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Lunchbreak: Miller Rates Spielman Among NFL's Top General Managers


Rick Spielman recently celebrated a big milestone, as May 30 marked the 15th anniversary of his hire by the Vikings.

Initially, he was the vice president of player personnel, before being promoted to general manager in 2012.

Spielman's longevity and decision-making earned him some praise from Matt Miller at The Draft Scout.

Miller recently ranked his top general managers across the league, but he did not include those with less than two seasons of experience in their roles.

Miller slotted Spielman in the No. 7 spot, noting that he constantly constructs some of the strongest rosters around the league.

Miller wrote:

Rick Spielman doesn't get enough credit for the team he's built. Sure, you can say they've overpaid for Kirk Cousins, but that move instantly made the team capable of contending in an NFC North that has been home to one of the NFL's best quarterbacks (Aaron Rodgers).

Spielman also built a dangerous wide receiver corps (twice), rolled the dice and landed one of the NFL's best running backs (Dalvin Cook) in Round 2, and has otherwise paired well with Head Coach Mike Zimmer to keep the defense competitive outside of last season.

Spielman may not have a signature move that elevates his status in the eyes of fans, but selecting Justin Jefferson in 2020 could ultimately be that transaction Spielman becomes known for.

Minnesota is 79-63-2 in the nine seasons that Spielman has been the GM. That run includes four playoff appearances and a pair of NFC North titles.

Spielman leads a Vikings front office that recently saw a handful of key figures get promotions for their strong work throughout the organization.

View photos of the Vikings 2021 schedule at U.S. Bank Stadium and on the road.

Frelund projects Vikings toughest 4-game stretch in 2021

The Vikings 2021 season will be filled will challenges throughout the course of 17 games, but some stretches appear more daunting than others.

Cynthia Frelund, an analytics expert with NFL Network, recently combed through Minnesota's slate to find the toughest four-game stretch for the upcoming season.

She went with Weeks 8 through 11, a four-game section that is bookended by home games and features a pair of rough road games in the middle.

"These are matchups against four marquee starting quarterbacks," Frelund said.

The Vikings host the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football in Week 8 on Halloween night. Frelund's projection gives the Vikings a 48.9-percent chance to win that matchup against Dak Prescott, who is expected to be back from injury after missing most of 2020.

Minnesota then goes on the road to Baltimore in Week 9, and Frelund has the Vikings with a 46.7-percent chance to win. A trip to the West Coast follows, with Frelund noting the Vikings have a 49.2-percent chance to beat the Chargers.

"[The Vikings then] face off against former MVP Lamar Jackson … and then travel all the way across the country to face Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert and the Chargers in Los Angeles," Frelund said.

The Vikings cap the tough four-game stretch by hosting the Packers in a Border Battle game. Frelund has Minnesota with just a 45.8-percent chance to beat its biggest rival.

The Vikings full 17-game schedule can be found here.

Fans will have their first chance to see the 2021 squad at U.S. Bank Stadium on Aug. 7 when the team hosts its first-ever team scrimmage at the venue. Fans are encouraged to come early and visit the plaza to enjoy all the activities and excitement of a typical Vikings game day.

Tickets for the special event can be found here.