I love GM Rick Spielman, I really do. He's been a very good GM for the Vikings, his brother Chris is one of my five favorite all time Ohio State players ever, and he looks like a guy that would be a phenomenal game show host had he not chosen professional football as a vocation.
But those reasons aren't the reasons I love Rick Spielman, no sir. I love how he can dazzle a room with a 1,000 word answer on a question of import, yet say nothing substantive. Ever. Because Rick Spielman won't give you anything on a silver platter, cookie. You have to work for it. If you know what to look for, the answers are there, but like the Jedi Master he is, you'll have to find them on your own. You're the only one who can take that journey; Rick just points you in the direction you should go.
Last night, The Master put on a tour de force of Rickspeak, worthy of some sort of major award. As I read it, I wept. Wept tears of joy, knowing Rick presented me with another challenge, my toughest yet. And in the words of Army Special Forces Capt Willard, when presented the challenge of Col Walter Kurtz...I took the mission, what the hell else was I gonna do?
I took the transcript from Mark Craig's recounting of the telephone press conference Spielman and Josh Freeman had with Minneapolis media last night. As always, I'll pose the question, what Rick said, and then most importantly, what Rick actually MEANT.
So please, enjoy this latest edition of Rickspeak, starring Rick Spielman-- Professional Gentleman of Leisure, Jedi Warrior, and BS Artist extraordinaire.
Spielman on what this means to Christian Ponder's future with the Vikings:
What Rick said: This has no determination on where Christian Ponder is. We think Christian Ponder has a bright future. Matt Cassel came in and did a great job for us when he filled in at London. So right now my main focus and part of my job is to make sure I'm trying to get the best 53 players on this roster. And then at the end of the season, we'll make an evaluation like we always do and determine that going forward. But by no means is this a reflection that we're disappointed with Christian Ponder or disappointed with Matt Cassel or disappointed with Bethel. This was an opportunity to go out and add another football player that we have high regard for.
What Rick meant: Christian Ponder's done here, and his future is about as bleak as an average Kardashian marriage. Matt Cassel came in and didn't suck, winning the job by default. But remember, he's still Matt Cassel, and I know this will end badly. Thank God Freeman and Greg Schiano couldn't get along, because I might still have a job come December now. We're terribly disappointed in Christian, as we put all our eggs in that basket, and now we're trying to make a decent omelette after we dropped the basket. And I don't view Freeman as a good football player as much as I view him as a savior who will deliver me and Leslie from the unemployment line.
Spielman on whether he intends to keep Ponder on the roster for the rest of the season:
What Rick said:
As of right now, yeah. We didn't make any other moves with our quarterbacks. ... I'm not going to announce any roster moves until tomorrow. We're going to discuss all our options tonight."
What Rick meant:
Remember this past summer when I gave you, essentially, the EXACT SAME QUOTE when you all asked me about whether or not I was trading Percy Harvin? Dude is gone like a fart in the wind.
Spielman on why the Vikings needed to add Freeman:
What Rick said:
We look at the waiver wire every night. It just happened to be Josh Freeman on the waiver wire Thursday night. And I've had a lot of respect for Josh all the way to when he was coming out in the pre-draft process [in 2009], and how much time we spent with him before the draft that year. The other opportunity was to get just another quality football player. It just happens to be Josh Freeman, who just happens to be at the quarterback position. But that's what we do. We monitor the waiver wire every night and if there is anyone at any position who we feel can help our 53 and potentially improve our ball club, we're always going to be aggressive and do that."
What Rick meant:
Dude, we were desperate. I was watching the Josh Freeman saga unfold in Tampa more closely than teenage boys watch Internet porn, and I was praying to the Ricky Bobby Baby Jesus that Greg Schiano was as stupid as we all hoped he would be, because I was still kicking myself in the ass for letting Brad Childress talk me into Tarvaris Jackson in 2008, so we couldn't draft Freeman in '09. Does he make the ball club better? No, but he does something even more important than improve our team: he gives our fan base false hope, and sweet Mother of Van Brocklin, do we need some false hope around these parts.
Spielman on looking into Freeman's character and the issues that led to his release in Tampa Bay:
What Rick said:
We pride ourselves on trying to do the best from a due diligence standpoint as possible. Like I said, we're very familiar with Josh from when he came out of Kansas State. Very familiar with him as a person and felt very comfortable and confident that we're bringing in not only a quality player but a quality person into our organization.
What Rick meant:
Let me be perfectly clear on this: I don't care if Josh Freeman clubbed baby seals, cooked meth and became an Albuquerque drug lord, used that money to put out a contract on Schiano, or killed five hookers while at SMU like Craig James might or might not have done, I need a guy that can fog a mirror at the quarterback position. And if, by some miracle, Freeman leads the Vikings to a Super Bowl title, I don't care if he has sex with my dog on the 50 yard line while holding the Lombardi trophy. Hell, I'll even hold the dog's collar.
More from Spielman on what went wrong in Tampa Bay:
What Rick said: I'm not worried. I'm not going to reveal everything that we know or we don't know. I just know how we felt about him coming out. I know from talking to the people we've talked to about Josh. I don't know what happened down in Tampa. It's none of my business at all. All I know is Josh Freeman is a Minnesota Viking now and we're looking forward to moving on.
What Rick meant: What the hell good does 'due diligence' do? We did 'due diligence' on Percy Harvin, and he's in Seattle. We did 'due diligence' on Christian Ponder, and he's going to be working in a car wash in two weeks. At this point, I'm just throwing shit up on to a wall and seeing what sticks. Seriously, I now have five current or former quarterbacks on this team. I don't know what I'm going to do next. Matt Flynn? Yeah, I just might.