EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — As the 2014 calendar comes to a close, the information gained in the first year of partnership between Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, Head Coach Mike Zimmer and their staffs should be helpful in guiding Minnesota in 2015.
"It's huge to go around a full calendar year with this coaching staff," Spielman said during a recent interview for Beyond the Gridiron. "When a coaching staff first comes in, you can sit there and explain what you're looking for, and we watch tape together to try to identify the critical factors at each position and what's going to be required of the players, but (it's not complete) until you actually see the players getting corrected in OTAs and minicamps, and then you see training camp and how these guys develop guys through the season."
The personnel and coaching departments began meeting at Winter Park this week, the day after the season ended, for the buildup to the 2015 NFL Draft, which is scheduled for April 30-May 2. The Vikings are scheduled to pick 11th overall.
Spielman said the scouting department used information it drew from working with Zimmer's staff when they hit the trail to evaluate prospects at college games and as the Vikings consider options during free agency, which is scheduled to begin in March.
"We have to also understand what the coaches are trying to get accomplished from a schematic standpoint, so when we're out there college scouting or looking at (unrestricted free agents) we can say, 'This is a good football player, but he's probably not going to fit what's required in this scheme,' or 'This guy is going to be a great fit.' But we have a much better understanding after being around the coaches and going through the process last year and seeing it come to fruition during the season of what is and isn't required of the players."