Stadium Change Has To Alter Minnesota Vikings Draft Plans In 2013

Joe Webb at TCF Bank Stadium

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings have always fallen under the umbrella of a “dome team” calling the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome home for the last 31 years. With a new NFL stadium in the works the Vikings are going to play two seasons outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team, starting in 2014.

This has to throw a wrench in the plans of General Manager Rick Spielman who has been with the organization since 2006, however was promoted to GM prior to the 2012 season.

Spielman won big last year drafting Harrison Smith who was a defensive force for the Vikings last year with 69 tackles and three interceptions–Smith went to Notre Dame and  played in sub par conditions while in South Bend, Indiana. Smith isn’t the only guy who has made an impact in the last few seasons as Minnesota has selected 20 players in the last two seasons and 18 of them are still with the team–nine of those 20 guys were either starters or played big-time downs in 2012.

However, this is a new task for Spielman undoubtedly as he will now have to tailor his team towards an outdoor climate. Surely the maturation of Christian Ponder is going to be huge, but to say the new dimensions won’t affect their draft strategy is ignorant.

I’m not downplaying Speilman’s ability in the least, I’m simply questioning his ability to evaluate guys to play outdoors for two years and indoor for rest, as it has to be a sticky situation that would cause any GM to pull their hair out. In the 2013 NFL draft the Vikes has five of the first 117 picks and one has to wonder what kind of players Spielman will be drafting knowing a move to TCF Bank Stadium is imminent.


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