EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —The Vikings are going through their offseason checklist, with one important decision already made and another on the horizon.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman spoke with Vikings.com in advance of the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, which kicks off this week in Indianapolis, and gave an update of where Minnesota is in its process of figuring out its quarterback situation.
Spielman said the first order of business was hiring John DeFlippo, who is the new Vikings offensive coordinator.
Now as the Vikings turn their attention to a week of on-field workouts, tests and interviews at the combine, more focus will be placed on the quarterback position.
"The number one priority was finding the offensive coordinator first. And you have to go kind of in order. You can't just sometimes jump to this part," Spielman said. "There's a process in place. I really believe in the system that we have and the processes that we go through, and it's not a quick overnight deal. I mean, we spend hours and hours and weeks and weeks trying to put the best plan together.
"So the first box was to get the offensive coordinator in place; now, let him get to know our roster. Let us hear what he thinks, what his traits are at the quarterback position," Spielman added. "We've had – fortunately and unfortunately – we have three very good quarterbacks, but all of them are out of contract, so we're going to have to make a decision. And that time is going to come relatively shortly, and we're working through that process right now."
Each of the three quarterbacks who saw the field for the Vikings in 2017 — Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater — are slated to have their contracts expire at the start of the new league year on March 14.
Spielman said the Vikings will send a strong contingent of coaches, scouts and front office personnel to Indianapolis to evaluate more than 300 college prospects.
But at the same time, Minnesota will also have its eye on the free agency period, which begins in mid-March.
Spielman said the Vikings, as they do every year, are focusing on both the combine and free agency with two of the main offseason events happening within two weeks.
But it's a process Spielman revels in as he tries to find every which way to improve a Vikings roster from last season.
"Working with the coaching staff and putting all of those pieces together into one plan and trying to execute that plan," Spielman said. "Just like on a game day, a lot of times your initial plan doesn't work out, so you have to be able to adjust with your plan B, your plan C, so we go through a lot of those scenarios, and it's like on draft day.
"If plan A doesn't work out, then where do you go? We're always going to be as aggressive as we can be, putting the best team out there to give us the best chance to win, but you also have to do the due diligence part to be very strategic on how you approach everything," Spielman added.
Minnesota went 13-3 and won the NFC North in 2017 before earning a first-round bye and reaching the NFC title game. The Vikings currently hold the 30th pick in April's draft.
Spielman said there are plenty of reasons for optimism around the organization as the Vikings try to take another step forward while also moving into a brand-new practice facility in Eagan.
"Oh yeah, why wouldn't you be? You can't control injuries, you can't control a lot of things that happen, but I know everybody is very energized, even though it's a long season when you go that far, but I wouldn't trade down for any day of the week," Spielman said of the excitement level around the franchise.
"I know we're going to have to be very strategic of when we're picking in the draft and really hone-in on who may potentially be there at 30, and you're going to be picking in the lower rounds throughout," Spielman added, "but we have a pretty good history of manipulating that draft board, moving up and down to really hone-in and get the players we want."