Vikings’ Spielman not showing his draft cards
MINNEAPOLIS — General manager Rick Spielman has a good idea what his Vikings will do when the NFL draft gets under way Thursday. For now, apparently not even the team’s owners know.
Spielman said Tuesday he’s keeping his precise thoughts top secret.
“I have a pretty good indication of, I feel, the direction we need to go, but I’m going to keep that to myself till Thursday,” he said Tuesday.
Asked who else knows, Spielman said, “No one.” He did say he plans to let owners Zygi and Mark Wilf know what he is planning before the draft begins.
The Vikings have the No. 8 pick in the first round of the three-day draft, which wraps up Saturday. While there has been plenty of speculation they might take a quarterback at that spot, growing sentiment is they will look to trade down.
“If there’s a guy there that we say we don’t want to pass (up), he’s too big an impact for us, then we’re going to take him (at No. 8),” Spielman said. “If I can see there’s depth that if we drop back X amount of spots (and) we’re still going to get a good football player, I would love to do that and pick up extra picks if I can.”
Unless a top prospect unexpectedly falls, Spielman figures to be on the phones when the Vikings are on the clock. But if they can’t reach a deal they like, they will have to take somebody at that spot.
There continues to be speculation about Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles going there, but Spielman might not want to take him that high after having made a mistake by reaching for quarterback Christian Ponder with the No. 12 pick in 2011. Much of the other speculation has been about defensive players, including Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley.
If the Vikings were to take Donald, it could be an indication they would prefer him to Sharrif Floyd as the heir apparent to departed defensive tackle Kevin Williams. Spielman said the Vikings like Floyd but that a team never can have too many defensive linemen.
“Sharrif Floyd is going to be a very good football player for us,” Spielman said. “We’re very excited about where Sharrif is at this point, where he came from, from where he was last year, the weight loss, the dedication he’s shown, how he’s fitting in this scheme.”
Floyd, taken No. 23 by Minnesota in last year’s draft, recently gave up eating meat and has dropped 25 pounds to get down to 305. He showed off his new body during a minicamp last week.
The Vikings have eight picks in the seven-round draft — one in each of the first two rounds, two in the third and one in each of the final four rounds.
Spielman said he’s already gotten “feelers” from other teams about whether the Vikings might trade their picks in the second round (No. 40 overall) and fourth round. He didn’t say anything about any possible offers for their first-round selection.
With Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel unlikely to be available, other possible picks at No. 8 are defensive backs Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama, Calvin Pryor of Louisville, Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State and Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State.
Spielman, though, hinted there could be a surprise up his sleeve.
“At night, I read the mocks, kind of get caught up on things,” he said. “You guys are missing some names on our spot at 8, I can tell you that.”
Minnesota’s owners know those players. Spielman said he spoke to Mark Wilf for 45 minutes Tuesday and “threw seven or eight names at him.”
As to one name Spielman really likes, he’s still keeping that to himself.
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