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4 takeaways from Rick Spielman’s pre-combine media session

By Matthew Coller

With the NFL Combine on the way next week and free agency opening March 9, Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman sat down with the Twin Cities media to discuss the team’s offseason. Here are five takeaways from the conversation:

The Adrian Peterson situation

Quote:

“That will get addressed here before free agency starts….in my mind, regardless of whether Adrian is here or not here next year because of whatever happens, he will always be a Minnesota Viking.”

Takeaway:

Spielman’s comments were far from definitive on Peterson, but he did later make a point of calling the upcoming running back class, “The deepest I’ve ever seen,” which would point you more in the direction of the Vikings moving on from Peterson and drafting a back with their second-round selection than re-signing him. The Vikings’ GM was asked whether he could see Peterson fitting in Pat Shurmur’s scheme, but again, he did not give a definitive answer, other than to note that Mike Zimmer is playing a more integral role in the offensive design for 2017 and whether they could use AP or not in that scheme is yet to be determined.

Teddy Bridgewater’s rehab

Quote:

“I can tell you that internally there is no timeline.”

“Teddy is attacking his rehab as diligently as he can.”

Takeaway:

Spielman was asked specifically if the Vikings know whether Bridgewater will ever play again and he did not want to expand on his answer. He did say that Bridgewater’s rehab has not reached the stage yet where he is doing quarterback activities. There was a report from Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole that stated Bridgewater would miss the entire 2017 season, but Spielman said that it is impossible for anyone to put a timeline on an injury of that significance. When pressed about how that might affect Bridgewater’s fifth-year option or a contract extension for Sam Bradford, Spielman would only say that he was very impressed with how Bradford played last season and sees him “in the prime of his career.”

Matt Kalil and fixing the offensive line

Quote:

“Last year, before he got injured, he was having the best offseason and probably the best training camp he’s had – before his hip started to bother him. We were very excited about the [direction] that Matt was going. Unfortunately when he did hurt his hip it affected his play when he tried to play through it. With Matt, there’s no question about the ability part, it’s just whether he can become more consistent.”

Takeaway:

With a severe lack of great options to fill the open left tackle spot, you could safely say that re-signing Kalil is on the table for the Vikings. Since his rookie year, the Vikings have not received consistent play out of Kalil, which should be a huge concern if there is a plan to sign him to a long-term contract. With seemingly some belief in Kalil’s talent from the front office, it might make sense to sign him short term or with very little guaranteed money on basically a year-to-year deal to see if he can reach his ceiling over the next few years.

Spielman said that the team has done a deep dive on offensive lines around the league, where top linemen are drafted and how long they take to develop. One point that might pertain to TJ Clemmings is that Spielman said that he’s found later-round picks tend to see the most playing time in their fourth or fifth year. Now, that might not mean the Vikings should give young linemen 4-5 years, more so that good linemen who aren’t top picks probably take longer to get a look as a starter, then never give up the job.

Laquon Treadwell and Mackensie Alexander’s outlook

Quote:

“We have Trae Waynes, Xavier [Rhodes], Captain [Munnerlyn] and Terence Newman, so we felt Mackensie Alexander was great value where we were picking. Was that a need that was going to get filled? No because technically he’s behind those four guys, but let’s get him as much prepared as we can because going into this year we have two of those guys that are out of a contract. So now Mackensie has developed until he got hurt and had surgery, but is he a guy that can potentially replace those guys? Sometimes when you draft guys, they may not be an impact player this year, but you see two or three years down the road they can fill a significant role.”

On Treadwell:

“He is maybe the hardest working kid I’ve ever seen. I walk out of here, usually I don’t leave until 9 P.M. at night and I walk out and he’s down there running routes on air with himself. He is so determined to be a good player and he has the skill set to do it.”

Takeaway:

Whether the Vikings re-sign Captain Munnerlyn or not will tell us a lot about how they feel Alexander progressed in his first year. When he did get opportunities, Alexander struggled, though those chances were few and far between. He is known as a hard-headed player, who has a strong work ethic and toughness, but in order to become a full time player, he’ll have to be open to learning more about playing a very difficult position at the highest level.

Toward the end of the season, Mike Zimmer also said that he believes Treadwell can be a good player. Both Zimmer and Spielmen have discussed issues with route-running depth. In a game against Dallas, he clearly went too far on a route, causing an incompletion on a key third down. Spielman hinted that a full offseason with Sam Bradford might help solve some of those issues. Similar to Alexander, we will get a window into the team’s thoughts on their 2016 first-round pick during free agency. Bringing in a big name receiver could be an indication that they don’t believe Treadwell will be an impact player. Having seen Treadwell doing the extra work after practice and discussing his work ethic with his former college coach at Ole Miss, Spielman’s comments are likely genuine, but whether he succeeds or not won’t be based on his work ethic, it will be on if he can stay on the field, learn the offense and become a playmaker.

The post 4 takeaways from Rick Spielman’s pre-combine media session appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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