Rick Spielman has long said that a team is best built through the draft.
The Vikings general manager has a pretty solid track record of late, as his ability to find talent and the right players throughout the draft has led to wins on the field for Minnesota.
Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press recently wrote that Spielman has had a major hand in the Vikings winning two NFC North titles in three seasons with his string of strong draft picks.
Walters noted that while the Vikings came up short of a Super Bowl berth, the team is on the right track thanks to Spielman's keen eye for defensive talent.
*Still, the Vikings came within one victory of playing at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday because of some astute picks by Spielman. *
*The Vikings' strength is defense. Spielman got cornerback Xavier Rhodes with the 25th overall pick in 2013, safety Harrison Smith by trading up in the first round in 2012, defensive end Everson Griffen in the fourth round in 2010, defensive end Danielle Hunter in the third round in 2015, linebacker Anthony Barr with the No. 9 overall pick in 2014 when many experts questioned the choice, and linebacker Eric Kendricks in the second round in 2015. *
Spielman has also found key offensive players over the past six seasons. The Vikings offense is filled with players that Spielman has helped bring to Minnesota.
*On offense, Spielman took tight end Kyle Rudolph in the second round in 2011 and receiver Stefon Diggs in the fifth round in 2015 — two of his best picks. *
*And he signed free agent Adam Thielen, now a Pro Bowl receiver, in 2013 out of Division II Minnesota State, Mankato. Spielman traded up to take running back Dalvin Cook, who although injured this season, appears to be an exceptional pick (No. 41 overall in 2017), as does starting center Pat Elflein, drafted in the third round in 2017. *
The 2018 NFL Draft will be held April 26-29 at AT&T Stadium in Texas, which is the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Thielen eager to get back to work for 2018 season
Adam Thielen had a career year in 2017 as he hauled in 91 receptions for 1,276 yards and four touchdowns.
But after being named a Second-Team All-Pro and to his first Pro Bowl, the Vikings wide receiver said he's already looking ahead to next season.
Thielen recently chatted with ESPN during the Super Bowl festivities and said that he has his eye on offseason workouts. ESPN's Courtney Cronin wrote:
Thielen expects to be back in the gym this week, but he said he won't be running routes or catching passes any time soon. Coming off a career season with 91 receptions for 1,276 yards and four touchdowns, Thielen is eager to begin offseason workouts and benefit from the type of training he wasn't able to do in the thick of the season.
"You go through a season and you really can't do the things you want to do to stay strong because, weekly, you're just trying to make it to the game and trying to feel as fresh as possible," Thielen said. "By the time the season's over, I'm ready to get back in the weight room and start training as far as getting stronger."
Thielen will have a new offensive coordinator in 2018 as Pat Shurmur was recently named the head coach of the Giants.
The Minnesota native said he'll be ready to roll when spring workouts come around no matter who is calling the offense.
As Thielen and his trainer begin to map out the receiver's offseason regimen, the Vikings are in the midst of trying to find Pat Shurmur's replacement at offensive coordinator. Not knowing who will be calling the plays — or which quarterback will be throwing the ball to him — is admittedly "a little nerve-wracking," but Thielen said he's eager to see who Minnesota hires so he can start scouting his new coordinator.
Vikings players won't get a chance to work with their coaches until organized team activities in April.
"There's not a whole lot you can do," Thielen said. "You figure out who it is and then you try to ask around the league — guys you know that maybe have played for him, maybe coaches that have coached with him, something like that. Try to figure out what they do, what they like to do ... just kind of have a little bit of a heads-up going into OTAs."