Vikings GM Rick Spielman discussed everything offseason with reporters recently. Minnesota has big decisions to make in 2021 free agency and the NFL draft coming up.
Choices of who to keep and who to let go will be difficult. The team already released tight end Kyle Rudolph, but with the way the salary cap is likely looking, it will probably have to make more cutbacks.
Sometimes it’s hard to gauge what is actually going to play out this offseason if you’re going off of what front office people around the league are saying in press conferences. That said, it can be interesting to parse through what general managers and others are willing to say publicly.
Here are some key points Spielman made to the media on Wednesday:
Spielman addressed the Danielle Hunter situation
Minnesota Vikings DE Danielle Hunter. Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports
During the 2020 season, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported that the Vikings have a decision to make this offseason: Make Hunter the highest-paid defender in football or trade him. The Vikings GM wouldn’t discuss specific details of the Hunter situation, but acknowledged that the Hunter ultimatum was not communicated to him, per Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune.
Spielman talks about the linebacker group
Minnesota Vikings LB Eric Wilson. Photo: Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings have a pretty big free agent in linebacker Eric Wilson, without a lot of cap space to keep him around for the future. Spielman said the team can’t afford three highly paid linebackers, per Krammer. With Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks already on big contracts, it seems like the team would have to part ways with one of those two to sign Wilson.
Spielman gives bode of confidence in Barr
Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr. Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports
Also a bad sign for Wilson coming back: Barr seems to be valued very highly in the Vikings organization.
“Anthony is a critical piece – I know coach Zim has spoken about it – of our defense,” Spielman said, per Krammer. “Just him on the field creates some offensive coaches, they have to scheme for him … But it’s all going to depend … how the pieces are going to fit in place.”
Spielman gives bode of confidence in Cousins
Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins. Photo: Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports
There is plenty of quarterback speculation around the league right now. Asked about whether Cousins was given a vote of confidence about being the Vikings quarterback this season, Spielman gave a definitive answer, per ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. “I think Coach Zim put that to bed when he spoke after the season. Kirk Cousins is our quarterback,” Spielman said. You can read more about that here.
The team has tough decisions ahead
Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman. Photo: AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn
Spielman said the Vikings are “going to have to make a lot of tough business decisions” this offseason when it comes to the roster, per Cronin. It will be interesting to see what Minnesota does to free up cap space as the offseason progresses. Expect more veterans to either restructure or move on from the team, especially if the base cap ends up being low.