What Went Wrong
In all fairness, Rick Spielman had a solid year in 2012. In his first year as the team's official general manager, Spielman conducted a very successful draft. B/R's own Russell S. Baxter wrote that the Vikings' draft class of 2012 was the fourth-best in the NFL.
The only problem is with Spielman's free-agent signings.
Last season, his biggest catch in the offseason was John Carlson. There was also a lot of hype about Spielman's decision to sign Jerome Simpson. Neither panned out for the team. The signing of Jerome Felton did help balance out what was otherwise a nondescript free-agent class.
What Needs to Improve
Spielman made a bold move when he traded Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks early in the offseason.
There's no denying Harvin's versatility and productivity on the field, but as 1500 ESPN's Tom Pelissero reports, the mercurial receiver was something of a locker room cancer. Essentially, Spielman traded Harvin for Greg Jennings (signed via free agency) and draft picks. If nothing else, there should be more harmony in the locker room.
However, if Jennings is injured or somehow fails to produce, Spielman will have another problem on his hands.
Will It Happen?
Spielman had a very strong draft in 2012 and has two first-round picks in the upcoming draft. One of those picks came to the Vikings in the Harvin deal, and there will be pressure on Spielman to deliver an impact player with the selection.
If past performance is any indicator, Spielman and his scouting staff will draft well again in 2013.
The rest depends almost entirely on Greg Jennings. If Jennings produces like he did before his injury-plagued 2012, the Vikings' GM will have replaced Harvin with a receiver who makes less money, is a better influence in the locker room and provides QB Christian Ponder (another Spielman draft choice) with a dangerous weapon in the passing game.
If Jennings fails to work out, the Harvin trade will have been a disaster. Chances are Jennings will be fine, and Spielman will continue to prove his worth as a GM.