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1 Forgotten Man Deserves Credit for NFC North Title


Forgotten Man Deserves Credit for NFC North Title
Minnesota Vikings Helmet

1 Forgotten Man Deserves Credit for NFC North Title

The heroes of the 2022 Vikings may be talked about for a long time, depending on how well the Vikings do in the postseason. No matter how far the Vikings go, the win against the Colts will be mentioned for decades whenever a team is down big. Most of the credit will certainly go to the two that are viewed as the builders of the team — Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell.

The GM and the head coach changed the vibe in the organization, and the players seemed to respond well to that. Their first draft in charge isn’t a huge factor in the successful season, as only a struggling Ed Ingram and, at times, Akayleb Evans really contributed. However, Adofo-Mensah’s free agency class and O’Connell’s approach as a head coach certainly play a huge role, and they deserve a huge part of the credit, but a different person built the fundament for the 2022 Vikings — Rick Spielman. He congratulated the Vikings on their latest accomplishment.

The former longtime general manager acquired most players on the roster. He brought Adam Thielen, a hometown kid with a dream, to the roster and paired his talent with a quarterback who could use it, despite facing heavy criticism for paying that much money for Kirk Cousins. A lot of folks still don’t support that move. When Thielen got older and Stefon Diggs wanted to leave, he supported Thielen and Cousins with another dynamic playmaker and drafted Justin Jefferson, who is consistently breaking records.

1 Forgotten Man Deserves Credit for NFC North Title

1 Forgotten Man Deserves Credit for NFC North Title
Nov 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Spielman struggled to protect his passer with a solid offensive line, but he brought in Brian O’Neill and Christian Darrisaw. The two are in the conversation to be the best tackle duo in the league. Spielman also drafted Garrett Bradbury, Ezra Cleveland, K.J. Osborn, and Dalvin Cook. Cook was the focal point of the Vikings offense for years and is still an essential part of that side of the ball now that the focus has shifted to Jefferson.

In addition to all but two offensive starters, Spielman drafted and then kept many of the defensive contributors. His 2015 draft is a legendary one, as he did not only add Diggs and Trae Waynes to the roster but also Pro Bowlers Danielle Hunter and Eric Kendricks. The two are fixtures of the defense even seven years after their entry into the league.

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Harrison Smith was selected in the 2012 draft and has probably been the best Vikings of the last decade. Dalvin Tomlinson joined the Vikings in the 2021 offseason and is an important asset in the running and passing games. Cameron Dantzler and Camryn Bynum were picked by Spielman in the middle of their respective drafts, and both earned starting roles.

Patrick Peterson, the top dog at the cornerback position, was technically re-signed by Adofo-Mensah, but Spielman initially brought him to Minnesota in the 2021 offseason with Dalvin Tomlinson.

Spielman is directly responsible for adding 16 of the 22 starters of the 2022 NFC North champions. He also brought in multiple more contributors, like DJ Wonnum, Patrick Jones, and CJ Ham.

Most Vikings fans are connecting him with a few draft whiffs, something every GM has in a long career. Other fans think about the broken relationship with head coach Mike Zimmer. However, he deserves credit for leaving the Vikings in a good position, and his work in the front office is a big reason for the NFC North title in 2022.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt


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