Vikings GM Rick Spielman Quotes 4/23/20
COURTESY OF MINNESOTA VIKINGS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
Very excited about what we were able to accomplish tonight. I think we got a receiver that’s going to come in an be an immediate impact player for us. As we got to 25 we had enough names on the board for us to move down to 31 and then still get our player at 31. That also gives us enough ammunition so tomorrow there’s a lot of depth through the 2nd and 3rd round and hopefully look forward to manipulating tomorrow up the board to try to go get some more significant players. I think after tonight, Friday’s 2nd and 3rd round there’s going to be a lot of very good players in there and we can potentially end up hopefully with some multiple picks in that area that can continue to help our club.
Q. What did you like about Justin Jefferson?
A: We were sitting there and I knew Philadelphia was a threat. There was one other player we were looking at too. We had two good players so we decided to stay where we were at. When you watch Jefferson on tape, not only is he a great route runner, very precise which is critical in (Gary) Kubiak’s offense, he a big target, can play slot. We went back and looked at his 2018 tape where he also played outside. He does have play-making skills with the ball in his hand, after the catch I think the biggest thing -- that lifted them up through this process -- when you see good speed on tape and good speed after the catch and when he went and ran the 4.4s at the Combine, it elevated his status more and the other thing, just a great kid, great talent that's also a great person. We feel very fortunate that he was there at 22.
Q. You mentioned Jefferson playing in the slot last year, is he a guy who can play predominately on the outside?
A: I think all we are trying to do is get the best guys we can get right now, the coaches will figure out with these guys, but I think with the addition of (Tajae) Sharp and Adam (Thielen) and now Jefferson, I think we are going to have a pretty good crew, and you know, who knows what's going to happen on Saturday because I still think there's a lot of depth left in this draft at the receiver position.
Q. After losing what you did in free agency at cornerback, how important was it for you to address that need tonight with a pretty good cornerback class available?
A: The corners started to come off. As you've seen, there was a pretty good start -- pretty good run on them. Again I know when we talk about corners and we're talking through with Coach Zim and the defensive staff, Dom Capers was a huge asset to us this year, Daronte Jones, Roy Anderson, all those guys, we spent hours and hours, I can't tell you, on just watching tape on these corners. And I know there are specific traits that you have to have to play corner in this defense. (Jeff) Gladney fit every single trait we were looking for from a physical standpoint. I know Coach Zimmer, as we're sitting there talking, they can't wait to get these kids in. Who knows when we are able to get them in, but I know how they develop the talent here and we think this kid has a tremendous upside in our defense.
Q. Does he project as more of a slot or outside guy?
A: I think he's versatile enough to play both inside and out. When you add him with some of the other young corners that we have, I think the coaches will kind of figure that out as we go along. But I know we broke down four or five corners we looked at from an analytic standpoint and Jeff (Gladney) was one of the guys, especially in the red zone, he had the lowest quarterback rating on balls thrown his way and one of the lower just overall incompletion percentages as we look at not only what he did on the field -- so we do the tape first but then we added in the analytics on top of that and felt he was one of the better corners that could make plays on the ball. The thing that makes him unique, not only was he a quick-twitch athlete and he can run, but even though he's 5-10, he has a 33-inch arm length and almost an 80-inch wing span, which makes him a lot taller than the 5-10, when you break it down that way, as well.
Q. Did anything surprise you with the first round, the Green Bay Packers taking a quarterback?
A: I’m never going to comment on the other team. All I'm worried about is Minnesota Vikings and trying to get the best players that we can in here.
Q. When you were on the clock at 22, were you anticipating that Philadelphia was going to take Justin Jefferson, just realizing he was the best slot receiver available? Was there a moment you wanted to trade up?
A: He was one of the guys we were definitely hoping that would fall to us -- we had two other names, as well, but we were very excited to get Jefferson, because I know he's going to have -- he has a chance to be a pretty impactful rookie when we get him in here.
Q. Overall, getting the extra draft capital, now you're up to 14 draft choices which ties Miami now for most in the draft. How do you feel about that?
A: Yeah, I know we've got a lot of draft capital, that also gives us a lot of draft capital to move up, especially tomorrow. What I had said earlier was there was a lot of talent through the second and third round and with that much draft capital, there are some guys; we will have another meeting tomorrow to reassess guys that we may want to go up and get. So it gives us the flexibility to definitely do that.