There are things some men were born to do, and their lives focus in on certain, key moments. If you're a fan of 'Deadliest Catch', for example, you know those men are born to be on the Bering Sea, fishing for crab and fortune, risking life and limb.
And some men, like me for example, were born to eat crab legs at an all you can eat Chinese food buffet, toiling for hours for every morsel of crab meat, no matter how minuscule, and no matter how much of that freakin' exoskeleton you need to destroy in the process. Most of us are in the latter category, yet there are a few who walk among us that are in the former, staring death in the eye, giving fate the middle finger.
Rick Spielman is one of those middle finger guys. And the NFL Draft is Rick Spielman's Bering Sea. He's either going to find fortune, or he's going to sink to the bottom. Either way, he's going to captain the SS
Love Boat Viking tomorrow night, and he gave us a behind the scenes look as to what the Vikings strategy will be come Thursday.
Or did he? Because Rick never really gave anything away...yet he gave it all up, if you know what you're looking for...if you know where to set your crab pots. And that's where Rickspeak comes in, the highly scientific*, critically acclaimed** series of Rick Spielman Interpretive Dance And Magical Fairy Dust Bullshit Deconstruction, done by me, an award winning journalist*** and all around good guy.****
*Not in the least bit scientific--all my answers are made up, so we're really in the 'junk science' realm here
**If by acclaimed, I mean I got yelled at by my wife for spending too much time doing this, then yeah, it's acclaimed
***I got a traffic traffic warning heading to Mankato to cover training camp in 2011. Closest thing to a written award I've received for my writing. Also, I'm a blogger, not a journalist.
****I am also a jackass. Ask anyone.
As always, what Spielman actually said will be in block quotations, and what he really meant**** will be interpreted by me immediately following the actual quote.
****I can't stress enough that I have really no clue about much of anything, especially the inner workings of the human mind. If you can't figure out this is all made up after about two sentences, you're at a point in life where therapy might not even help you now. I know it won't help me.
Spielman opened the presser by thanking everyone for everything and congratulating everyone else for everything else, much like a man who is accepting an academy award. And Rick Spielman deserves an Academy Award, damn it, in the category of 'GM Who Talks The Most And Says The Least'. Anyway, after he accepted his award, he was asked about the skill sets of players and how prepared they are to be able to move down in the draft because of it.
What Rick Said: I think we go through the scenarios. We just went through a four‑hour scenario today, not only in the first round, but if we trade down in the first round, these three players are there. What are you potentially going to do? How would you take them off the board if those three players were there? We do that when we're at our second‑round picks. We go through all different kinds of mocks. To me, people get tired of talking about everything.
But the more I hear things, the more we can put ourselves in scenarios, when it comes up on draft day, you've already kind of experienced the worst thing that can happen to you on draft day and how you would react. I think that's really helped especially over the last two years of knowing when to move down, when to trade back up, when to go get players that you covet. I think that's been beneficial. I love to be active on draft day.
What Rick Meant: With the extra two weeks, we've planned every scenario in every way imaginable. We even have a 'no pants in the draft room' scenario, which might become standard operating procedure, because that really helps you focus. This extra two weeks SUCKS MAN. THANKS ROGER FOR MAKING ME GO TO THE NO PANTS NUCLEAR OPTION IN THE DRAFT ROOM.
Q. How much do the relationships with your peers play into it?
What Rick Said: All the GMs that I speak with have respect for each other. It's not that you're not going to deal with one team because you don't like a person. I know there's been a lot of calls coming in just on feelers. I had three yesterday. I already had two texts today. Everybody is just kind of starting to line up their dance partners. Eventually it doesn't usually happen till it gets on the clock. At least you know on potential teams who may be interested in coming up into your spot. I had an offer from a team for our fourth‑round pick. I had an offer for our second‑round pick already. Always at the end of the text: If our guy is there. But those talks are starting right now. I think most GMs, like myself, are anxious. It's kind of earlier than it's ever been about the trade stuff. I think everybody is just anxious and ready to go.
What Rick Meant: When I say 'speak with', I mean guys I can fleece the hell out of, like Cleveland. Because I really respect a guy that can stand in front of his assembled media and get bitched at for another shitty trade. And I'm already getting more action on my picks than a Filipino hooker when a carrier group hits port, because once again, THANKS FOR DELAYING THIS TWO WEEKS ROGER SAID NO ONE EVER AND DON'T PULL THIS STUNT AGAIN.
Q. Do you gain anything in this extra time?
What Rick Said: I know all weekend I'm sitting in here shooting more holes in these players. How many more times and how much more film can you see, putting this together, that together. The one thing that was beneficial this year was when I was tied up with the head coaching search and the influx of juniors that came out this year. It gave me a lot of time to get caught up. It still seems like forever.
What Rick Meant: No. HAVE I MENTIONED THAT NOW I SEE TEDDY BRIDGEWATER'S SKINNY KNEES IN MY DAMN SLEEP? GOD DAMN IT, LET'S GET ON WITH IT ALREADY.
Q. What spots do you see as the deepest this year?
What Rick Said: Everybody is talking about the receiver. I know I'd be shocked if somebody doesn't ask me about a quarterback question here. I can get you started on it (smiling). I think there are quarterbacks at particular spots in this draft which makes it a pretty deep draft class. I think the offensive tackles. I think there's some very good offensive linemen in this draft. I think it's stronger maybe on the offensive side than the defensive side. But there are some very good players on the defensive side of the ball, as well.
What Rick Meant: There's only one or two QB's worth a mound of used chewing tobacco, so I'm talking up every other position in this draft, hoping someone, anyone, listens to me. Because we really, really need to get a good QB.
Q. What did you learn from that 2011 draft? How does it shape what you do going into this year?
What Rick Said: You know, I'm going to get criticized. I take full responsibility for Christian Ponder, is he a bust or not a bust? I know right now, traveling with Norv [Turner], I think we went to nine or ten different quarterback public workouts, plus we did them privately as well, had private meetings with them. As I said before, all the stars have to line up. I know how Norv feels about Matt Cassel. I know how Norv feels about Christian Ponder at this time, where we think we are with those two, where they potentially are going to be coming up next year as well. But Christian still is a very young quarterback. He showed flashes, but just hasn't been as consistent as you wanted yet.
What Rick Meant: When I was in college, me and a bunch of buddies went to Tijuana for Spring Break one year. One of my buddies...we'll hypothetically call him Kyle Segall...got pretty hammered one night, and hooked up with a Mexican mamacita. Turns out she gave him the clap, and when he woke up the next morning, it burned when he peed. Seriously, he screamed so loud we heard it all the way down the hall--funnier than Hell. Turns out he had a really drug resistant strain, and it infected his kidneys, liver, and family jewels. Almost had to amputate from the belly button down, and it still affects him to this day. So why do I share this story about Kyle? Because I learned Christian Ponder kinda sucks, much like that drug resistant strain of the clap, and we need a new QB. Since I'm the only one left standing from that draft, it's sorta my fault, and Ponder and AJ Feely are going to be attached to my liver and kidneys until the day I die, much like the clap is still affecting Kyle, so I have no choice but to take the heat on that. But I'm still going to talk him up, because if I can get a first round pick for Percy Harvin, I should be able to at least get a third or fourth for Ponder.
Q. How does that shake with knowing what you went through in 2011?
What Rick Said: You can't be afraid. Regardless of position, if there's a guy there that you have strong feelings for, whether it's at 8 or 40 or 16, then you take him. I mean, the one thing you cannot be afraid at this job is to take chances or take risks on guys that you feel strongly about. When you don't do that, you know, I don't know how you get better. So to me you always have to be aggressive. You have to do things that you think are going to help your football club and help you win ballgames on Sunday. You always have to have that mentality and approach.
What Rick Meant: Anyone got a QB condom, in case one of these guys has the QB clap? Anyone? Sid?
Q: Are quarterbacks a little bit more bunched up this year, when you talk about a number one rated guy versus a six or seven?
What Rick Said: I don't know how other teams feel. We have them in specific areas. I would say if we covet a quarterback at 8, and let's say the next quarterback we would not touch until the second round, we're going to sit there and be patient and wait. That's where we have him. If he comes to us, great. If not, we'll get another very good football player and move on. We have quarterbacks lined up, I would say, throughout the draft at different rounds where we feel comfortable taking them. We only have two, so I know we need to get a third, as well.
What Rick Meant: No, the talent gap is more wide open than the North Dakota plain. If you don't get one of the top couple of guys, you're stuck with booger eating potheads with bum knees.
Q. With the depth in this draft, is this a good draft to accumulate extra picks?
What Rick Said: I enjoy that part of the draft. It makes it fun. I could tell you at 8, if there's a player there, we've already had these discussions, we'll finalize that on Thursday, no one knows who we're going to take right now. I have a pretty good indication of the direction we need to go, but I'm going to keep that to myself till Thursday.
But if there's a guy there that we say we don't want to pass, he's too big an impact for us, we're going to take him. If I can see there's depth if we drop back X amount of spots, we're still going to get a good football player, I would love to do that and pick up extra picks, if I can.
What Rick Meant: If the guy we want is gone, I'm going to do more bartering and trading than you would find in an Arabian open air market. When it's all said and done, we'll have six first round picks, free beer in the new stadium, eleven RPG's, and six kilos of heroin I'll parlay into a nice little retirement 401k. AND I WILL INVOKE THE NO PANTS SCENARIO WHILE DOING SO.
Q. Do you feel like you have a good handle on what's going to happen in the seven picks ahead of you?
What Rick Said: Yes.
What Rick Meant: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, nope. Dude, Cleveland and Oakland are picking ahead of us. All bets are off.
Q. The mock draft changed daily around here. (That's actually a statement, not a question. I'm sure you knew that, though)
What Rick Said: I've read the mocks. Everybody reads the mocks because we're tired of yelling at each other. At night I read the mocks, kind of get caught up on things. You guys are missing some names on our spot at 8, I can tell you that.
What Rick Meant: You guys are all stupid. When we pick Derek Carr, it's gonna be a shitshow more epic than the Kevin Williams fiasco, the Love Boat, and Chilly releasing Moss all in one.
Q. When you say you have a pretty good indication who you would take at 8, how many people in the organization also know who that person is?
What Rick Said: Right now no one. We've had multiple discussions. No one.
What Rick Meant: Mua...MUA...MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Q: Would you trade (Christian Ponder) during the draft?
What Rick Said: No
What Rick Meant: During the draft? Nah, probably not. Before? Sure. After? You betcha. Sometime before the season? Oh hell yeah.
Q. Can a rookie linebacker step in and grasp what you have to grasp in the NFL to play?
What Rick Said: I think there's always a learning curve. There are some guys that won't have an issue. A lot of that is based off of not only what the coaches tell you, but from our two different psychological testing, intelligence testing, if they're going to be able to do that, then we follow up on that with personal interviews.
What Rick Meant: I wish to Jesus in a neck brace my brother Chris was available to draft. He was a BOSS.