Sunday, December 17, 2017

Monthly Archives: April 2012

Rick Spielman and the Vikings enjoyed their success in the first round that they decided to jump back into for a little more.

After completing a no-brainer trade at the top of the first round (read my assessment here), the team engaged in something a little more risky towards the end of the evening.

The Vikings traded their second round pick (#35) and their original fourth round pick (#98) for the Ravens first rounder (#29) and grabbed Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith.  Targeting Smith wasn’t a huge surprise as he has been the apple of many Vikings fans’ eye for months now, the team has a thing for Notre Dame players, and safety was arguably the team’s biggest need.

We will get into a more in-depth analysis of what Smith brings to the team a little later on, but from a trade value standpoint what exactly did the Vikings do?

According to the old Jimmy Johnson trade chart, found on this page, the Vikings gained 90 value points by moving from 35 to 29.  However, the fourth rounder they gave up is valued at 108 points so the Vikings overpaid a tad, according to this chart.

The newer “Harvard Chart” that claims to account for factors more accurately, including the new CBA, values the 29th pick at 208.7 points.  The 35th and 98th picks combine, according to this chart, for a point value of 268.5.  This chart suggests that Vikings overpaid by more than the old trade chart suggests, but both indicate that they overpaid.

The overpayment is slight, however, and the Vikings obviously targeted Smith enough to move up at all.  If they weren’t quite as smitten with the kid, then they probably would have been content to just sit back and see if he was there as an option at 35.

They got their guy, and it is hard to fault them for that even if they overpaid.  Heck, a few years back, they gave up more than that to move up a short distance and grab Toby Gerhart.  So, at the very least, this trade up was an improvement.

“I guess it went well down there,” Smith said of his work with Vikings staff at the Senior Bowl. “I really like playing for those guys and took to their coaching and I think we kind of got a good feel for each other.”

The Vikings obviously got a good enough “feel” for Harrison to overpay a bit in trading up to get him.

Rick Spielman proved a man worthy of being an NFL General Manager in his first appearance to the Vikings war room with that title.

He has been laying the ground work for months.  Telling anyone that would listen that he liked tackle Matt Kalil, receiver Justin Blackmon, and cornerback Morris Claiborne equally.

It was really a matter of simple math.  The Vikings had the third pick.  The Browns and the Bucs were sure to be candidates for the services of Trent Richardson, whom Spielman’s staff probably rated high enough to make him confident other teams rated equally as high, and the Browns were picking at four while the Bucs were at five.

By identifying three players that he supposedly graded exactly equally, and publically declaring so, he was sending a signal that he would be willing to trade backwards as low as the five spot and still be guaranteed a player from the top of his board.

The public statements were probably never aimed at the Bucs or anyone else.  Instead, the Browns were targeted from the get-go as Spielman had likely been targeting Kalil all along as many expected.  However, by stating the three players publically, the seeds were planted and the Browns couldn’t help but wonder if Spielman was serious.  If he was, then the Bucs could jump up and grab Richardson right in front of them.

There was risk involved in any of this subterfuge for Spielman, as he knew any picks he could milk out of the Browns were just a bonus as he would still be able to grab his man, Kalil.  In fact, Kalil will now be at a slightly lower salary slot which should help the salary cap situation a tiny amount over the next four years.

To me, the coolest part of all of this is just how much Spielman was then able to milk from the Browns after he sufficiently swindled them into moving up.  By moving back one space in a no-risk move, the Browns gave the Vikings an additional fourth rounder (#118), a fifth rounder (#139), and a seventh rounder (#211).  Not only does this provide the Vikings with the potential for more draftees, but it gives them added firepower to move up and target specific players they have a high value on.

According to the old Jimmy Johnson trade chart, which can be view at our trade chart page, the Vikings gave up 400 “points” by sliding back this one spot.  They, in fact, gave up nothing though because they still got the guy they wanted.  In return, the Vikings got those three picks which have a total value of 102.5 points.

In the more modernized “Harvard Chart” the Vikings only gave up 24.4 points while gaining a total value of 188.6 points from the other three picks.  It is debatable as to which chart is the most valid following the new CBA, but there is little arguing that the Vikings got something for nothing out of this deal.

Spielman was grinning from ear to ear at the presser following the Kalil pick, relishing the fact that his performance not only tricked the media but also tricked the Browns into thinking he was such a wild card.

“I didn’t undersell anyone,” Spielman said regarding his pre-Draft tactics. “I just said I like all three players.”

And that is all he had to say.

The Vikings entered Thursday with ten picks.

The first five picks weren’t even made yet and he had 12 picks left, drafted a guy he thinks will be a heck of a left tackle, and upgraded his left guard position in the meantime.

Well done, sir, very well done!

I’ll break down the trade up that came later in round one shortly.

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We’ve been saying it a while here at Vikings Territory: The Minnesota Vikings will select offensive tackle, Matt Kalil. Well, that’s exactly what they did. With the third pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select Matt Kalil, USC. And, to sweeten the deal, the Vikings were also able to scare the Browns enough to swap picks with us and amass some later picks in the draft.

If Kalil turns out as projected by almost everyone, the Vikings left tackle position will be solidified for many years to come.

We have to give Rick Spielman and the Vikings staff some credit here for orchestrating an outstanding first round thus far.

The Vikings have reportedly moved out of the third overall spot, but not very far.

According Rich Eisen on NFL Network, the Vikings swapped picks with the Browns (#4) in exchange for a Browns 4th, 5th, and 7th round selections.

This is a good move for the Vikings, as they can still land whomever they target as it is expected that the Browns will select running back Trent Richardson.

Will the Vikings trade down yet again?  The drama continues.

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