Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman
Can’t tell you how excited we are to get two quality players like that when we were picking and can come in and make an immediate impact on our defense. With Floyd, I went through 1,000 scenarios and at 23rd and 25th pick I can tell you honestly, he was not in one of those scenarios. So for him to fall down to our lap, I know there were some conversations as he fell to potentially even move up, but as the names kept falling off the board, we had more than enough options than just sit there and have everything fall to us. When Floyd fell to us, it was something that was very unexpected that he would come that far because we had him that high on our board. He was an under tackle, he can play the run, rush the passer, played some end his junior year then when they moved him back to his natural position he really flourished and showed what he can be as a defensive tackle. When we were sitting there, got a lot of calls on trades for the 25th pick, and then when Xavier Rhodes was sitting there in the corner, a big pressed shut down corner, that we feel is going to be a great match up with the type of receivers we have to face in this division. To sit there and get two quality players like that I can’t tell you how excited Coach Frazier and Coach Williams are right now along with our scouting staff which I can’t emphasize enough the job they have done over the past 9 months to put this together that really paid off for us tonight; but, we still have a lot of work to go and a lot of work to do over the next couple of days.
Q: Rick, what would happen that you didn’t expect to happen 1,000 times?
A: I think, we were, because of the entire offensive lineman there was a really big run of all of the offensive lineman in the first round. So some of the offensive lineman pushed down some of the defense, which worked in our favor because our needs we were trying to fill were on the defensive side of the ball. I think that the run on the offensive lineman had an integral role onto why those guys fell onto us.
Q: No personal issue related to why they were dropped?
A: No, fell very clean. Met with both of them numerous times and no personal or off-field issues, what we look for bringing into our building.
Q: What do you like most about Floyd’s skill set?
A: I think he has the combination not only to play the run, but to rush the passer inside as well and he’s a young player that is only going to get better. He’ll have a great opportunity to come in here and work with or defensive staff and with our defensive line whom we expect a lot of good things from not only next year, but future years as well.
Q: With Kevin still here, do you anticipate them being in a rotation?
A: I think Coach Frazier can answer that question and how that rotation will work out. Right now I’m just trying to gather them and we’ll figure the rest of the stuff out once they get here.
Q: With his skills, could he play those positions?
A: I think he has the flexibility to play inside, but I think his true position is a three-technique because of his natural quickness and athletic skill set.
Q: Was Rhodes a need pick?
A: No, he was very high on our board at the corner and I know we tried to emphasize getting bigger corners that was kind of our criteria and when he fell to us, we had talked about because we had four or five other players we were strongly considering, but him and Floyd were two of the players we would not trade out of and take those two players and fill the rest of the needs as we go through the draft.
Q: Do you consider Rhodes a person who has the instincts to play zone?
A: I think he has the instincts to play zone but he plays a lot of press and he’s a shut-down press corner; as big a corner as you can get. He can run, and he has ball skills and he can run support and he has all the things we are looking for in a corner for this scheme.
Q: How early did you project him? Was he a top 5?
A: I don’t know, I can’t remember. He was high on our board.
Spielman leaves podium to return to draft room, returns after selection of Cordarrelle Patterson at #29
Sorry about that. When I came down here, we were told that we were able to move back into the first round so now we have three first round picks. To go get Patterson, we felt besides Austin, he was the most explosive playmaker with the ball in his hand. We had talked about potentially moving up to try to get him tomorrow, but when something came up tonight when I was talking to you guys, we wanted to jump on that and were very, very aggressive to do that just because I know what he can do as a receiver and but especially what he can do as a potential punt and kick-off returner because he is magic in that area as well. When you’re looking at him, and we’re evaluating him, not only is he going to give you a receiver you can bring along under the guidance of Greg Jennings, under Coach Stewart, under Bill Musgrave, but also replacing someone who is very difficult to replace when we traded Percy, but we feel this guy can do just as much as Percy can as a returner. We are excited not only what he can bring as a receiver but also what he can potentially bring as a returner as well.
Q: So Rick that was a 2, 3, 4, and 7th pick that we gave?
A: Basically, when you look at that we just flopped 1’s and 2’s and we gave a three, four and our last 7th.
Q: Which 4?
A: Our first four.
Q: What’s your thought process when you’re thinking how much is too much to give?
A: You know we go off the point charts and stuff, but then to get another pick in the first round and to get a player of that caliber that was still there, we felt he can be that big of a difference maker for us to be there and get it done.
Q: Did this first round work out ideally for you?
A: I’m very excited. I don’t think it could’ve worked out any better for the caliber of players we got for the three players coming into our program.
Q: Was your presence down here for the first few minutes you didn’t think anything was going to get done in the final pick?
A: No, but you never know. I just wanted to try to get you guys out of here. It was something I wasn’t expecting but when we were able to get something done we had to cash in on it.
Q: What’s your general feeling about these rookie receivers over the years?
A: I think it’s a process with all these young receivers, but I know he has some unique skills when you watch the tape on him, when they put him in the back field and pitched him the ball and see him go down field, you’re talking about a 6’1 215 pound receiver that runs 4.3 that is electric with the ball in his hands and what he does after the catch and what he does as a returner. So that’s a huge added value not only to what he will grow into, and I know we have to bring him along as a receiver, but what he can potentially immediately add as a returner.
Q: What are the areas that you think you’ve brought along that are described as raw?
A: You know, it’s just like these young receivers, he’s going to be a little further behind because he was a JC kid and showed up on the campus at Tennessee in July and was basically only there for four or five months so this is a young kid and we feel like we have; and we’ve talked about this with coach Frazier, Musgrave and Stewart, if we’re able to land this kid, having a specific game plan of how we’ll be able to develop him and how we’ll be able to get him on the field and get the ball in his hands. Not only when you’re talking about players of what they can do on the field in evaluation, knowing his strengths and weaknesses having a game plan for that player when he comes in, I think that paid off dividends last year because we did a lot of the same thing with the draft picks that came in last year.
Q: If he had been taken a pick or two before, was there another player you would’ve picked?
A: Nope, no there wasn’t.
Q: How much did Jennings play into this too?
A: Greg is the ultimate, pros is pro. I don’t know if there is anyone who knows the game in that position better than Jennings so to have a player such as Jennings on your roster and to bring Patterson under his wing I think that’s a huge part of this as well.
Q: Was there discussion about taking Patterson with the 25th pick and not giving up as much as you did?
A: If he weren’t in the discussion we wouldn’t have moved up at the first round. I also know that basically we gave up a 3rd and a 4th rounder and we had an extra 4th round to give so we still have 2 7ths left as well.
Q: Did you not take a linebacker because of where they were rated or because of the position?
A: I think we will continue to look at linebackers and that we’ll look through this draft because there is some value as we go through on that third day, but we’ll continue to monitor what’s out there. Our roster is not going to be done on Sunday; it will continually build. In fact, we didn’t get AJ Jefferson until a week before we played our opener last year so we will continue to evaluate the roster and work to continue to add.
Q: Do you think there will be linebackers on the third day that could come in and start for you if they had to?
A: Do you know which ones? I have no idea. We’ll find out.
Q: So how did the three guys you took here fit into the philosophy of the smart guys you talked about wanting to play football, and wanting to get better?
A: We feel very strongly about all three guys coming into our program.
Q: Do you feel like you have three starters?
A: That will all play out once we get them in here and get them acclimated. I mean, we have a long way to go before we play in Detroit.
Q: How much extra time did you have to spend on Patterson given that you only had the one year?
A: We spent a lot of time with him. I mean he was here on our Top 30, we spent time on campus with him, we spent time at the combine with him and we have a pretty good feel of the type of player we are bringing in.
Q: Getting back to Floyd, when you have a player that’s that high on you board how tempted were you to try to get him?
A: My philosophy is really be patient. You can be patient when you have alternatives as well, so I felt very strongly about staying patient and make sure the way the board will fall that we could get significant players at 23 and 25 and we just happened to get another significant player.
Q: Was Rhodes’ size a factor?
A: Very important. I know Coach Frazier and our defensive philosophy is to try to have size and speed because of the cornerbacks we have to face and the type of receivers in this division.
Q: At what point was there a sign of relief and you knew Sharrif was yours?
A: When we were on the clock. Because you don’t know what is going to happen the pick before so when the trade is up and tries to move in front of you, I don’t take anything for granted until we’re actually on the clock and have players because that’s bad omens too when you start pulling tags beforehand.
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
I tell you, it’s been a good day for our franchise. Three number one picks who I think will all come in and help our football team in their first season. We’re excited, thankful for the fans that showed up at our draft party. We had a great turnout. You could hear the noise all the way out here at Winter Park, it was terrific. To culminate it with the picks that we had today, there’s no question in my mind we’ve gotten better. The draft is not over, we still have other picks and hopefully we can continue to build our roster and just continue to improve. I think our scouts and our coaches have done a terrific job of just working together to come away with the three picks that we have. As we go through this process, it’s showing more and more that the communication between our scouts and our coaches is really benefitting our roster. We’ve got a lot more work to do but we’re excited about what happened today.
Q: What was the scene like upstairs when you had a deal with New England and Rick Spielman was down here talking to us?
A: Well actually, I was doing radio so they came and started to signal, telling me to cut it short and I didn’t know why. Then I soon found out why I needed to get back upstairs, so we could discuss what was transpiring. It was well worth the discussion. Glad we were able to cut it short so we could get back up there, it worked out great.
Q: Were you happily surprised when you walked back into that room and found out you were getting a third guy?
A: I was happily surprised because before I left to go do the interview, I had just talked to Rick [Spielman] and some of our other people about what do we have to do to get back in the first, or do we have to wait until tomorrow to have chance to go back and get Cordarrelle [Patterson]. They said, ‘Well, it may end up having to be tomorrow’, and it of course turned out to be tonight so that was great.
Q: Who is running the room when you and Rick are out?
A: Well we have some other people up there. George Paton is our Assistant GM, Scott Studwell is up there, we had some other people in charge and they were the ones that notified us that it was time to get back upstairs.
Q: Did the Patriots call you?
A: Well we were getting a number of calls from different teams about trading. We still had quite a few picks left, even though we had those two picks in the first round, we still had quite a few picks for tomorrow and the next day. So we had teams calling. It was just a matter of if someone came with something that could get us back in the first and New England was that team.
Q: Who plays middle linebacker now for this team?
A: Well we got some guys on our roster, but the draft is not over. I can probably answer that a little bit better on Sunday or Monday. But we have some guys on our roster that will compete for the position and we still have some time to maybe bring in a young guy as well.
Q: How do you perceive Sharrif Floyd and Kevin Williams co-existing as a three technique?
A: I think it’s going to be a great combination for us. Kevin is still a guy who is viable for us. We’re excited that he’s back for another season, and he’ll get a chance to tutor a guy who we think is going to be a very, very good football player for a long time. So it should be a good combination for our team.
Q: Did you expect to get any of these three players when you went through your mock drafts and your preparation?
A: I tell you, the scenario with Sharrif [Floyd], that one never really came up and we talked about so many different scenarios and went through a lot of different possibilities. I don’t think any of us foresaw that he would come down to 23. I just don’t recall us really talking about that and if he did, we all said it would be a no-brainer it turned out to be just that. There wasn’t any hesitation when we realized that he was going to be there.
Q: When you’re in that situation and think a guy is going to go that high, do you spend the same number of hours talking to him as a guy that you think is going to be there when you pick?
A: No, we put in the time. Rick [Spielman] and the scouts, along with our coaches, we go through the vetting process with all those guys just to make sure because you never know. Just like tonight, you never know so you want to make sure that you’ve done your homework and you’re prepared, if for some reason, things don’t go quite like you anticipated. Fortunate for us, we were prepared and we got a good football player.
Q: What do you like about Xavier Rhodes?
A: Well his size is obvious, that sticks out. He’s a guy who has great length, he has very good speed, he has some turnover ability as well. He’s competed at a high level against some very good competition in the ACC. We feel like he’ll be a guy that will come in and help match-up with some of the receivers in our division and our league as well. He should be able to help us early on. It was an area we needed to address and we were able to get it addressed.
Q: Does it give you an opportunity to play more man too?
A: We’d like to be able to do that at times and he’ll give us that opportunity. He comes from a system where they play a lot of man, mixing in some zone, but he should be a big plus for us.
Q: How big is it to have Greg Jennings on the roster now to tutor Cordarrelle Patterson?
A: That was a part of the discussion as we were going through this and just talking about the different receivers. If there was a chance of taking Cordarrelle [Patterson], or some of the other receivers too, that we thought because of their youth, having a guy like Greg [Jennings] in the room would be a plus for us. So it definitely factored in and we think because of Greg’s veteran experience, the way he is as a person, that should benefit a guy like Cordarelle, but not only him, our other young receivers as well.
Q: Were there any reservations about giving up as many picks as you did to get back up there and get him?
A: Not really. He was a guy that we talked about a lot, along with some other guys. So when the opportunity, as I mentioned a moment ago, we talked about it after our second first-round pick of the possibility of trying to come back and get him, and it worked out.
Q: How involved were you in scouting Xavier Rhodes or any of the other defensive backs?
A: I was involved like I am with all the positions on offense and defense. I sit down and watch tape, watch tape with the position coach, with the coordinator, so I was well versed on the corners as well as the receivers and other positions as well. I had tremendous familiarity with Xavier [Rhodes].
Q: How important is it to get guys like these who make big plays?
A: It is extremely important. In our league, that’s a big deal to be able to get big plays on defense and be able to get big plays on offense and even in the kicking game. That’s one of the things that Cordarrelle [Patterson] can provide. He’s one of those guys who can return picks, he was an excellent kick returner in college and has some potential to be a punt returner as well. What Sharrif [Floyd] and Xavier [Rhodes] are able to do, those guys are impact players and we’re trusting that they’re going to have an impact on our defense and our offense this next season.
Q: How important is it to have two big corners with Chris Cook and Xavier Rhodes with their height?
A: I think if it works out that way, it would be good for our team. They are two guys who, we’ve seen what Chris [Cook] can do. He can match-up with big receivers in our league and our division, we obviously believe that Xavier [Rhodes] can do that same, but we don’t want to discount Josh [Robinson], we think A.J. [Jefferson], those guys can compete as well and they’ll have a chance. We definitely wanted to address the size differential and be able to find the talent that we thought would be able to help us this next season.
Q: Do you still think Xavier Rhodes has the ability to address the need for the nickel cornerback?
A: We’ll move Xavier around a little bit but we think he’s primarily an outside guy. But we do think that Josh [Robinson] has that ability. We know that Marcus [Sherels] has done it for us in the past, and we have some other guys we’re going to take a look at as well. Brandon Burton is another candidate, we’ve got some other guys on the roster who can potentially go in there and play the position.
Q: How much of a learning curve do you have with Cordarrelle Patterson?
A: It seems with most wide receivers that come into our league, there is a learning curve. Just the route running, trying to get assimilated to a new offense, there is an adjustment. There are very few wide receivers that come in and make an impact, a big impact in their first year. But we’re going to do all we can to get him prepared and get him ready to have an impact on our football team and on this league. We know for a fact that has a kick returner, he’ll have a chance to have an impact early and we’ll bring him along as a wide receiver.
Q: What’s it like seeing Sharrif Floyd and the corners dropping?
A: Wow, it was good to see. I still believe that you win Championships with solid defense. You have to be able to score points and you have to be able to do it in a variety of ways. The way offenses are now and the way the rules are, you have to find a way to slow people down. I think today we added two pieces to the puzzle that will help us in getting that done.
Q: Do you start talking about packing some of your other picks to get back up into the second or third round?
A: I’m sure we’ll have it up for discussion. We’ll talk about a lot of things between now and tomorrow and try to figure out what’s best as we go forward.
Q: What would be your plan if you didn’t get a middle linebacker?
A: You know we’ve thought about some different scenarios, how we’d address it, but we still have some time to maybe find a guy. There are still a lot of linebackers on the board so we’ll see how it unfolds but we do have an idea of what direction we go if it doesn’t work out in the draft.
Q: Was this year unique because so many offensive linemen were going through early?
A: I think that had a lot to do with it. Usually there are quarterbacks that are going early and skill guys going early. That wasn’t the case this year. A lot of, as you mentioned, offensive linemen going and that pushed some other guys back. It’s a great year for us for that to happen. We definitely wanted to be able to improve on the defensive side with personnel and I think we were able to do that tonight.
1st Round Draft Choice, #23, DT Sharrif Floyd
Q: What were you thinking as the draft progressed and you kept sliding down?
A: I was sitting here waiting for my name to be called, at some point I knew it was coming and I was waiting for the best fit to pick me.
Q: What did you think when the Vikings called your name?
A: I couldn’t have been part of a better ball club and I’m excited to get out there and get started.
Q: The Vikings said they did a bunch of scenarios before the draft and in none of them you were still available when they came up, did you think you would still be there at 23 heading into the draft?
A: I didn’t really come into this thing thinking I was going to go to a specific place. I came in waiting for the best fit for me and you know that is how I looked at it. I didn’t look as I was going somewhere else, I was waiting for the best ball club to pick me and I’m happy Rick Spielman found it in himself to pick me.
Q: Have you been able to watch Kevin Williams play?
A: He’s a great player, a veteran. He’s been doing a great job. I’m more excited to learn from him and play under him.
Q: What type of flexibility do you have moving all around the line in a 4-3 defense?
A: I played all of the positions at Florida from the nose to the outside six technique so I’m willing to do whatever they need me to do to contribute to this team.
1st Round Draft Choice, # 25, CB Xavier Rhodes
Q: What do you think about coming to the Vikings?
A: I feel good about coming. It’s a dream come true to play for an NFL team.
Q: What do you think of the defense that the Vikings run?
A: It’s nothing that I won’t be able to play because we played it at Florida State.
Q: What was the extent of your contact with the Vikings in the pre-draft process?
A: I didn’t talk to them much after the Combine. I didn’t talk to them at all.
Q: What are your thoughts about going up against guys like Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall?
A: I’m going to have to continue to get better because those guys are great players. I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Q: What would you describe as your greatest strength as a corner?
A: My size and my height.
Q: Do you know many of the guys here yet?
A: No, I really don’t.
Q: Were you surprised the Vikings took you?
A: Yeah, very surprised. Like I said, before the draft, I didn’t have any contact with them.
1st Round Draft Choice, #29, WR Cordarrelle Patterson
Q: What was your reaction when the Vikings traded up to draft you?
A: It was great, to hear your name called when you weren’t expecting it. I’m so grateful.
Q: Were you surprised that it was the Vikings or did you think they would be one of the teams interested in drafting you?
A: I wasn’t that surprised it was the Vikings, the receivers coach [George Stewart] said, “If you will still be there at my pick I’ll come and get you, but I don’t think you will be there.” He stuck to it and he came and got me.
Q: Have you even scratched the surface of how good you can be?
A: I really haven’t. I’m just trying to get better every day and it will come. I feel like I have a lot more to learn and I feel like I can get better.
Q: When Minnesota made its two picks and didn’t take you, did you think that was it for them?
A: I really didn’t because coach told me he was going to come and get me at 23 and they didn’t so I said, “What’s going on?”
Q: What stood out to you during your visit to the Vikings facility?
A: It was good, seeing those guys all having big smiles on their face, they were acting like they were happy to have me and I was happy to be there. I’m glad I’m a Viking. I’m excited to play with Kyle [Rudolph] and Adrian [Peterson].
Q: Did you hear what the Vikings gave up to come and get you?
A: It means a lot to me. Not expecting to be a part of the Vikings, then they gave up a second round pick, third round pick, fourth round pick, all of that. It’s great hearing my name called. I know they want me to be a great player, and I expect big things out of myself.
Q: Give us a scouting report on Cordarrelle Patterson, what are some of your strengths and weaknesses?
A: My strengths is when the ball is in my hands. Whether it be on a kick return, on an end around. I feel like when the ball is in my hands, I’m a special player. I’m still working on my route running, learning coverages and stuff. I feel that Coach George [Stewart], he’s a great coach. Him and I sat down for about an hour getting to know each other. I know he will help me get to where I need to be.
Q: With your kick return ability do you think you have the ability to come in and make an impact right away?
A: It’s funny you say that. I love being the kick returner. You had Percy Harvin and I know I can’t replace him. I feel like I’m going to go in and work hard and try to be a stud on the kick return team. Whoever is there I’m going to try and compete with him and make each other better. I know it’s going to be great for whoever is up there.
Q: How would you describe your position at Tennessee and the type of routes that you ran?
A: At Tennesse they had me everywhere. It was great. It was great being a part of Tennesse! They had me at every [darn] place. All over the place, they had me at running back, I threw the ball one time, I caught some punts, I caught some kickoffs. Tennessee had me all over and I respect them for that. They got me on the field and we did some great things.
Q: Do you feel like you’re ready for the NFL after junior college and one year at Tennessee?
A: I feel like I’m ready, that one year at Tennessee, it wasn’t my fault I only played one year there. I had to go the juco route. That juco route made me who I am today and now I’m ready for the big leagues and I know I will do great things.