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Transcript: Spielman Addresses the Media after 2nd Round Draft Pick Friday

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman

Had a pretty busy night tonight. We'll start with our 2nd round pick, Mackensie Alexander. Very competitive corner, another guy that has a lot of passion for the game. Spent time with him at the combine, I know Jerry Gray, our defensive back coach, went down to Clemson to work him out. We see him as a potential Nickel, and also with ability to flex and play outside as well. Love the way he played the game, he plays with smarts and savvy that we're looking for and is a highly competitive kid. As Zimmer always says, you can never have enough corners. We are trying to create, even at that position, as much competition as we can.

Regarding the 3rd round, we ended up making a trade with Miami. It was our 3rd round pick for their 3rd round next year. One of their 4th rounds next year, they will potentially get a compensatory pick next year, but that's yet to be determined, and a 6th round pick this year. What that leaves tomorrow with is six picks, a 4th, a 5th, two 6ths and two 7ths. Going into next years draft we have a 1st, a 2nd, two 3rds, a two 4ths, a 5th, a 6th, and a 7th. Going through the logic on why that made sense to us or why that made sense to me to pull the trigger on that is a couple of things; looking at the depth and the players and what our current roster looks like this year; the 2nd point I always said I always try to look at what our roster and what are potential guys that are going to be coming out of contracts next year. 3rd, I would say the depth on the boards still left tomorrow. We feel very strongly that there are still a lot of very talented football players that we will be able to pick up and add to our roster. So those three things were kind of the thought process for doing the trade with Miami. In essence I get three players for the price of one, although I did bank two of those players for next year. In next year's draft, having an extra three and and extra four gives you a lot of flexibility to move around in those early rounds, either potentially going back into the 1st or moving around in the 2nd. We have a lot more flexibility next year than where I am anticipating we're going to be picking lower in the rounds, where you don't have as much flexibility.

Q: To be clear, the 4th rounder next year, it will be their compensatory if they get one?

A: It would be their lowest 4th. Whatever that is. If they don't get one then it's their 4th.

Q: What about Alexander was it that intrigued you? He claimed he was the best corner in the draft.

A: That's intriguing. Just loved the kid's confidence and loved his savvy for the game. I know Coach Zimmer said he does meet the minimum criteria height wise, and he says he's right at it. He says we're good with it. But no, just love the kid, not only as a high character kid but for the way the kid competes. He competed at a very high level. The skill set that he has to play man coverage especially, and his feet and his quickness and the way he can mirror routes fits what we try to do from a scheme point.

Q: It seems that the consensus was he is one of the top corners ranked nationally. At a certain point did you guys start to think there was a realistic possibility he was going to fall to you?

A: Yeah, as it came down, we actually had three guys there. He was our top guy at our pick. If all three of those guys were not there, then more than likely we would have traded down in that pick. We also had some opportunities to get out of that pick. We felt a little bit like last night that he was too good of a player to pass up and that we were going to take him if he landed at our spot.

Q: He didn't have many interceptions. Was that more because they were avoiding him?

A: I would say he didn't have a lot of balls completed on him also, and that's the most important thing. I know Coach Zimmer preaches interceptions and turnovers are key, but also the one thing that I here Zimmer preach to our players out at practice is don't let your man catch the ball. He that criteria he checks the box in.

Q:  Would you guys drafting Trae last year, Mike Zimmer stood up there and said you guys wouldn't draft any 5'9'' corners. Is he just enough to get in?

A: He's 5'10'' I think. Zimmer loves him. But no, and like I said you cannot have enough corners. To have Trae Waynes and where he has progressed, and to add another corner in here to go along with our veteran corners, plus you look at the number of snaps now in the NFL that you play Nickel defense compared to the base defense, you're going to need a lot of defense backs to get through a season.

Q: What do you see in Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes to bring in extra competition to potentially replace a starter like Trae Waynes?

A: That will all play itself out. All we are doing right now is trying to get the best football players we can get in here and the most competitive players. I think our 1st two picks, there is no question about the passion they have for the game. They are tough mentally, they love to play and I can't put a point of emphasis enough on that on how important that is to us. I know when it is crunch time and those guys have to compete, you can go into a foxhole with those guys and they will fight right next to you.

Q: Was this one of those picks where you talked about looking at the future?

A: Every pick I try to pick the best football player there. Some guys will come in and contribute this year, some guys may contribute halfway through the season. Eventually they are going to contribute because they are such good football players. All I know is we tell every one of them you are going to come in, compete and get an opportunity to earn your spot on this roster and earn your play time on Sundays. When you have a bunch of guys, and you have the depth at each position like we have been trying to create all offseason, you are going to see guys rise and I think that is how you are going to create your best 53.

Q: You talked before the draft about finding a cornerback that you can move to safety, do you see that with Alexander?

A: I think he is strictly a nickel and corner. I think he can play inside and outside. I also know there is another day of drafting tomorrow.

Q: Has there been any talk about moving Terence Newman to safety?

A: That would be a question for Coach Zimmer. As I said we are trying to get the best 90 football players we can get in. As we go through the OTA's, minicamps and training camp it will all shake out.

Q: Was it tough to trade out of the 3rd round?

A: There were a couple guys that we liked. We had two guys targeted, but as I kept staring at the board which we have a tendency to do a lot over the last month, I just saw there were still a lot of good football players that we could potentially pick up tomorrow. There was enough depth in the draft this year that you are going to get quality players. To still be able to get quality players tomorrow and kind of look into the future where our roster is going to be in 2017 and how valuable those picks are going to become next year, I just felt the trade was the right move for us.

Q: Do you see it unlikely winding up with 10 picks this year?

A: That is always kind of the goal, but I know we have a lot of depth this year, just signing our own guys back and adding what added in free agency. I don't know maybe we do end up with 10 picks next year if we move around, I don't know how it will shake out. I know we have 9 picks set for next year at this point.

Q: So you could still end up with 10 picks this year?

A: I wish I could look into the future and see what is going to happen tomorrow. We will just play it as it goes along. If there are players there when we pick we are going to take them and can potentially move back. I still think there is enough depth that we can add players, then we may potentially look to move back. We also have a couple picks now in those 6th and 7th rounds. Those become valuable if you want to move up in the 5th if there is a player that you coveted that is falling or potentially the 4th. At least you have ammunition to go back and forth tomorrow.

Q: With the number of players that you have added since Coach Zimmer arrived, is this the type of trade you would have made last year or the year before?

A: I think you look at where your current roster is, but I also think that is why we try to plan for the future as well. I want to make sure that we always keep a competitive roster. Depending on what happens in 2017, just projecting potentially what our roster could look like, just having those draft picks next year, I think they are going to be valuable.

Q: Do you think Miami would have still done the trade if it was for sure going to involve their 4th round pick next year and not their compensatory 4th round pick?

A: I don't know that. I know they had a player that they had targeted and we had conversations five or six picks before our pick came up. The trade worked out the way that it did and I think both parties were happy with it.

Q: Do you feel like you would have given up the same value that Miami did?

A: I don't know, maybe if I liked the guy.

Q: That seemed like it was a lot for the pick?

A: As long as we take advantage and get good players with those picks. To me that deal was a benefit for our football team. I am not going to speak for Miami at all, but they feel that was a benefit for them for the player that they got.

Q: Was Coach Zimmer pretty adamant for getting a defensive player in the 2nd round after picking an offensive player in the 1st?

A: No Coach Zimmer is very good about taking best available player, but they just all happen to be on the defensive side.

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