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Vikings Name Spielman General Manager

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 3, 2012 – 9:30 am

The Vikings have announced that Rick Spielman has been named General Manager of the team.

“This establishes the organizational structure that will lead to the long term success of the Vikings,” Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf said. “Having watched Rick over the years, we have the utmost confidence that he will help us reach our ultimate goal of winning championships.”

Spielman joined the Vikings as Vice President of Player Personnel on May 30, 2006 and has overseen the acquisition of several of the team’s top performers, including new Vikings single-season sack king Jared Allen and a pair of former rookies of the year in Percy Harvin (2009) and Adrian Peterson (2007). During Spielman’s tenure, the Vikings won back-to-back NFC North championships in 2008 and 2009, and advanced to the NFC Championship Game after the 2009 season.

“Rick has proven to be a valuable member of the organization since joining the Vikings in 2006,” Owner/President Mark Wilf said. “With Rick’s and Coach Frazier’s leadership, the Vikings are well-positioned to win next season and beyond.”

Spielman will join Head Coach Leslie Frazier for a press conference on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. in the Winter Park Field House. The press conference will be streamed live on vikings.com.


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A Look At Top 10 Draft Order, What It Could Mean For Vikings

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 3, 2012 – 8:11 am

We mentioned earlier this morning that the conclusion of the2011 regular season cements the identity of each team’s opponents for the 2012 season. The conclusion of the 2011 regular season also cements the positioning of most non-playoff qualifying teams for the 2012 NFL Draft.

While we still don’t know for certain the entire pool of draft-eligible players (the deadline for underclassmen to declare has not passed), and while we still have bowl games, all-star games, the NFL Scouting Combine and college and university pro days to get through, it’s still fun to take a look at how the early stages of the 1st round might transpire, especially when your team has a pick in the early stages.

Coming off a 3-13 season, the Vikings certainly do have a pick in the early stages of the draft. The Vikings hold the 3rd overall selection in the 1st round, putting them in great position to nab an elite player from this year’s class. And, at the risk of speculating too early, I believe the Vikings may also have great flexibility in terms being able to trade out of the 3rd spot to acquire more picks. Let’s take a look at the Top 10 and then I’ll explain what the Vikings might have going on…

1. Indianapolis
2. St. Louis
3. Minnesota
4. Cleveland
5. Tampa Bay
6. Washington
7. Jacksonville
8. Carolina
9. Miami
10. Buffalo

When you’re a 3-13 team, you obviously have enough holes in the roster where selecting 3rd overall will allow you to add an immediate impact player to the lineup. So if the Vikings stay at #3, they will get a tremendous player that will help right away regardless of what happens in front of them at #1 and #2. At the same time, when you’re a 3-13 team you obviously have enough holes where acquiring just one player in the Top 3 is not going to increase the entire team’s level of performance. So it might be wise to consider trading back into a later part of the 1st round in order to acquire more picks and fortify the roster with young talent.

More than perhaps any year we’ve seen in quite some time, I believe the Vikings could be in a great position to leverage a certain player at #3 against a few teams within the Top 10 to acquire a handsome package of picks while also still getting a Top 10-caliber player.

It might be foolish to get too far into the speculation when we’re still so far away from the draft, but suffice it to say that Baylor QB Robert Griffin III is whom I believe the Vikings could leverage against other teams to acquire more picks. Cleveland at #4, Washington at #6 and Miami at #9 being teams that could easily be interested in a player such as Griffin, the Vikings might have 3 trading partners with which to work. If either Washington or Miami deems Griffin III worthy of being their franchise QB, then they will likely need to jump ahead of Cleveland at #4 to get him. If the Browns view Griffin III in the same manner, then they will have to jump up 1 spot to the Vikings #3 positioning to ensure that they can select Griffin III instead of either Washington or Miami.

Again, it’s far too early to speculate much further into this possibility, but it’s the very first thing that came to my mind when I saw how the Top 10 shook out for the 2012 NFL Draft. The Vikings could take Griffin III themselves, or they could choose to stay at #3 and grab another player they covet and fear wouldn’t be available if they made a trade and moved back into the later stages of the Top 10.


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Vikings 2012 Opponents

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 3, 2012 – 7:40 am

Now that the 2011 regular season is over, each NFL team knows the identity of its opponents for 2012. The full schedule is not known and isn’t typically announced until late April, but at least we know which teams will comprise the Vikings schedule next year.

Under the NFL’s scheduling formula, an individual team’s schedule is comprised of the following games:
— Home and away against its 3 division opponents (6 games)
— The four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating 3-year cycle (4 games)
— The four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating 4-year cycle (4 games)
— Two intraconference games based on the prior year’s standings (2 games). These games will match a 1st place team against the 1st place teams in the two same-conference divisions the team is not scheduled to play that season. The 2nd place, 3rd place and 4th place teams are matched up in the same way.

In 2012 the Vikings will be matched up against the NFC West and the AFC South. Also, the Vikings finished in 4th place in the NFC North, so they’ll be playing the 4th place teams from the NFC East (Washington Redskins) and NFC South (Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

It’s far too early to start speculating on the level of difficulty of the schedule because so much will change with every team between now and Week 1. Here is the full list of Vikings opponents (separated by home and away matchups)…

Home
Division: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers
NFC West: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers
AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans
NFC 4th Place: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Away
Division: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers
NFC West: Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams
AFC South: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts
NFC 4th Place: Washington Redskins


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