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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Zulgad: In the face of adversity, Vikings GM does his best to play it cool

By Judd Zulgad

MINNEAPOLIS – Standing in the back of the press box at U.S. Bank Stadium on Thursday just before the Vikings kicked off their final game of the preseason, Rick Spielman smiled, laughed and came off as downright jovial as he addressed the media.

Just over 48 hours earlier, the Vikings general manager had witnessed his franchise’s hopes for 2016 get dealt a potentially devastating blow when quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s left knee inexplicably gave out on him.

But here was Spielman joking about calling Brett Favre and laughing as he discussed how not even his wife thinks his sense of humor is that great.

It was a smart play by Spielman. Don’t ever let them see you sweat, right? Nothing to see here, folks, move along.

Spielman’s mind undoubtedly has been racing in a million different directions since Bridgewater dislocated his knee and tore his ACL during Tuesday’s practice at Winter Park.

The Vikings spent the offseason trying to improve a team that won the NFC North last season, and one of the keys to the Vikings’ potential success this year was the expected improvement of Bridgewater in his third season. Adrian Peterson remains an elite running back, and is coming off a season in which he led the NFL in rushing, but this was expected to be the year the Vikings’ offense began to transition more toward being Bridgewater’s show.

Now, here was Spielman trying to assure everyone that the Vikings have “the utmost confidence in Shaun Hill” in one breath and then admitting he and his staff had spent 14 hours in the office going over film and looking into every possible option at quarterback.

Spielman has no choice to express confidence in Hill, but he also knows the veteran was signed in 2015 to help Bridgewater mature as a quarterback, not to start games. Certainly not a season’s worth.

The issue is that every team Spielman has called figures he’s dealing from a position of desperation.

They aren’t wrong. The Vikings entered Thursday’s game with Hill sitting out because he’s atop the depth chart, meaning Joel Stave had to start. When Stave left in the first half after being shaken up, he was replaced by Brad Sorensen, whom the Vikings released on Tuesday and brought back only out of desperation on Wednesday.

“One thing that we will not do, and I promise you this, is put our organization in a situation where it’s going to inhibit us or hurt us going into the future,” Spielman said. “By that I mean, people are asking for some crazy things, people think that you’re desperate, and we’re not going to do something that – in my estimation and talking with Coach Zim and our ownership – it puts us in a situation where we jeopardize the future of this franchise.”

Spielman likely figures that with teams having to cut rosters to the regular-season limit of 53 players by 3 p.m. Saturday that the asking price from some teams might come down in the coming days, or that a few backup quarterbacks, potential starting options for the Vikings, might hit the waiver wire over the weekend.

Spielman has been here before during his tenure with the Vikings. In 2013, he brought in Josh Freeman figuring the quarterback might be able to provide an upgrade on Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel. It only took one disastrous start against the Giants in New Jersey for Freeman to prove he had no business being on an NFL field.

That Vikings team was in the midst of a 5-10-1 season that got Leslie Frazier fired as coach.

Perhaps a more appropriate comparison, given the expectations surrounding these Vikings, would be to 2010. After advancing to the 2009 NFC title game, the Vikings opened training camp without the services of injured wide receiver Sidney Rice.

Desperate to replace Rice’s production, and with Rice out for an extended period, the Vikings thought they had a deal worked out with San Diego to acquire disgruntled wide receiver Vincent Jackson. But when that deal fell apart, the Vikings sent a third-round pick to New England so Randy Moss could serve as the primary target for Brett Favre.

Moss was gone in a little less than a month after he clashed with coach Brad Childress. Zimmer is a far more respected coach than Childress, but the lesson of making a move out of desperation likely sticks with Spielman to this day.

Maybe that’s why Spielman did his not to appear desperate on Thursday. The reality is there has to be a level of panic at work here but remaining calm was Spielman’s best play.

Even if outside U.S. Bank Stadium the sky was falling.

The post Zulgad: In the face of adversity, Vikings GM does his best to play it cool appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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