Rick Spielman Admits to His ‘Failures’ With Vikings Quarterbacks

Rick Spielman

Getty Rick Spielman during a 2014 Vikings press conference.

Former Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman came clean on his track record in Minnesota.

Spielman, who was an executive for six years before becoming general manager for nearly a decade, admitted he made mistakes addressing the quarterback position in his tenure.

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‘I’ve Made Some Mistakes Through my Career’

Appearing on the Move the Sticks podcast, Spielman detailed “mistakes” he’s made when assessing quarterbacks during his time as Vikings general manager, calling them “failures” on his part.

Here’s a segment of what Spielman said, per Inside the Vikings’ Will Ragatz:

When you talk about the quarterbacks, and I’ve made some mistakes through my career on quarterbacks, I always thought the No. 1 thing to look for was the intelligence part of the game.

How smart are these guys? And we do a lot of different types of psychological testing, a lot of different types of intelligence testing, but what I learned is not only do you have to be smart, but you have to have mental quickness and how quickly can you process things.

I can go and interview a quarterback, and I interviewed many down at the combine, and we had a whole program set in place. Let’s go out, let’s visit this quarterback, the offensive coordinator’s gonna have a plan, he’s gonna install a scheme, he’s gonna install concepts of a passing game and pass protections. And the quarterback can sit there — we kind of watch and see if they took copious notes — and a lot of these guys went up there and talked verbatim what the coordinator said and even sometimes sounded better than the coordinator that’s explaining it. I was like ‘this guy’s going to be a hell of a coach someday.’

The point that I missed was that, that’s great, you can go up and draw that, and this safety’s rolling down, and this linebacker’s coming off the edge, where’s your hot reads and stuff. They can talk about it, but that’s a ten-minute process. Can they do that in 2.5 seconds? So we really tried to hone in and focus on, not only the intelligence, but also the mental quickness and how quickly they can read and respond. Because there’s a lot of smart people out there, but if you can’t process that in the 2.5 seconds that you have, that’s where I saw it and myself personally, had some failures.

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Vikings QB Woes Goes Further Back Than Spielman

Daunte Culpepper

GettyDrafted in 1999, Daunte Culpepper is the last quarterback drafted by the Vikings to make multiple Pro Bowls in their time in Minnesota.

Spielman, who was vice president of player personnel in 2011, was among the Vikings brass that drafted Christian Ponder, who lasted just three seasons as a starter before Spielman, as general manager in 2014, drafted Teddy Bridgewater in the first round.

Bridgewater was a reliable starter before a freak hamstring injury cost him his position in Minnesota in 2016. Since then, Spielman has addressed the quarterback position through free agency, signing Sam Bradford, who also dealt with injury, before making Kirk Cousins the team’s franchise quarterback in 2018.

Spielman only put his quarterback assessment as general manager to the plate once with his first-round pick in Bridgewater. His only other two draft picks were 2020 seventh-rounder Nate Stanley and third-round rookie Kellen Mond, a selection that was more of an order from the Wilfs during last year’s draft.

Daunte Culpepper, selected No. 11 overall in 1999, is the last quarterback the Vikings drafted that saw relative success with the team, making three Pro Bowls in his six seasons in Minnesota.

Frank Tarkenton is the only other quarterback drafted by the Vikings that made multiple Pro Bowl appearances with the Vikings.

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