Earlier in the week, we mentioned that the annual Vikings Arctic Blast would be taking place, and it's going on as you read this. This year, both new coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman attended. I don't want to say it was on a lark, but they did make it seem like it was something they decided to attend with a relatively short conversation:
Talk to a few people who said they can't remember a #Vikings coach ever coming up to the Arctic blast. Spielman said it was Zimmer's idea— Brian Hall (@MNBrianHall) February 8, 2014
Spielman and Zimmer were in meetings the other day when Zimmer told Spielman "We should go."— Brian Hall (@MNBrianHall) February 8, 2014
Good on them for attending. It's for a great cause, and it's good for the new coach to get out and meet the fans at every opportunity. So far, I think Mike Zimmer is saying and doing all the right things, and I couldn't be happier with Zimmer or the staff he's selected. But that's not why I'm writing this story. I'm writing this because Rick Spielman spoke to the press up at Arctic Blast, and, as is my civic duty, I must break down Rickspeak and translate. Thanks to Master Tesfatsion of the Strib on getting some good notes.
And yes, I just wanted to write 'Master Tesfatsion', because I still maintain that's the coolest beat writer name in Vikings history. Anyway, on to Rickspeak.
In short Rickspeak is GM Rick Spielman showing us his black belt in verbal judo, and it's a nuanced way of speaking. You have to read between the lines to really get at what Spielman means, and that's where I come in--I do the between the lines reading** to let you know what Spielman actually meant.***
**Obviously, that's impossible. I don't know how to read.
***Again, impossible. If I could read minds I would use it to take over the world, much like an evil James Bond villain. And no one wants that.
As always, what the GM actually said will be first, and what I think he meant will follow.
Rick first talked about the upcoming draft. As you're probably aware, the Vikings currently sit with eight picks (one original pick in every round, plus Seattle's third round pick from the Harvin trade) and...
Rick Said: ...the team's annual goal is to compile at least 10 draft selections. "We have eight right now and a lot of that [movement] doesn't happen until you're on the clock," Spielman said on Saturday during the 19th annual Arctic Blast snowmobile rally to benefit the Vikings Children's Fund. "Heck, last year they pulled me out of a press conference to go get [Cordarrelle] Patterson because you never know. But I really, really think we're going to do a lot of movement in the draft."
Rick Meant: 10 picks is cool, and nothing really starts moving until draft day, but I'm stirring the pot just by opening my grocery hole to the press. When I have dopes like Dan Snyder and whoever is running that sitcom we call the Cleveland Browns, I'm pretty sure I can talk them into anything. Remember trading back one spot the year everyone knew we were going to draft Matt Kalil...and still drafting Matt Kalil? Cleveland...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
Rick Said: Spielman thinks the Vikings have a lot of flexibility with the eighth overall pick and plans to be aggressive in the draft with the idea of trading down for more picks, or up for a certain player.
"Everything is a possibility; we're in February," Spielman said.
Rick Meant: I might move up. I might move down. I might move laterally. You say to yourself that's impossible because you can't move laterally, but when we're sitting with three number 8 picks in the first round, your mind is going to be blown. AND YOU WILL WORSHIP THE GROUND THAT I WALK ON!
Rick Said: he's seen about 10 quarterbacks so far in this draft class, both in person and on film.
"There's all shapes, sizes and flavors. There's some guys coming off ACL [injuries] and you want to see where they're at, but I think there's going to be depth in this quarterback draft class that you're not going to be forced to take one in the first; maybe a guy that we're picking in the second, or maybe a guy we're picking in the third. That's where if you're not sold on a guy at the number eight overall pick, lets say hypothetically you trade back and accumulate two, three more picks in that first three rounds, then that gives you the flexibility to move back up in the second, or the bottom of the first.
Rick Meant: BUCKLE YOUR SEAT BELTS BECAUSE I'M TRADIN' UP FOR JOHNNY FOOTBALL AND WE WILL RIDE HIS WAKE INTO THE SUPER BOWL SHORE OR ONTO THE ROCKS OF THE UNEMPLOYMENT LINE BABY WOOOOOOO!
Rick Said: about...if quarterback Matt Cassel could return, Spielman once again said everything is a possibility this offseason.
"From a business standpoint, you knew that was going to come. Basically, Matt's done a great job for us. We've already been in contact with his agent. I talked to Matt two nights ago on the phone. Technically, he's a UFA now, and I'm sure we'll be visiting with his agent down the road as we go."
Rick Meant: Did you ever break up with someone, go out and get just shitface hammered, and then call them up at 2 o'clock in the morning? It's like your true emotions come out, and you practically beg PLEASE COME BACK I'M SORRY OH GOD PLEASE I MISS YOU SO MUCH WHY DID YOU DUMP ME WAS IT ME BECAUSE I CAN CHANGE AND WE WERE SO GOOD TOGETHER PLEASE COME BACK PLEASE.
Rick Said: *On releasing linebacker Erin Henderson:
"Erin was a good player for us but those are some of the difficult decisions you have to make. We're always going to be there for Erin in any type of capacity if he needs support in any way, shape or form. He's done a lot of great things for our organization. I know he's had a rough stretch down here, and those are tough decisions to make, but that doesn't mean we don't care about Erin Henderson the person."
Rick Meant: Mike Zimmer saw about five minutes of tape, looked over at me and said, 'F%$# Rick, that's five fu--in'' minutes of my fu---n' life I'm never f---in' getting back. Call him a fu---in'cab and get him the f%$& out of here. Maybe we should get him a good f---in' bottle of scotch as a going away gi--never mind, bad idea. He gone.'
Rick Said: *On keeping special teams coordinator Mike Priefer on staff:
"Mike's a very good football coach. I know he's well respected for what he does on the field. He's a great family man and individual off the field, and I have the upmost respect for Mike Priefer. I'm not going to talk about anything on the investigation until it's complete."
Rick Meant: He was one of three guys on staff last season that could, in fact, find his ass with both hands. And Chris Kluwe can suck on a big bag of peppermint flavored Sparkleponies.
So there you go. Winter. Snowmobiles. Rickspeak. Does it get any better than this?