Rick Spielman says NFL 15 Vikings’ draft is a sign of the times

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The virtual nature of this year’s NFL draft has not stopped Rick Spielman from riding and negotiating. In fact, the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings was so aggressive in storing project capital that the Vikings walked away with 15 choices, most by any team since the project went to a seven-lap format in 1994.

It was all part of a strategy, said Spielman, to gain more choices late in the game so the Vikings could “relieve stress” within the free university agency. Instead of having to recruit and bid against other teams to sign players who were not drafted, Minnesota was able to spot players it planned as undrafted free agents on Saturday in subsequent rounds.

“There are positions that are light and I know we’re going to have a hard time signing as free agents, and there are positions that are heavy,” said Spielman. “For example, the wide receiver was really heavy this year. Even if we had wide receivers up there, we were going to attack that position in free will. In the seventh round, the defensive end class was light this year, so for us to get the Michigan State child [Kenny Willekes] where we got it, who’s a hell of a player, was good for us.

“Often when you have so many choices in the sixth and seventh rounds, you weigh where the strength of the college free agency will be and where it will be difficult to find players. “

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Spielman said the Viking free agent process is “as smooth as ever” and that becoming virtual makes it more efficient than when all screening staff generally meet in person at the end of the seventh round to discuss and sign free agents.

Minnesota entered on Saturday with 13 caps after leaving the third round by sending No. 105 to New Orleans in exchange for four picks from Day 3. Spielman ended up recruiting 11 players on Saturday, seven on defense, and won two draft picks in 2021 in trade with Chicago and Buffalo.

“It’s great to have so many choices,” said Spielman. “With the way the free college agency was going to work in this virtual world, having so many choices, you don’t have to go on the phone and convince the guys to come. We had enough project capital just to take the guys that if we didn’t have that much provisional capital in those later rounds, we may not have gotten it as free agents. It is therefore a strategic element that we have also examined, in particular during this year. “

The Minnesota college free agent class includes wide receiver Texas A&M Quartney Davis, to whom the Vikings gave a signing bonus of $ 10,000 as part of a $ 100,000 guaranteed deal, a source said after ‘he initially agreed to sign as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys. The Vikings also added a fourth rookie cornerback to UCF’s Nevelle Clarke.

The Vikings will have almost as many choices in the 2021 draft as they did in the past three days. Minnesota got a fourth round pick next year after sending No. 155 to Chicago and won a fifth round selection in 2021 for the 201st and 219th pick exchanges in Baltimore (the Vikings also got choice n ° 225 this year).

“I cherish those [draft picks], and I’m trying to collect as many as I can, “said Spielman. When you have so much seed money and are able to turn some choices into next year’s choice, and I don’t know how deep next year’s draft is, but to start now where we’re at 12 picks, who knows where we’re going to end next year. “

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