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Spielman Talks Combine, Free Agency And More

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 16, 2012 – 3:56 pm

Vikings GM Rick Spielman took a few minutes out of his busy pre-Combine meeting schedule to meet with local reporters at Winter Park. I stuck my nose in the meeting and will have much more to add – with quotes from Spielman included – next week before I depart for the Combine.

For now, though, here is a brief rundown of a few topics Spielman was asked to address on Thursday…

– A big part of the meeting focused on free agency, which begins March 13. But Spielman mentioned on a couple different occasions that the Vikings main goal is to fill needs through the draft. Spielman makes a good point. It’s tempting to fill needs with splashy free agent signings, but the most prudent way to improve the roster is to do it through the draft. With that being said, a key free agent signing can make a huge difference. CB Johnathan Joseph was a big signing for the Houston Texans last year, as was RB Darren Sproles for the New Orleans Saints.

– Asked if picking 3rd overall in the draft changes the way a team prepares for the draft, Spielman quickly said no and explained that the pre-draft process is the same for the Vikings.

– Spielman explained that the Vikings role at this year’s Senior Bowl – coaching the North squad – was a great experience for the coaches and scouts.

– On the topic of the Vikings 16 unrestricted free agents, Spielman was (wisely) non-committal on which ones the Vikings will try to re-sign. Spielman said the team would not shut the door on signing any of them. But he also said the Vikings have a plan and will be prepared to make smart football and business decisions.

– Spielman noted that CB and WR appear to be strengths of this year’s drafts. That’s interesting for the Vikings because both of those positions are “of need” for the Vikings. Most early mock drafts have the Vikings taking a player in one of those positions, but if those positions truly are the strength of this draft perhaps the Vikings would be better-served to take a player at another position early in the draft and then rely on the depth of those positions to target them later in the draft. Or, on the flip side, the Vikings could capitalize on the strength of the draft and on having the #3 overall pick and taking one of the best players at the best positions.

– Spielman said Adrian Peterson’s rehab is going well.

– The Vikings will receive a couple of compensatory picks for the departure of DE Ray Edwards and WR Sidney Rice via free agency last year. That will give the Vikings 10 picks in the draft, which Spielman acknowledged gives the Vikings flexibility to consider trades.


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