According to Tom Pelissero, the Minnesota Vikings will extend Rick Spielman’s contract. The exact details aren’t known, but the expectation has always been that the Vikings will connect Spielman’s contract to Mike Zimmer’s and Kirk Cousins’s contracts.
Spielman has had some notable misses in his time with the Vikings. Christian Ponder was a disaster, and Matt Kalil didn’t do much better. Cordarrelle Patterson was mostly underwhelming, and it is an understatement to say that Laquon Treadwell didn’t live up to expectations. There are many other examples. When you try for a home run, you often strikeout.
Spielman is an aggressive GM who isn’t shy about making moves to improve the roster. Under his leadership, the Vikings have (for the most part) been aggressive without being foolish. There has been more success than failure.
His drafts have often been strong. Like a squirrel gathering nuts for winter, Spielman accumulates draft picks. Many of the later picks (Danielle Hunter, Stefon Diggs, and Ifeadi Odenigbo, among others) have significantly outperformed their draft position. Several of the higher-end picks – Brian O’Neill, Eric Kendricks, and Dalvin Cook – look like great value. Many of the late-round guys have developed into important contributors, such as Ben Gedeon, Jaleel Johnson, Shamar Stephen, Armon Watts, Bisi Johnson, and Kris Boyd.
His UDFAs have also done remarkably well (Eric Wilson, Anthony Harris, Mike Boone, C.J. Ham, Holton Hill, Adam Thielen, etc.). Spielman has thus been able to navigate the salary cap by ensuring that he has impactful, cheap players continually on the roster.
Spielman has provided strong leadership because he understands that he must work in unison with Zimmer. A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand; Spielman recognizes this reality. He understands what Zimmer wants to accomplish, so he adjusts his scouting, drafting, and signings to match his coach’s plan.
With the news of this extension, the organization’s plan has become clear. The Cousins-Zimmer-Spielman Leadership Trinity has three years to show the Wilfs (and fans) that they can get the Vikings to the Super Bowl.