Vikings’ GM, Rick Spielman Named 2017 Executive of the Year by PFW
Spelling Bee Judge: Spell “Renaissance man”.
- A noun, a Renaissance man is a present-day man who has acquired profound knowledge or proficiency in more than one field.
Contestant: You want me to spell a phrase?
Judge: Did I stutter?
Contestant: Can you use it in a sentence?
Judge: Vikings General Manager, Rick Spielman, is a Renaissance man.
Hey, no worries, my man. You shouldn’t waste too much of your elite brain space on word memorization. There is a reason life offers spell check and autocorrect.
Unlike that spelling specialist, Rick Spielman is a Renaissance man. With all due respect to the other areas of his life, he seems to demonstrate the most profound knowledge in the field of being the GM of a NFL franchise.
It appears that an 18 person panel from Pro Football Weekly (“PFW”) agrees with me. On Wednesday, the sports magazine and website announced that Spielman was their 2017 Executive of the Year.
— 1500 ESPN (@1500ESPN) January 10, 2018
That’s some high-level football brains working over there at PFW. Regardless of their pigskin IQs, in comparison with that of MN’s GM, the one and a half-dozen voters are high school-level competition. Some Friday Night Lights Shit. The 10th longest tenured GM in the NFL plays chess while his peers play checkers. Even Bill Belichick, who handles both the Mike Zimmer and Spielman roles for New England, is facing alleged turmoil.
My bias aside, the Bobby Fischer (R.I.P) inspired analogy isn’t a stretch. We’re all well aware as to what Minnesota is currently accomplishing. Entering the Divisional Round, outside of New England, the Vikings have the best odds to win the Super Bowl.
Below are what I consider the four biggest themes surroundings MN’s successful season. As you will see, the Vikings’ GM since 2012 has his fingerprints all over these moves:
- A Historic Defense: Besides Everson Griffen, the other two defensive Pro Bowlers, Xavier Rhodes and Anthony Barr, were both Spielman era draft picks. Linval Hungary, just like our other starting DT Tom Johnson, came over as a free agent. Harry the Hitman was part of his first draft class. Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks, and Trae Waynes also fall under our current GM’s draft umbrella.
“There’s no doubt about it, it’s probably the best defense that I’ve played on.” – @Brian_Robison
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 29, 2017
- Case Keenum Thrives: A $2 Million QB, signed this summer to be a backup, that is now seen as the team MVP. That one speaks for itself.
- A Revamped Offensive Line: The biggest reason last season’s 5-0 team crumbled was due to piss-poor offensive line play. By making the big uglies an offseason priority, our biggest concern coming into the season is gone. Besides acknowledging 2017’s Executive of the Year on this one, a quick shout-out to offensive line coach Tony Sparono, is deserved. We appreciate both of you.
- Playmaking WRs: Adam Thielen joined the Vikings in 2013 as an undrafted FA. Stefon Diggs was the 146th pick of the NFL draft. Overlooked flyers that end up producing like those two are a GM’s dream.
There’s no need to sugarcoat it, Skol Nation’s heart and soul lies in this postseason. Just knock on wood that things keep moving in the right direction. Regardless of how we finish the 2017-2018 season, the future is bright.
2018 NFL Salary Cap space:
1. Browns – $118 million
2. 49ers – $117 million
3. Colts – $89 million
4. Jets – $84 million
5. Buccaneers – $70 million
6. Vikings – $60 million
7. Texans – $59 million
8. Lions – $59 million
9. Redskins – $54 million
10. Titans – $53 million
— Allan Bell, Jr. (@AllanBell247) December 28, 2017
Outside of the Vikings, only two other teams on the list made the playoffs. Even though we fans are all in on this next month, this year shouldn’t be the last time we find ourselves in this situation.
In closing, if you were hoping to hear about Renaissance Rick’s talents outside of football, I’m sorry to disappoint. I’ll try to do a feature on either his D1 football playing son, adopted children, charitable work, net worth, collegiate pigskin days, hair, or something else…. in the near future.