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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Five takeaways from Rick Spielman’s Combine talk

By Matthew Coller

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman talked to the Twin Cities media and at the podium at the NFL Combine on Wednesday. He was asked about the quarterback situation, which you can read here. Spielman also discussed a number of other topics. Here are the takeaways:

Strength of the draft and analytics

With their first pick coming at the bottom of the first round, it’s tough to guarantee the Vikings will land a player who will make an instant impact in 2018, but Spielman said his impression of this year’s class is that there will be strong prospects in areas where the Vikings could be focusing.

“This is going to be a pretty deep class where it is right now,” Spielman said. “This is the first opportunity where we are going to get a lot of other boxes to check. But I think with the needs we identified on our football team to keep continuing to move forward we will get a pretty good football player when we pick at 30.”

The Vikings have increased their use of analytics over the years to analyze players’ combine performances. There are some numbers that are predictive of success for different positions.

“The analytics have really come up with some unique studies,” Spielman said. “Just as another tool for potential success. And they’re not 100 percent right either, but it’s just another aid for us to use when we make a final decision. I think it’s been a very valuable tool for us…it can really guide you one way or another in tiebreaker situations.”

Continuity with John DeFilippo

The Vikings have already made one big offseason move by hiring former Eagles QBs coach John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator. Spielman discussed the decision, saying it was a bonus to have an OC who could carry over concepts that worked under Pat Shurmur.

“We made such tremendous strides from where we were to where our offense was last year,” Spielman said. “A lot of what we talked about was, if we do go outside to hire a new offensive coordinator, do you just blow the whole thing up and start with a whole new system? Or do you go out and find someone who is familiar with the system and then add to that. As we talked with John, he is familiar with the West Coast (offense), familiar with the Chip Kelly stuff, some of that is still embedded in Philadelphia and with Tony Sparano and the rest of our staff and what we do well in the run game.”

Laquon Treadwell’s future

The Vikings don’t really have a pressing decision to make on their 2016 first-round receicer since Laquon Treadwell’s contract runs through 2019 and offers no real benefit to cutting him. But they will have to decide whether to sign or draft another receiver hold down the No. 3 spot alongside Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen or will they give Treadwell more opportunities in 2018?

“Laquon continues to progress. It’s going to be a big year for him – hoping to see that jump from him,” Spielman said. “You know, he does work extremely hard at it. He’s a pleaser. He wants to do well.”

“And he just has to learn how to relax a little bit and not press so much and enjoy playing, don’t put so much pressure on yourself.’

Drafting a QB

The Vikings have spent two first-round picks on QBs over the past seven drafts and sent a first-round pick to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford in 2016. They have not taken late-round swings at QB. Whether the door is open to filling the 2017 starting job in the draft, Spielman said:

“We are going to look through this quarterback thing at all options….do you invest another draft pick? I think there are some quality quarterbacks in this draft or do you go out and potentially find another Case Keenum type or does Kyle Sloter continue to develop? To me, especially in the situations we’ve been in over the last couple of years, that’s one position where it seems you don’t have enough.”

Reiff’s impact

At No. 30, tackles like Conor Williams or Orlando Brown could be in the mix, depending on the Vikings’ long-term plan at tackle. There is a chance they could consider moving Riley Reiff to right tackle eventually off they land a franchise LT. Spielman praised Reiff’s instant impact on the line.

“He came in right off the bat, and we moved him right over to left tackle,” Spielman said. “He was not only a tremendous football player for us – fit everything we wanted culturally – but I think as we went through the OTAs, Coach Zimmer made him a captain.”

“That’s pretty rare for a guy who has never been here. I think that reflects on what we thought of him not only as a football player but what he brought to our football team in the leadership role.”

The post Five takeaways from Rick Spielman’s Combine talk appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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