So it was a quiet but fun night for us beat writers down in the belly of Twin Cities Orthopedic Performance Center. Us beat writers enjoyed the new digs while bemoaning the fact that none of the TV’s in our room had a working sound system (we had four on the draft, one on the Celtics/Bucs game and one on the hockey games).
Then, after hours of reading Twitter and spoiling picks for each other, the Vikings were finally on the clock and Commissioner Goodell read out Minnesota’s newest draft pick.
That sent us into a frenzy of typing that was only broken by someone with the Vikings letting us know Rick and Zim would be arriving soon. Now, as I am no Ted Glover, I will leave the full reactions to his more-than-capable hands, but I thought I’d provide some Twitter-boosted highlights from last night’s press conference with the two top guys on our favorite football team.
Here we go!
Spielman started off by talking a little bit about the team’s pick, Mike Hughes.
GM Rick Spielman said as the team followed the board, Mike Hughes was rated highly. "He was the highest rated player on our draft board at the time." #Vikings— Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL) April 27, 2018
Rick Spielman: Mike Hughes brought too much value for us to pass up a chance of drafting him. Can play inside, outside and be a returner.— Andrew Krammer (@Andrew_Krammer) April 27, 2018
Spielman mentioned Hughes' versatility as a major asset. He can play the boundary, nickel and serve as a return man. It was an emphasis the #Vikings placed on a DB.— Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL) April 27, 2018
So it’s pretty clear the Vikings love what Hughes brings to the table, versatility-wise. And the topic that was brought up next was one that many here on the Daily Norseman were talking about during the draft: trading down.
Spielman on the potential for a trade at 30 and choosing not to: "We got a lot of calls, maybe 5 or 6 picks before us. We didn't get any calls when we were on the clock but I don't know if we would have traded out" because a player like Hughes was available for the value.— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) April 27, 2018
So clearly, the Vikings valued Hughes highly, even with a number of offensive linemen still on the board. Then Spielman was asked about the elephant in the room with Hughes: his off-the-field issues.
Spielman asked to address Mike Hughes' sexual assault accusation at North Carolina, something the CB was up front with teams during the draft process. Spielman says team did their homework & "no question we felt very confident with him coming in and being a Minnesota Viking"— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) April 27, 2018
Much like with Dalvin Cook, it appears as though the Vikings did plenty of investigative and scouting work in looking into whether the sexual assault allegations were enough to eventually be founded. They clearly did not, and though I can’t find a tweet mentioning it, Spielman mentioned that they took the idea of picking Hughes all the way up to the Wilf’s to ensure they were also okay with taking certain players with character questions.
The talk then shifted to questions about what kinds of expectations the Vikings have for their new 21-year old cornerback.
Rick Spielman on Mike Hughes: "I think we're just excited to get him in rookie minicamp. Corner is a premium with Coach Zim.''— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) April 27, 2018
Spielman: We feel Hughes has tremendous upside from what we’ve seen. He won’t be forced to start right away. We feel good about our two starters and Mackensie is coming along— Andrew Krammer (@Andrew_Krammer) April 27, 2018
Spielman on Mike Hughes having a small sample size: "we think this kid has tremendous upside" #Vikings— Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL) April 27, 2018
So it’s pretty clear that they don’t expect Hughes to contribute a whole lot early on, but he’ll be good depth for them and is ready to get to work. And finally, before I move on to Mike Zimmer, and because I know people will be asking about this in the comments, yes, Spielman was asked and did answer a question about the offensive line prospects remaining in the draft.
Spielman: A lot of quality depth left on offensive line.— Andrew Krammer (@Andrew_Krammer) April 27, 2018
Vikings GM Rick Spielman on O-line depth: "I think there’s a lot of depth there. Last year we were able to get Pat (Elflein) in the third round. And looking at the board, there’s a lot of quality depth left."— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) April 27, 2018
On the O-Line Rick Spielman believes there's a lot of quality depth left for Day 2.He said Vikings tried to anticipate when the run on interior O-linemen would start, noted some disappointment when guys they were eyeing were taken but excitement abt players that were still around— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) April 27, 2018
Spielman on O-line continued: "Excited for tomorrow potentially moving up or potentially moving down. We'll see how the board starts to fall in the beginning, but I feel very strongly about the depth and some of the players that we like."— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) April 27, 2018
So that’s basically everything from Spielman’s press conference that was noteworthy. Now on to Zimmer’s.
Zimmer had some ideas on how he might utilize Hughes once he gets up to speed in his defense.
Zimmer indicated drafting Mike Hughes gives the #Vikings some flexibility with sub-packages. "I always tinkered around with having one safety and four corners."— Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL) April 27, 2018
Mike Zimmer said drafting Mike Hughes was not done with the objective of pushing Mackensie Alexander in the competition at nickel corner. Zimmer likes the flexibility Hughes may bring to their sub packages where he could plug in four corners and one safety into their nickel looks— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) April 27, 2018
Mike Zimmer on Mike Hughes: "He's got the traits that we're looking for. We feel he can play inside or outside.''— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) April 27, 2018
I’m sure a question on some of your minds is what does the pick of Mike Hughes mean for the future of Terence Newman with the Vikings. Well, Zimmer had an answer for that. Well, he did, but I’m not sure you’re going to get much more out of it than we did.
Mike Zimmer says chance Terence Newman still could return. "Yeah, I think there still is.''— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) April 27, 2018
Zimmer’s press conference was pretty brief so there wasn’t a whole lot in it, and it seemed like most of the guys in the PC had already asked the questions they wanted answered of Rick Spielman.
I’m sure Ted will have more on these press conferences sometime soon. Until then, enjoy the remainder of the draft, ladies and gents. I may or may not be popping back in along the way with more articles/insights on the draft, so keep an eye out!