Vikings GM: ‘We’re never satisfied’

The Vikings have made a lot of progress in the last year, but GM Rick Spielman isn’t satisfied yet.

As the Vikings finished off minicamp Thursday and players got the chance to go back to where they come from for the next five weeks before the official start of training camp in late July, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman appeared on the Vikings flagship radio station KFAN to talk about the progress the team has been making.

In an interview with Vikings play-by-play man Paul Allen, Spielman said one of the reasons he sees the Vikings as a team moving in the right direction is the leadership that Mike Zimmer has brought to the organization. While he believes he has had strong relationships with all of the head coaches he has worked with, he sees something different in the skill set that Zimmer brings to the job.

“I’ve had a lot of great relationships with coaches throughout my career, but I think there something unique in Coach Zimmer and how he handles not only this football team, but everyone else in the building,” Spielman said. “He’s a very unique individual – very intense, very passionate, but a very good person too. To be on the same page from top to bottom in the organization and everyone going in the same direction, we’re very excited about where we’re heading.”

With the end of minicamp and OTAs comes the time of year that team officials dread. Brad Childress famously told players, “don’t be the guy” when it comes to getting in trouble or not doing what you’re supposed to during this five-week hiatus from the team. But with the team buying into Zimmer’s philosophy and his way of doing business, he anticipates that when the players converge down in Mankato next month, they will be ready to get the grind of a season started.

“Coach Zimmer addressed that in the team meeting today, just talking about what you have to do to get prepared to come back for training camp,” Spielman said. “These guys are away from the building for the next five weeks. They get an opportunity to go home and recover a little bit from this offseason, but also I know these guys are going to go home and start preparing for training camp. We don’t want guys coming back taking five weeks off and starting from ground zero again.”

The Vikings have taken a lot of steps in the offseason to make 2015 one that will have the team looking at a playoff spot. They have been building toward their goal, but the OTAs and minicamp were merely the first step in that process and Spielman is convinced that this year’s training camp will be compelling because there will be jobs on the line and playing time at stake for the 53 players who eventually make the final roster.

“It’s a process,” Spielman said. “You have meetings the first day. Then you get back to the OTA sessions – walk-throughs with shells on in the morning and then you have shell practices in the afternoon. I think everybody is excited to see when you get into pads. That first week of pads guys are getting used to getting back into it. They’re going to be sore. They’re going to bang heads a little bit. Coach Zimmer is always preaching smart, tough, passionate (play). We’re going to have another physical camp. It’s going to be a very competitive camp at a lot of positions. There are a lot of guys that are fighting for roster spots, fighting for play time, fighting for starting jobs. I think with the youth in the draft the couple of years and some of the additions we’ve been able to add, it might be the most competitive camp we’ve had in a while.”

“We’re excited about the progress we’re making,” Spielman said. “We’re not there yet. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re still monitoring the waiver wire every day. Any time you can add another player that makes your team that much better, we’re going to always look to potentially do that. It never ends. We’re never satisfied.”

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