Vikings GM Rick Spielman gave a short press conference Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where he discussed offseason goals for the team, hinted about whether the team would make draft-day moves, and the unknown of what life after Adrian Peterson could be like.
"Trader Rick" no more?
While Spielman played things close to the vest as usual, the GM made a few statements that might indicate that he won't be making any draft-day trades back into the first round this year, in contrast to recent drafts under his guidance.
When asked about the trades he made during the 2012, 2013 and 2014 drafts, and whether he would try and be aggressive again, Spielman said:
"When I took over as the general manager, I wanted to build this roster through the draft. Those first three years, I think we were able to get seven draft picks, and if we’re doing our job correctly, hopefully those are going to be your building blocks of the future. Now we can just continue to layer on what we’ve been able to build."
In an answer to a follow-up question from another reporter, Spielman said.
"Every year it was a little different. Some years, opportunities presented themselves where we were able to move back. I think we were pretty aggressive in moving up for a couple of years. When there are players we feel strongly about, that we think can be potential unique players for us and building blocks for our future, and then and having a sense that maybe, we were higher in the second, but they’re potentially not going to get to you there, to be aggressive and go get the player you covet.”
Two examples of players he traded up to get are Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith and starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
On life after Adrian Peterson
Later in the press conference, a reporter asked the Vikings GM if he and the team had put any consideration into the eventual retirement of Adrian Peterson, who turns 31 this year.
"You’re always thinking about it. At running back, you’re one injury away," Spielman said. "We’ll eventually get down there. I think Adrian is still a very productive running back in this league. He won the rushing title again this year. It’s amazing, the stamina and the physical specimen that he still is, but at some point, everybody has to retire."
Spielman was complimentary of backup Matt Asiata, and called 2014 draft pick Jerick McKinnon "an explosive playmaker" in the right situations. When asked if the team would start to reduce Peterson's touches to accommodate for the player's age, however, Spielman quickly pointed out that he would leave that decision to head coach Mike Zimmer.