As the football-following world continues to digest the aftermath of the stunning Sam Bradford trade, Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman is applying a high degree of transparency to the process of explaining why the team did what it did.
One major criticism has come from the perception that the Vikings have fallen victim to a modern-day Herschel Walker fleecing, mortgaging their future by reaching to fill a need on the fly. Spielman believes, however, that the team still owns its own future, even after giving up a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick to add a starting-caliber quarterback at a time a starting-caliber quarterback is clearly needed.
“We do have a two, two three’s, two fours and a lot of draft picks,” Spielman said on Wednesday’s PFT Live, regarding the team’s other assets in the next draft. “We have eight draft picks coming up in the 2017 draft, and we have a history of moving up both into the first round and moving back and accumulating picks. You know, the scouting staff has done a great job finding Stefon Diggs and the Danielle Hunter and some of these young guys. Even in the sixth and seventh rounders we’ve found this year, they’re going to be contributors to our football team, so we’ve done pretty good in the second and third days. Where I thought it was going to jeopardize our future is our coaches do a great job developing a lot of the young guys that we bring in here and for us to put the time and energy to draft these guys to develop these guys and then give them away when they’re starting to just hit the prime of their career. To me that’s throwing away the future.”
And that’s apparently what other teams wanted for quarterback not as accomplished or talented as Bradford. Then again, some have a dim view of Bradford’s accomplishments and talents. What does Spielman have to say to that?
“We’ve studied all of his games last year and even what he looked like in the preseason and we thought he played extremely well, especially in the last three or four ball games last year,” Spielman said. “He lit it up in the preseason this year. I think having Pat Shurmur on the staff gave us great insight on his opinion on Sam Bradford, because he had him not only in St. Louis but in Philly as well. I think we have a football team right now that has a good supporting cast around him. I don’t think Sam has ever been on a team that’s been a top ten rushing offense in his career so he’s not going to have to come in here and throw the ball forty or fifty times a game. Our coaches do a great job with their game planning. Whether we’re going to run it fifty times or throw it fifty times, whatever we have to do, this coaching staff does a great job giving our players a chance to have a chance on Sundays.”
It’s still unknown whether Bradford will be the one giving the Vikings a chance on the first Sunday of the season. Some think the safe play is to go with Shaun Hill while Bradford learns the offense; others (like Titans coach Mike Mularkey) think that the Vikings are simply trying to conceal their plan to get an immediate return on the guy they gave up so much to get.