Monday, October 3, 2022

Best and worst Viking drafts during Rick Spielman’s tenure

Best and worst Viking drafts during Rick Spielman's tenure

After 16 years of ups and downs in the organization, Rick Spielman’s time with Vikings has come to an end. It became official on Monday when Vikings owners Mark and Zigi Wilf issued a morning statement announcing the firing of Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer.

Specifically, Spielman joined the Vikings front office in 2006 and served briefly as vice president of human resources before being promoted to general manager in 2012. It was then that he really began to regularly supervise the draft board.

While he has long been considered an accomplished talent evaluator, capable of home runs with his draft picks, Spielman also had a few hesitations and misses that ultimately led to his demise.

Here are some of the best and worst Vikings drafts during Spielman’s tenure:

BEST

5. Eric Kendricks (2015)

While still one of the most underrated players in the NFL, middle midfielder Eric Kendricks has been the heart of the Vikings’ defense ever since he was picked in the second round of the 2015 draft. no one. This, combined with the fact that Kendrix has incredible ball skills, is one of Spielman’s best picks to draft. It’s worth noting that stellar receiver Stephon Diggs could have beaten Kendrix on this list if he was still with the Vikings.

4. Daniel Hunter (2015)

It’s not often a team picks a true superstar in the middle of a draft. This is exactly what Spielman did when he picked defender Daniel Hunter in the third round in 2015. Since the Vikings took a chance, Hunter has become one of the best pass rushers in the league when he is healthy. The problem with Hunter, of course, is that he hasn’t been healthy for the past couple of seasons. Now his future in the organization is in question, as he will earn $ 20 million next season.

3. Dalvin Cook (2017)

After an impressive career in college, runner-back Dalvin Cook was eliminated in the 2017 Draft due largely to off-field concerns. Spielman decided to trade in the second round to select Cook, and in the process gained some high-profile talent for that position. While there have been some concerns about injury throughout Cook’s career, he is by far one of the most dynamic players in the league when he gives his 100 percent.

2. Harrison Smith (2012)

With full control of the front office ahead of the 2012 draft, Spielman made arguably his best pick in the draft, trading for Harrison Smith in the first round. Over the past decade, the Vikings have not had a more consistent player than Smith. Despite having struggled for defense as a whole in the past couple of seasons, Smith is still playing at a high level.

1. Justin Jefferson (2020)

After a reluctant exchange of Diggs for the Buffalo Bills, which should have happened, Spielman immediately replaced him, picking star receiver Justin Jefferson in the first round of the 2020 draft. Jefferson’s first two seasons with Vikings were record-breaking and it looks like his star will only grow. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before Jefferson breaks all the franchise records that Randy Moss currently owns. The one who replaces Spielman will receive one of the best hosts in the league as a gift.

THE WORST

5. Mike Hughes (2018)

Through no fault of his own, full-back Mike Hughes lost heavily after Spielman picked him in the first round in 2018. Although he kicked off his career with a bang, recording a 28-yard touchdown interception in his NFL debut. After that, Hughes could not stay healthy. As a rookie, he suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and a lingering neck injury that more or less ended his Viking career. He currently plays for the Kansas City Chiefs.

4. Garrett Bradbury (2019)

Needing some help up front, Spielman picked center Garrett Bradbury in the first round in 2019. This was a dubious move at the time, as center isn’t often picked with such a high pick in the draft. In retrospect, it looks 100 times worse as Bradbury has looked physically weaker throughout his career. It’s not hard to imagine that the Vikings will leave him at some point in the near future. This season he was replaced by apprentice lineman Mason Cole.

3. Jeff Gladney (2020)

With the safety of Antoine Winfield Jr ready to enter the 2020 draft, Spielman ditched the Gophers’ standout and opted for defender Jeff Gladney instead. This proved to be a huge mistake as Winfield turned into a playmaker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl champion and Gladney is no longer with the Vikings. He was released on August 3, 2021 after a grand jury indicted him for assaulting a woman.

2. Christian Ponder (2011)

It should be at the top of the list because of the impact it has had on the franchise over the years. The decision to pick a quarterback in the first round in 2011 – Spielman led the Vikings draft even though he wasn’t general manager yet – didn’t work at all. Ponder finished 14-21-1 in the Vikings’ starting lineup and was eliminated from the NFL shortly after leaving the team.

1. Lacuon Treadwell (2016)

Spielman’s biggest mistake was taking receiver Lakuon Treadwell in the first round in 2016. He was virtually non-existent throughout his Vikings career, playing 53 games and scoring 65 goals for 701 yards. As if that weren’t enough, Treadwell behaved with dignity, believing that he should be the focus of the attack despite his struggles. It was a waste of draft picks that Spielman would never survive.

Nation World News Desk
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