We have the transcript of Rick Spielman's press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine from a couple of days ago, and we're going to break the presser up into smaller chunks based on what the Minnesota Vikings' General Manager had to say about a couple of different topics.
One of the big ones, and one that some Vikings fans will probably be a bit disappointed by, is that Spielman said that the team is not going to be a big player on the free agent market this year. The team wasn't that big into the market last year, either, choosing to go "bargain shopping" later in the free agent period after a lot of the big names had come off of the market.
Here's what Spielman had to say on the subject. There might be some typos or grammatical errors. . .this comes straight off of the transcript.
"I'm not a real big believer in spending in free agency. We're always going to try to build through the draft and continue to do that. Because I think that way you maintain a roster that can be competitive year in and year out. Not only on the field but also from a financial standpoint of staying within the cap and looking at the overall cash. I think you have a lot more success when you sign your own players as unrestricted free agents. Because you know them the best. And if you screw up signing one of of your own guys and he doesn't pan out, then that's a fault on you. I think it's a little riskier when you go out and try to sign other team's UFAs. I don't know if you looked at the statistical analysis of how many of those guys have actually had success coming into new programs. And sometimes, even those guys when they come in, I don't want to call them rookies because they're veterans. But they take time to adjust to their new teammates, take time to adjust to their new surroundings, take time to adjust to the new offense that they're running.
So it's not always as smooth a transition as people would think it would be. But last year we took the position of not spending. We spent some money on John Carlson. But other than that we spent it on one-year guys that we gave really low contracts. I don't want to call them Rent-A-Players ... And then when you draft, my philosophy is always try to have nine or 10 draft picks come in. It's an open competition that way. So a veteran might be slightly ahead of [a draft pick] as you're going through training camp and as you're going through the preseason. But is that rookie going to pass him in Week 3, 4, or 5? Does he have the chance to be developed into a better player than where that current vet is? So it doesn't lock you into the situation where you're saying we have to keep this vet because we've paid him X amount. We can keep who we think is the best available player and the best player for us. And that's the kind of philosophy we had last year."
So, if folks are hoping for a Greg Jennings or a Mike Wallace or a Dwayne Bowe sort of signing at the wide receiver position, or a big-time signing at any other position, it appears that they're going to be disappointed. Instead, it appears that the Vikings will be focusing on keeping their own in-house free agents and attempting to build more through the NFL Draft rather than going for the quick fix. After seeing what the "quick fix" got this team in 2010 and 2011, it's hard to imagine a lot of people having an issue with that philosophy.