spielman explained. “Going into this draft, no one has filled any needs on their roster yet.

“It’s going to be a unique draft because I think there’s going to be a lot of movement on teams moving up and down and teams are really going to focus on if there’s a player they truly like, they’re going to go after that player.”

Only time will tell if Spielman’s hunch is right. If there is a bunch of activity – teams trading draft picks – then odds are a QB will be the targeted player. The Vikings may be in the market for one this year, and I’d estimate that at least 6 teams picking in front of the Vikings will have their eyes on the QB position as well.

“I do think because there’s no player trades – but there’s very few player trades on draft day anyway – I think that because teams haven’t filled their needs yet because there has been no unrestricted free agency, if teams really hone in on a particular position or a particular player I think there’s going to be a lot of activity,” Spielman reiterated. “And I think there’s going to be a lot of activity at this quarterback position, too, just because of how many teams need quarterbacks and because of the quarterbacks coming out in this draft.”


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32 Responses to “Making A Tough Task Even Tougher”

  1. By Daniel on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    I hope for the good of the organization we do not reach. ” stick to the long Haul plan Rick! you have done well for us, make us proud!

  2. By Ekolu on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    Lets get our man, we are just 1 great draft, combined with keeping a majority of our FA’s, and a successful endeavor into the FA market from making a playoff run. I believe the key is getting players with value who can come in contribute right now. Like attaining a Kevin Kolb fulfills 2 needs, a franchise QB and a veteran all in one. And using a draft pick from next year would be even better.

  3. By Stoney on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    Ekolu, maybe you can answer me, I’ve been asking for some time, Why Kolb, he would cost alot and does not have good stats. 2nd rd pick(36th) in 2007, 60% comp., 73 QB rating, 11tds/14 int. Not worth a 1st rd or 2nd rd pick in my opinion.

  4. By Parody on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    @Stoney – I agree. Kolb has been getting way too much hype, specially for the price that the Eagles are demanding. You can just take a look at Matt Cassel to prove that. In his fourth year with the Patriots, he had MUCH better stats than Kolb does now in his fourth year. Let’s just point out the difference between QB Ratings of 88.16 in 4 years for Cassel to 73.2 in the same time for Kolb.

    After his 4th year with the Patriots, Cassel was traded to the Chiefs along with Mike Vrabel, a decent but aging OLB, for a single 2nd-round pick. The Eagles want a 1st-round pick and change just for Kolb alone! This most recent, most comparable trade however, indicates that Kolb is worth a high 3rd-round pick AT BEST!

    We need to back off of the idea of Kolb until the Eagles start getting reasonable. We can do better!

  5. By Parody on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    Let me correct those QB Ratings. Since I was listing Cassel at 2-decimal places deep I should do the same with Kolb. After 4-years Cassel clocked in at 88.16 while Kolb equated to a rating of 73.16. A difference of 15-points in the QB rating! So I’m probably being pretty generous saying that a 3rd-rounder is fair trade value for him.

  6. By QB FEVER on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    I hope we are focusing on Mallett!! : ) Lets Get Him!!!!

  7. By Parody on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    And let’s not forget that we grabbed Rosenfels with 4-years more experience, although not much more game-time, for a 4th-round pick. At that time he had a rating of 81.24 (8.07-points better than Kolb), and he’s a career back-up.

    So let me reiterate: We CAN do BETTER!

  8. By Vikings FAN 15 on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    Agreed. Mallett is a top 10 pick if it wasn’t for the unfounded rumors going around. maybe even top 5. If the Vikings do their due diligence, look at Malletts background hard and are ok with him. I could easily see us taking Ryan Mallett at 12 because the value IS there. Mallett is worth it. the dude throws lasers and deep bombs accurately. He is the best QB in the class from a arm and passing view (which is what QB’s do) If he is there at 12. I say we take him!

  9. By xvike on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    O yeah one more thing about kolb. He is expecting a long term contract from whatever team that trades for him that will range from 7-8 mil to start. Yeah, totally not worth it. First off, he’s not even worth a first round pick, and second, he has done nothing that proves he deserves to get paid that much. The vikings should’ve taken a shot at cassel a few years back and we can all thank chilly for that. I wanted cassel in a vikes uniform once NE started shopping him. I would much rather have given up a first round for Cassel and give him a long term deal than kolb.

  10. By Parody on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    For the sake of the team,
    Underachievers just might seem,
    Considerably better than one might dream,
    Kolb’s stats display this theme.

    Kevin’s coaches have conferred,
    Everyone has heard,
    Very many a good word,
    In such excess that sounds absurd,
    Nevertheless flipping him the bird.

    Kolb’s stint here would be short,
    Out performing no report,
    Losing fan support,
    Bringing shame to the sport.

  11. By Parody on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    o gee….look at that hidden message…how did that sneak in there? It must just be some strange coincidence…

  12. By Daniel on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    Good comparison Parody.
    Take a look at how long it is taking for KC to rebuild from when they had Roaf, Shields, Waters, Wiegmann. That was an awsome line. Now Only waters is left. As good as Cassel is (which is Above Avg…Bearly) They are still missing so much from thier line. Do we really need to Draft a QB this year, with a talented guy in Joe Webb already there. Mallett will be torn to pieces. I can see it now, Peppers destroying Mckinnie and strait up knocking Mallett out. I ask anyone, Do you trust our bookends? Mckinnie WILL be gone soon. I give Loadholt credit but the other side needs replaced.
    our greatest need in freeagentcy should go to Harvy Dahl out of Atl.
    He is a killer RG and has atleast 6-7 years left on his tread. We are in a transition and someday a new stadium (knock on wood). Please Viking staff! NO QB just yet. Get Mcnabb for a mentor for Webb, He is the perfect Vet for us to bridge the gap to see if Webb is the guy, and Get Luck or Berkley NEXT year. DRAFT A O-LINEMAN!

  13. By Lito on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    Bowers, then Mallett, WR Greg Little, OT Jah Reid, CB Jalil Brown, TE Collin Franklin, OLB Michael Morgan, S Nate Williams, and C Carl Johnson. Good luck Vikings!

  14. By James on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    Bowers knee is a concern to most teams and NFL ch. has said he could slip to the second. This is a deep class for Def. players so trade back get more for that #12…..not reaching for a player.

  15. By Frederick Jones on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    @James,

    Frazier is smart, he is not going to tip his hand, and neither will Rick S.

    We may all be shocked on draft day. I’m thinking we may take a lot of defensive players because of the presence of Singletary, and Frazier. In fact Singletary may beat up Frazier if he doesn’t get his way…..

  16. By Parody on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    I hope we’re not too shocked on draft day. Last year’s draft really was a bit disheartening. There were some names on the board in positions that we needed at pick 30, and we traded it away. Then our pick came around in round 2, names were still there and we took a rather unknown CB who has proven to be a bust so far. Then we traded up to get a running back who can’t pass block. Sure he’s a good runner, but we already have a great runner in AP. Who is going to protect the QB on obvious passing downs? Will Toby figure it out, or are we going to concede posession on 3rd and long?

    But with that said, I still hope we trade back in the 1st round unless a big name sneaks through the first 11 picks. I think we can really add some draft value if we get a deal going with New England. It’s a good possibility that no linemen will be selected by our pick, and that’s about the biggest area that the Patriots need to focus on. They could be pretty generous if they know they’ll have first pick on the entire group.

  17. By Frederick Jones on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    @Parody,

    My prediction…my prediction…PAIN when Mike Singletary punches out Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier. “Down goes Frazia, down goes Spielman…

  18. By Frederick Jones on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    …down goes Parody, down goes Jones…

  19. By guest on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    Hope we don’t get a defensive end in the first round, everson griffen looks to be another bust count on it. Quit drafting usc guys they are no shows in nfl.

  20. By Parody on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    Griffen was selected in the 4th-round. For DEs, that generally equates to a backup position. So unless Griffen just keeps on breaking the law and gets himself suspended, he won’t be a bust.

    DEs who have been selected in the first round though have been busts for us almost every time for some reason. Udeze, Erasmus James and Dimitrius Underwood are the most recent 1st round DEs we’ve had, and all had one problem or another that proved they were not worth the selection.

  21. By Parody on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    @Fred – why do you think Singletary will be so violent? He and Frazier are old buddies. If anything, they’ll just both team up on Speilman.

  22. By jdog1 on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    it is very simple this years draft must first start out with a re-signing of rice before the draft,without a lock at wr. we must move up and grab one of the two wrs if not we have no one to catch the ball and it wont matter who our qb is.then ol oh ya did i mention ol our is bad ,center is really a need

  23. By 4eversteve on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    Why do people think that Kevin Kolb is a franchise quarterback? Surely its’ not because Andy Reid said he is, Reid is trying to sucker in any team that is willing to buy into his BS. Kolb as a starter is 7-7 and has thrown more interceptions than TD’s and yet the Eagles think he is worth a first round pick give me a break, what a joke!

  24. By Carl K on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    @jdog1- no need to panic on a WR. The Vikings can find a good one in the later rounds.

    Austin Pettis
    Niles Paul
    Cecil Shorts
    Denarius Moore
    Are just a few of the late round WR that have an up side.

  25. By Carl K on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    Hankerson, Torrey Smith, G. Little are 2nd and 3rd round WR that could make an early impact in the NFL.
    I also forgot Edmond Gates.
    The Vikings have options in this draft at WR… But I would love to see Julio Jones fall to the Vikings.

  26. By Carl K on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    The Vikings can also find good late round value at safety and CB.

    However, the one postion in this draft that you CAN’T find great value in the later rounds is at OT.

    If none of the top ten big name guys fall… I would trade back a few spots and take OT A. Castonzo.

    I am willing to bet we will get a quality QB at pick #43. Last year Jimmy Clausen was a top 15 talent and was labeled as pro ready,and he fell to #48. I think he would be ranked ahead of Locker and Mallet this year.

  27. By Parody on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    But just about every mock draft that I see has the Panthers selecting a QB in the second round, if not the first. It sounds like there’s something about Clausen that they don’t like.

  28. By Vikings4life on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    @ Parody
    I completely agree with the whole Kolb and Cassel thing infact Cassel was a late round draft pikc 7h round actually which is insane, thats why we cannot switch Joe back to WR he has great tallent the whole draft evaluation is far from a sure thing ,I.E. many first round and second round busts and many late round or undrafted great players. Cassel is a great QB much better than Kolb will be.

  29. By DaNorseman on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    Has anyone heard of Florida Atlantics TE Rob Housler cuz I would love for the Vikings to pick him up and groom him. I really think he could be one of those 5-7th round TE steals. Also I really am hoping the Vikings pull the trigger on Mallett cuz the deepest part of my gut says this guy will be a great asset for years to come. With the 12th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select……… QB Ryan Mallett from Arkansas. Yup that sounds beautiful

  30. By Vikings FAN 15 on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    @ DaNorseman heck Ya!! Would LOVE MALLETT on the Vikings. Liked him through college and know he will be a great great pro. Has all the tools, throws, accuracy and knowledge of the game. Looks like other teams are now picking up on him sadly. WE need to Pull the trigger at 12. He is a top 5 pick if it was not for the rumor machine. The rumors are starting to be dispelled and his value is skyrocketing. and man, all you people who keep saying next year next year. We have been doing that every year and look where its gotten us. No franchise QB since Fran. Honestly what do you think we are going to get Luck next year? not going to happen!! We are too good to be the worst in the league. Every year we get better without a QB and get lower in the Draft. If you don’t take a swing, how can you hit a home run? At 12 Ryan Mallett would be very good value and will be a star for us. Vikings Make it happen!!!

  31. By 4eversteve on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    Kevin Kolb is not a franchise quarterback, he is 7-7 with 11td’s and 14 interceptions. That to me doesn’t scream franchise quarterback in no why shape or form in fact Mike Kafka is a better quarterback than Kolb Imo! and he is the Eagles 3rd stringer. Hopefully the Vikings don’t buy into Andy Reid the snake oil salesmen pitch. If they decide to make an offer it should be for Kafka a 4th rounder at best, the Vikings are probably just better off not dealing the Eagles all together!

  32. By Nick on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    Mallet, Mallet, Mallet in the first!!! Don’t care if we move up, down or sit, just get the guy! Is getting Rudolph in the second a case of being a kid in the candy store? I don’t think so, he is the real deal, can help our O-Line and receiving corps.

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