Rick Spielman provides more evidence for why the Vikings fired him

Former Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman
Former Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing 2021 season that resulted in the team finishing with an 8-9 record and missing the playoffs, the Minnesota Vikings decided to part ways with head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman.

Spielman's departure was the more surprising of the two, but after further examination, it wasn't too difficult to figure out why the Vikings wanted to make a big change to their front office.

Currently, Minnesota's former general manager spends his time as an NFL analyst for multiple outlets, and recently, he reminded people why he is no longer in charge of building the Vikings' roster.

Rick Spielman thinks Minnesota Vikings would "overpay" to pick J.J. McCarthy in 2024 NFL Draft

During Spielman's time as a leading member of the team's front office from 2006 to 2021, Minnesota drafted a total of six quarterbacks. This group of signal-callers consisted of Tyler Thigpen, John David Booty, Christian Ponder, Teddy Bridgewater, Nate Stanley, and Kellen Mond (Tarvaris Jackson was drafted before Spielman joined the Vikings in 2006).

Spielman made a number of good roster decisions during his time with the Vikings, but selecting a quarterback in the draft was arguably the Achilles heel of his tenure. So, whenever he talks about a young quarterback, it's no surprise that some couldn't care less about his opinion.

Which brings us to some of his most recent thoughts about what Minnesota might have to do in a few weeks to end up with former Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy in the opening round of this year's NFL Draft.

Spielman had the following to say about the subject during a recent episode of CBS Sports' "With the First Pick" podcast.

"[J.J. McCarthy] fits exactly what Kevin O'Connell wants to do from an offensive standpoint. But they're not going to get [him] for just the [two first-round] picks. They're going to have to throw in their first-round pick in 2025, plus some more draft capital to do what they have to do to go up and get [him].

I don't think he's the [fourth-best player] in this draft. But if you have to have [a quarterback], then you're going to overpay to get one. I think he's going to be a good pro, but I think [the Vikings are] gonna overpay if they have to go up and get him."

Spielman also added that Minnesota doesn't really have much of a choice other than to "overpay" for a young passing prospect in this year's draft with the way their quarterback room is currently set up.

"They don't have a choice. I mean, who else, who's gonna play quarterback for [the Vikings] right now? I mean Sam Darnold, they signed, and he's the bridge or, you know, whatever you want to call, whatever term you want to use [for] these guys. Stop-gap, bridge, placeholder-type quarterback.

...If they honestly believe [McCarthy] is the future, and they go out and get him, and he has a very successful career and gets them to the Super Bowl, who gives a rat's tail whether you gave up three first-round picks or not? No one cares.

But if it doesn't [work out], then you're gonna look back and say you gave up all that draft capital for a guy that was, not even not the fourth-best quarterback, but not even the fourth-best player coming out of this year's draft."

During his time in the team's front office, Minnesota traded up in the draft to select a quarterback only once, and that happened in 2014 when the Vikings traded back into the first round to pick Bridgewater with the 32nd overall selection.

So other than Bridgewater, every other quarterback that Minnesota drafted with Spielman as a part of their front office was one who was still on the board when it came time for them to make their pick. Coincidentally, the one signal-caller the Vikings traded up for during their former general manager's tenure with the franchise was the only one who earned a Pro Bowl selection.

When it came to the NFL Draft, Spielman was more about accumulating as many picks as possible to give the team more opportunities to land a top-notch player. Sometimes, this strategy worked, but for the most part, it wasn't very effective since a lot of their extra picks were spent on guys in the later rounds of the draft who eventually proved why they weren't selected during the first few rounds.

Spielman took risks during his time with Minnesota, but hardly any of these risks were taken during the draft, and this is what ultimately led to his firing in 2022. This is also probably why he views the possibility of the Vikings trading up in the first round to draft McCarthy this year as having to overpay.

It's also interesting how the former Minnesota general manager mentions that no one will care about how much draft capital the team gave up if McCarthy leads the franchise to a Super Bowl win.

So, Spielman is fully aware of the large reward that could come from the Vikings trading up for a quarterback prospect in a few weeks, but it doesn't sound like he would be willing to take that risk if he was still in charge of constructing Minnesota's roster.

Luckily, the Vikings have a current general manager in Kwesi Adofo-Mensah who seems like he is willing to take a chance on trading up for one of this year's top passing prospects. It's definitely possible that Adofo-Mensah's decision could end up failing, but at least he's willing to take that risk, unlike the guy he replaced.

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