Apr 26, 2012; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman talks with the media after the introduction of the 2013 1st round draft picks at Winter Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Longwell Says the Vikings Fired the Wrong Guy


Most of what we’re getting out of Winter Park on the firing of Leslie Frazier is complete tripe of the expected “he was a great guy and a classy individual and a heck of a coach and I’m sad to see him go” variety. Unsurprisingly, not one single player has a bad thing to say about Frazier as he packs up his stuff and calls it a day. Not even Chris Cook is mad at him.

And not one single player has a bad thing to say about Rick Spielman either. Even though Spielman is arguably far more to blame for the team’s poor performance two of the last three years.

Well you can’t expect current players to bad-mouth Spielman too much. Some of them want to come back to Minnesota next year, and the ones who don’t have the Vikings in their plans still need to mind what they say, lest they create the perception among their prospective future employers that they are malcontents and whiners.

Ex-players thankfully are not bound by the same rules of etiquette. The guys who are out of the game can say anything they want. Ryan Longwell is one such individual. He is unfettered by employment concerns. And he has a Twitter account.

Earlier on Monday, Longwell tweeted this:


Who does Longwell think was the right guy to fire? We can only guess.

But yeah, he means Rick Spielman.

Longwell arguably has reason to be bitter with Spielman. The kicker was given a contract extension in 2011 only to watch the Vikings draft Blair Walsh in 2012. Longwell was unceremoniously dumped shortly after the draft. A similar fate was visited upon Longwell’s pal Chris Kluwe early in 2013.

Hard to argue with the results of the Longwell-for-Walsh swap out. Longwell’s skills were clearly fading at the time, and all Walsh has done in two years is become one of the NFL’s best, most-reliable kickers.

But despite the facts of the situation, Longwell still clearly feels that Spielman did him wrong. He isn’t ready to call out Spielman by name, but he doesn’t have to. We know who “the wrong guy” is.

The list of players with a gripe against Spielman seems to grow every time the Vikings cycle out their veterans in favor of younger players. Roster turnover is a reality that all teams face, but most general managers get that there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle those delicate situations.

Spielman apparently hasn’t yet learned how to handle these situations with the proper amount of tact. But as long as he keeps drafting guys like Cordarrelle Patterson, Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith, I’m guessing most fans will forgive his ethical lapses.

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Tags: Minnesota Vikings Rick Spielman Ryan Longwell

  • Daniel Laxen

    Yeah, who needs rounds 3-7 in the draft anyway? I’m with Longwell!

    • Jake

      And how much talent has he brought in the last few years through the draft. Floyd, Patterson, Kalil, Smith, Rhodes, Walsh, Rudolph. Not to mention guys who are starting to come into their own a bit like Cole, Sendejo, Sherels. And free agents who are starting to produce like Jennings and Simpson. But no you don’t remember any of those moves, you only remember the Ponder pick. Nothing is a sure thing dude. Did they over reach for him? Sure. Did they know he was going to be a bust? No, no more than anyone knew Ryan Couch or Jamarcus Russel or Matt Lienart or any other bust player would end up being busts. Get over it man. He made a bad move, so what. I’d say the numerous good moves he’s made over the last few years easily outweigh that one.

      • Daniel Laxen

        Jake the core of ANY team in the NFL is constructed through those very rounds. I’ve never questioned his picks and splashy moves in the 1st round, but we are comparing apples to oranges. The percentage of hitting in rounds 1 and 2 has been long documented as a high success rate. The tricky part is finding these hidden gems in those later rounds where the savvy and the shrewd complete their respective teams. EVERY team has at least 5 starters from those rounds. The Vikings have 2 starters from that realm. Brandon Fusco, an average guard, and Audie Cole. He’s the guy that Spielman released a mere 6 weeks removed. How does a GM release the guy that the following week is the starter?

        You have to realize that a 3rd round pick has an average of 25% chance of becoming a mediocre starter and about a 12% chance to be a quality player. The later in the draft the worse the average. In 3 years Spielman has 2 players starting after round 2…That’s pathetic! The over draft of Ponder is an indication also.

        He is still learning what it is to be a GM. Childress was the main cog prior to 2011. What happens in 2 years when the Vikings move into their new digs and have to pay all the talent he drafted in the 1st and second rounds? There is a salary cap that will have to be dealt with, you know? That’s five 1st round picks that hopefully pan out, that will need new contracts, all at a similar time frame.

        Maybe in that time they get a franchise QB. He’s gonna have to get paid too! If the Vikings groom this talent and still have no QB they will lose the true talent that he did acquire. Try to be more farsighted. The big picture and moving forward is ALWAYS what has to be done. I’m worried about the direction he leads this team in. The players felt strongly about Frazier too. Longwell may well have been right on the money? SKOL Brother!