Rick Spielman Should Stay with the Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings seem to have an Unholy Trinity in its midst that they want to exorcize from the organization this offseason. That trio is of course Kirk Cousins, Rick Spielman, and Mike Zimmer. There’s a high possibility that at least one, if not two or all three, will not be with the Vikings in 2022. Mike Zimmer, well, his coaching has run its course. As for Kirk Cousins, he carries a hefty price tag that the Vikings may be unable or unwilling to pay. I’m on the record saying that Cousins should be extended, but if that falls through, I understand why Minnesota would move on. The one that I really don’t understand is why Rick Spielman needs to leave.
Spielman has only been a great GM since he got the job in 2012. Let me clarify, that is not to say Spielman is without mistakes. There are blotches on the resume such as whiffed draft picks, weird trades, and expensive contracts. The Yannick Ngakoue trades still make no sense to me. That said, you can look at just about any GM in the entire NFL and say the same thing. Overall though, Spielman has done a good job.
One of the main knocks on Spielman is that he trades down in the draft too much. Sure, he does make a lot of draft day moves in his tenure, but the criticism that he is too complacent on draft day gets overblown. Many of these trades come on day three when the draft becomes essentially a crapshoot. The more shots you take, the better chance you have of finding good players.
People act like these moves always end up with the Vikings getting the short end of the stick, too. This is simply not the case. As a result of trading down, Spielman has helped land the Vikings players such as Anthony Barr, Danielle Hunter, Stefon Diggs, Tyler Conklin, Alexander Mattison, and most recently, Christian Darrisaw. These players aren’t exactly nobodies, and the only one that isn’t on the team anymore was used in another trade to help land Justin Jefferson in the draft.
Finally, the Vikings haven’t exactly been a team that has been lacking talented players in recent years. One of the biggest criticisms of this team in 2021 has underperforming with a loaded offense. If I’m not mistaken, Spielman played a major role in getting every player on this offense as well as landing players like Patrick Peterson, Michael Pierce, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Xavier Woods in free agency. Underperforming with this roster in 2021 seems like a combination of bad injury luck along with just an outdated coaching scheme.
Those are not things under Spielman’s control. It continues to point to a coach in Zimmer (but Klint Kubiak isn’t getting off the hook here either), that hasn’t evolved with the NFL. Because of that, give Spielman another chance to run the Vikings offseason.