The Minnesota Vikings do a lot of research when it comes to potential players to join their team, but in the end, it’s all about who will be the best fit.
With the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine this weekend, there will be more information out there than ever about the players entering the NFL Draft. There will be 40 yard dash times, bench presses, hands drills, footwork drills, height and weight measurements and much, much more.
But what can be done with that information? How much does a fraction of a tenth of a second mean in a sprint where there are no football pads or defenders on? Without defenses and real game situations, how much can can be read into catching drills? And how will all this information be used along with game tape, injury history, and more to determine a player’s draft stock?
According to an article on Vikings.com, general manager Rick Spielman knows the value of these analytics, but doesn’t want to place too much emphasis on one event. However, that information can be useful when combined with other methods of evaluation.
"“In how we’re continuing to evolve with that, it’s not the final decision, it’s just another tool,” Spielman said. “Hopefully it helps you make good decisions. This is a part of it, but I think there are five or six other areas that we add into it. Guys a lot smarter than me came up with 17 different algorithms.”"
Sometimes, a dominating performance at the NFL Scouting Combine can result in a player skyrocketing up draft boards, but there are also many occasions where those breakout players failed to live up to their amazing weekends. Instead, Rick Spielman likes to pay attention to the numbers, but go with his gut.
"“I’ve seen (analytics) starting to work,” Spielman said with a laugh. “If it didn’t work then I would be like, ‘OK, next.’ But to be honest with you, it’s always going to come down to your gut instinct.”"
The Minnesota Vikings will definitely be paying attention this weekend at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine when some of the future stars of the National Football League will be on display. Hopefully, one of the players who Rick Spielman and the rest of the staff like can spot a future member of the franchise during these events.