Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is a man of many talents. Some of you think none of those talents are in the arena of professional football...and that would be a problem. Since, you know, he's the GM of a professional football team.
But I think he's done okay, for the most part, in his football decisions. And I think we can all agree, football acumen aside, Spielman is a master of saying much without really saying anything.
Rickspeak, as it were. What is Rickspeak? Rickspeak is something that can't really be explained, only experienced. At it's worst, it's simple deception, where words are formed into ideas, true or otherwise.
But Spielman is a master at Rickspeak, and when he performs Rickspeak, it's almost a religious experience, where your whole being and worldview is transformed. And when it's over, you're never the same. Like this:
Vikings beat writers at Rickspeak Resistance Training, or it's a Raptor Jesus GIF. Your call.
Well, you know it's not what he said...it's what he meant. And how do we know what he really meant?*
It's simple.** You just need to know how to read between the lines and interpret accordingly.***
*We have no idea what he really meant
**It's not simple, because I'm making everything up. And making this up is hard, man. So freaking hard.
***Again, there's no reading between the lines. If I could read minds, dude, I'd use that power for evil and rule the world. Let's all be thankful I'm just an idiot with a keyboard instead.
So, thanks to the local beat guys, we bring you Rickspeak, the post season edition. What Rick was actually quoted as saying will be first, and then our ridiculously satiric and completely made up interpretation* will follow.
*Or is it completely made up? (Yes. Yes it is.)
The first topic, at least as I saw reported/tweeted, was Adrian Peterson. The first part that Spielman discussed was his future and what or might not happen when Peterson is eventually reinstated.
What Rick Said: "I don't know if there's a team in the NFL that wouldn't want Adrian Peterson on the football team," Spielman told a small group of reporters at Winter Park this morning. "If you can name me one. And I don't want to speak for other teams. I'm being a little sarcastic with that. But I know he's a pretty good football player."
"I think people tend to forget that when Adrian did make a mistake, he admitted he made a mistake," Spielman said. "He went through the process in the court system. He's currently suspended by the NFL right now, but he's done a lot of positive things in this community as well. I've known Adrian his whole career and what type of person Adrian is. But I also know that we have to follow everything that's put in place for us. Is there a resolution? Not right now. All I know is where we stand today."
"Does that change? I'm sure it's going to change. Until those things change and get resolved, right now, we have Adrian Peterson, who is under contract for next year, who is currently suspended by the NFL. That's pretty much all I can go into right now."
What Rick Meant: I'm on the phone 14 hours a day hustling up a trade market for this guy. And do you have any idea how tough it is to whip up a frenzy for a 30 year old running back with that mark on his record? NO YOU DON'T IT'S LIKE TRYING TO TO RUN A GOLF CART AT THE INDY 500 MAN. IT'S SO HARD. But I'm trying, yo. If I can't, AP's going to be a Viking. I mean, technically he's one right now, only because I haven't whipped up the trade market enough. But don't worry, if it gets too bad, I can always call Celeveland. Like taking candy from a baby, but I'd like to change things up for once. Because at this point, Cleveland is like a trade booty call. I want some strange.
Next, still regarding AP, the questions moved on to his contract and if his $15 million dollar price tag for 2015 was problematic.
What Rick Said: "I'm not going to get into anything from a business-related standpoint with not only his, but any player's contract," Spielman said. "That's stuff that we've always handled internally. I will always keep the business side of players contract internal."
What Rick Meant: Here's the deal. The salary cap is so damn confusing that no one really understands it. It's like String Theory, and maybe seven people in the world really understand it. We have the Stephen Hawking of the cap in Rob Brzezinski. Only he's not in a wheelchair, and he can talk in a regular voice. Rob B. is a badass. He tells me we can afford it; we can afford it.
From there, it moved to Peterson the player.
What Rick Said: "Zim has expressed his opinion on Adrian," said Spielman, referring to Zimmer's earlier comments about wanting Peterson to return. "And there's no doubt or no question on what Adrian Peterson has done for this organization on the field and what he is as a football player."
"The only thing I would say about Adrian is Adrian is maybe one of the most unique players I've ever been around," Spielman said. "Everybody talked about how he's not going to be the same after his ACL. And that was his best year, coming back from that."
"Knowing Adrian, I know that he is going to want to come back and play. He's going to play at a very high level when he comes back. I'm anticipating that, just knowing what he's done in the past."
What Rick Meant: So this is a funny story, you guys will appreciate it. When I was going through the interview process with Mike Zimmer last year about this time, I told him--get this--he would have the best running back in football at his disposal if he became our coach. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ISN'T THAT FUNNY BECAUSE IT IS MAN WOOOOOOOOO.
And now, Mike thinks it's time for me to bring him back. In a normal environment, there would be no way. But Roger Goodell is such a ham fisted moron, he actually--and this is the REAL funny part right here--he actually turned Adrian Peterson into a sympathetic figure. And he's AP, guys. He's the best in the business, he's had a year off...amd he's gonna be PISSED OFF when he gets back on the field. Just sayin' it's not out of the question he's back in purple.
After that, the conversation moved to Teddy Bridgewater, and how he progressed through the year.
What Rick Said: "The way he developed and some of the adversities that we were facing as a football team as we went through this -- not only with the Adrian (Peterson) situation but losing predominantly three significant offensive linemen, and then with (Jerick) McKinnon playing very well and then losing him -- he struggled initially. But it really forced him into ... situations that he may not have been in if we were fully healthy."
What Rick Meant: Look at all the crap that was put on that kid's plate, and then remember he averaged over a 70% completion rate over the last month of the season, and turned into a legitimate NFL quarterback right before our very eyes. You Manziel fanboys still wish I drafted him? That was a rhetorical question, kids. See what I mean about Cleveland? Booty call.
After that, Spielman moved on to the play of the offensive line.
What Rick Said: "We felt that was going to be one of our strengths of our team. But every team has to deal with injuries; we just happened to get hit a lot up front there with that. The other thing, too, is as Teddy came in, our offense evolved a little bit. All of the sudden, we're making some adjustments because of the injuries up front and making some adjustments to the protection calls because Teddy is a different quarterback than Matt.
"I thought after that bye week that even with the guys that we were playing with, the Joe Bergers and Mike Harrises coming in, it really started clicking, and they played pretty good down the stretch in some of those games."
What Rick Meant: I don't know what to tell you. We thought they were going to be good, but they really sucked. After Teddy came in, there were a couple times I thought we were going to have to scrape his carcass off the turf and write a letter to his Mama. So we decided to change the protection, because apparently the offensive line took matador lessons during training camp, not 'how to block defensive players' lessons. At one point, I petitioned the league to allow us to use a 14 man tight end blocking protection scheme, but they said no. Roger Goodell is such a douche canoe.
He talked a couple other subjects, then he wrapped up with Mike Zimmer.
What Rick said: "I thought he did a great job. I think even he is going to grow next year because this was his first opportunity to be a head coach, and there's no question about his leadership and the respect he has from those guys in the locker room. He's as honest as it gets. He'll tell you if he screws up.
"He probably, out of any new coach, had to deal with more adversity than anyone. How he handled that adversity, to me, he should be highly recognized for it. Because it was never -- no matter what hit us, injuries or what else -- there was never an excuse. 'All right, it's our job as coaches to figure it out.' And we got positive results out of that."
What Rick Meant: I don't know who the idiots were that passed up on this guy as a head coach, but they were all idiots. I mean, they're so dumb they could probably run for office and become an elected official. And cuss? Ooooooooooooooh SONNNNNNN, can he light you up one side and down the other. Zim would make a drill instructor blush, but he never makes excuses. He just yells and swears. And he can coach and teach. Dude is cash money.
Hopefully, this is only the first of many Rickspeak's throughout the off-season. Or, maybe you're on your knees praying I'll never write another one. We'll see.