Vikings to Extend Spielman

The Vikings announced at the owners meeting that Vice President of Player Personnel Rick Spielman has agreed to a contract extension.

Rick Spielman has been given a lot of credit for the success of the Vikings 2007 draft. While Adrian Peterson was a no-brainer – in hindsight anyway, not necessarily at the time – the Spielman-run draft also produced a starter wide receiver Sidney Rice and solid 2007 contributors Marcus McCauley, Brian Robison and Aundrae Allison. As a result, Spielman was rewarded.

The Vikings have reached an agreement to extend Spielman's contract, which had one year remaining on his initial deal, according to the Star Tribune.

Spielman was hired in the wake of the fallout of the 2006 draft, where then-draft honcho Fran Foley so alienated other Vikings staffers that he was fired just a couple of months after being brought on board.

Spielman turned out to be a much different working personality than Foley. His ability to blend into the Triangle of Authority with head coach Brad Childress and money man Rob Brzezinski made for a smooth transition and a positive working relationship over the last two years, highlighted by one of the stronger drafts in recent history for the Vikings.

Vikings fans found out the level to which Spielman is a workaholic last year during the draft preparation phase. At one point, he said that 175 players had been taken out of consideration on the Vikings draft board because of red flag issues – injuries, character questions, etc. Considering that only about 250 players are drafted each year, removing that many players showed that the Vikings had about twice as many players ranked than could possibly get drafted – a testament to his willingness not to let a player slip through the cracks of at least being looked at and graded, even if there was little to no chance the Vikings would take them.

While the deal has yet to be formally finalized, it would seem that Spielman has earned his keep in his two years with the Vikings and that the organization likes the thoroughness and management style he brings to the table and are willing to put the fate of future drafts in his capable hands.

* Spielman told VU around the start of the free-agent period that draft picks "have become the currency of the NFL." With the huge increases in the salary cap over the last few years, just about anyone can spend big money on premium free agents, making draft picks the hot commodity that can make the difference in filling out rosters and adding younger, less expensive talent. However, it would seem the Texans are talking in higher denominations of currency than the Vikings. The Vikings have tried to pry QB Sage Rosenfels out of the Texans this off-season, but Houston stood firm on requiring a second-round draft pick in return. The Houston Chronicle said Tuesday that the team hasn't changed that position and that the Vikings are likely to move in the direction of signing Gus Frerotte as early as this week.
* Following suit, ESPN reported Wednesday morning that the Vikings have reach an agreement in principle with Frerotte on a multi-year contract that is expected to be signed sometime following the owners meetings.
* For those wondering why Rosenfels was a target of the Vikings, he is a young quarterback with tangible West Coast Offense experience that could come in and compete for a job in training camp knowing that Tarvaris Jackson is likely to get the nod. * To date in free agency, the Vikings have invested more than $33 million in guarantees into the contracts of players they have signed.
* From the "Timing Is Everything" Department comes this: Rookie quarterback Colt Brennan was one of the more highly touted college prospects six months ago. A lot has changed since then. The Hawaii quarterback was posting big numbers in June Jones' gimmick offense, but was shredded at the Sugar Bowl by Georgia and now he is going to undergo hip surgery that has a minimum recovery time of eight to 12 weeks. Once thought to be a mid-round pick with some potential upside, don't be surprised to see Brennan still on the board in sixth or seventh round of the draft in a little more than three weeks.
* The owners meeting produced a little bit of a stir Tuesday when the league voted 25-7 to allow communication devices in the helmets of defensive players. At issue was whether it was feasible to have one defensive player wear the device. The measure put to a vote would allow different players to wear the radio helmet, but only one of them being on the field at any given time. Ironically, all seven teams that voted against the measure have head coaches with an offensive background – the Seahawks (Mike Holmgren), Buccaneers (Jon Gruden), Raiders (Lane Kiffin), Eagles (Andy Reid), Rams (Scott Linehan), Redskins (Jim Zorn) and Packers (Mike McCarthy). The Vikings voted in favor of the proposal, which got one more vote than the 24 needed for passage.
* There seems to be a growing opposition to the plan to seed playoff teams by record, which means a wild card team could potentially host a division champion in the first round. A handful of owners have already spoken out against the proposal, which needs just nine to vote against it for it to fail.

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