Leslie Frazier's staff of coaches has been reviewing the roster with VP of player personnel Rick Spielman to get it ready for refinement when free agency and the draft take place.
The Vikings are getting into the process of working toward a 2011 season that some are convinced may not happen, but, regardless of how long a delay may postpone business as usual in the NFL, the Vikings are going the extra mile to get their preparation completed.
Vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman has the wheels turning on the condition of the Vikings roster 24/7/365. That's how he's wired. In fact, the upheaval of the Vikings coaching roster, especially in terms of the direction the offense is headed, has gone through a second look thanks to the new coaches bringing in their own opinions.
"It's always good to get an outside perspective on your talent and I know we have a lot of pretty explosive pieces on the offensive side of the ball," Spielman said. "There are some holes or some things that we know we have to get filled on offense, but I think everybody came out (of the meetings) with pretty much the same scenario because we did this process before they came in and we actually did the process again after they came in and got them a chance to get familiar (with the roster). Just from a tape standpoint, there weren't too many differences at all or opinions on where we need to go."
When Spielman brought his horizontal-board-stacking process to the roster, free agency and the draft – applying grades to players from different positions to arrive at a value – he did so after the Brad Childress Era in Minnesota had begun. Childress and his system were already in place when Spielman came in.
When asked if his role with the power structure of the team is different than with Childress, he said that the team concept is in place and that he and head coach Leslie Frazier are on the same page. While the games have gone silent for now, the work continues. Spielman took the approach that past is prologue when it comes to discussing his working relationship with Childress. Both he and the rest of the survivors of what will likely be a significant purge of personnel are looking ahead, not behind.
"I'm not going to talk about the past," Spielman said. "I just know working with Leslie has been great. You go back and forth on ideas. I think when we come up with our final decisions, it's going to be what's best for this organization. I don't think there's one person that puts themselves ahead of the other. We need to sit down and collaboratively do this as you listen to all your coaches, as you listen to all your scouts. Get all their input and opinion. Leslie has been humping it, trying to get caught up watching tape and watching film."
Want to win a bar bet? Try this one on. Since joining the NFL in 2007, Adrian Peterson leads the NFL in rushing yards with 5,782 yards. In that four-year span, who is second on the rushing yardage list? Make a guess (or two or three) before you look at the end of these notes to get the answer.
Do you think the owners knew what they were doing when they wrote up contracts years ago for players with the potential that there could be a lockout in 2011? A record number of veteran players (495) are free agents with contracts that expired after the 2010 season (and before a March 3 drop-dead date for the current CBA), approximately one-third of the league. Of those players, 170 are starters and 70 have played in at least one Pro Bowl. There's a lot of talent out there, not a bunch of stiffs. However, without free agency – or the ability to trade disgruntled players – their financial future is truly on hold. Many of them would cash in when free agency opened in March. Now they have to wait, potentially to a market-killing type of Wild West signing frenzy in July or August if the lockout drags on. If it drags just two months, the draft could impact the free-agent market, as teams use high draft picks to address needs. Given the number of defensive linemen rated highly in the draft, it could severely impact the bang for the buck at DE. If a team invests a first-round pick on a defensive end, will they spend millions more on a veteran with a couple good years left wanting a massive pay day? Probably not. Those crafty owners may be able to crack the players union by leaving a third of its members in professional limbo.
Michael Vick was scheduled to appear on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" this week, but cancelled. Most have said it was on the advice of his inner circle, having second thoughts considering Winfrey is an acknowledged dog lover. Here is one connect-the-dots theory: It had nothing to do with how The Big O would treat him in the hot seat. Prior to being franchised by the Eagles on Tuesday, Vick was potentially going to be a free agent and would need to engender himself more to the general public if he was expected to peddle himself on the open market to come to a new franchise. Once the Eagles committed to him, the need to potentially get humiliated by Oprah went away. With it, so did his desire to get grilled. He had 16 million new reasons to just say "no."
The Packers locked down Ted Thompson to a contract extension a few days ago and word out of the Land O' Cheese is that head coach Mike McCarthy will be the next to cash in long-term, perhaps as early as this weekend.
The answer to the trivia question is Thomas Jones, who has rushed for 4,729 yards, despite being allowed to leave both Chicago and the Jets in that time frame.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.