Let’s assume for a second that Rick Spielman is full of you-know-what and has had his sights on Matt Kalil since December. So, why not just come out and say so?
If this is the case, then Spielman deserves a lot of credit for successfully generating a trade market for the third overall selection despite the presumed absence of the two premier passers in this class. If he manages to finagle a trade back and still land Kalil, then the guy is going to look like a freaking genius and many of us are going to have a whole ton of crow to eat after doubting the guy all offseason long.
So, with Andrew Luck and RGIII already off the board, what kind of trade interest might the Vikings get when they pick up their phones in the war room? Let’s take a look.
CLEVELAND BROWNS: The Browns might very well be content with the options that will be presented to them at the four spot, regardless of who gets picked at three, but if they are absolutely infatuated with Trent Richardson or really want a quarterback in Ryan Tannehill then all the Vikings have to do is give them a call and say “so-and-so is awfully interested in moving up to snag…” A call like that might just be enough o get the Browns to move up a spot and ensure they get the man they wanted. According to the Jimmy Johnson Trade Chart, the Browns would owe the Vikings a number of picks to move up that one spot. Since the Vikes are essentially still guaranteed a shot at Kalil in this scenario, however, they would probably give Cleveland a discount and just take an additional third rounder from them.
TAMPA BAY BUCS: Tampa Bay cannot be liking all of this crazy talk that Spielman is spewing about Claiborne. He has some of the media’s smartest personalities convinced that Claiborne is going to the Vikings. They would probably be okay not getting Claiborne if they knew they would get Trent Richardson as a consolation prize. The problem with that is, though, that Cleveland could very well take Richardson and the Bucs wouldn’t get a crack at either two of the guys believed to be their top targets. Spielman’s talk of Claiborne still being in the mix at the three spot puts the Bucs in a mighty hard place, and they may just be willing to move up to guarantee they get Claiborne. Then Cleveland takes either Richardson or Tannehill and the Vikings still get a shot at Kalil. A move like this should cost the Bucs about 500 points, according to the trade chart, so their second round pick could be in play here.
ST. LOUIS RAMS: The Rams could benefit from just about any of the top players that we have mentioned so far. However, the restructured deal they just worked out with Jason Smith may suggest that they will steer clear of the offensive tackle position early in this Draft. The team that took the Redskins to the cleaners might just be interested in moving back up to grab Justin Blackmon, Morris Claiborne, or Trent Richardson. Leslie Frazier made a point a couple of days ago to insist that the Vikings interest in Blackmon is still very real and that could possibly have been a signal to the Rams. “If you want your guy, then come and get him.” If Blackmon is their guy and they trade up to get him, then the Vikings could still get Kalil if the Browns take Richardson and the Bucs take Claiborne. The move would cost the Rams about 600 points in trade value, so the Vikings could likely land the 33rd pick of the Draft in this deal.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: While the Jaguars have shown a recent willingness to unsuspectingly move up and grab a prospect they like, it sounds like they are most interested in moving backwards on Thursday. I mention them not because I view them as a trade partner, but because I view them as a threshold. If the Vikings trade back with somebody behind Jacksonville, then Kalil’s possible availability might just create a market for Jacksonville’s pick, and the Vikings run a great risk of missing out on him.
MIAMI DOLPHINS: If the Dolphins aren’t interested in upgrading their quarterback situation then there is something seriously wrong with them. Owner Stephen Ross is reportedly eager to Draft Ryan Tannehill as his quarterback of the future (and probably present) and waiting until the eight spot might just be too risky. It has been speculated for quite some time that Miami might be a trade partner for Minnesota to deal with. This wouldn’t be super ideal for the Vikings if they want Kalil because, as I mentioned, the Jaguars desire to trade down represents a lot of risk. The bounty could be great for the Vikes, however, as the Fins would owe them roughly 800 value points. This would likely equate to first rounder in 2013 and a second rounder this year, or some combination of equal value.
CINCINATTI BENGALS: The Bengals have a clear need for a running back and there will certainly be a potential superstar available when the Vikings are on the clock at three. The Bengals have a lot of firepower in this Draft, and they could potentially be aiming to use it to move up and grab Trent Richardson. If they do, the jump would cost them both the 17th and 21st pick and that would still leave them 450 points shy of what would be owed. This move would drop the Vikings out of contention for Kalil, but if they feel confident that there will be good players available to them later on in the first round, then they could make an absolute killing on a deal like this.
So, there you have it, some potential Draft Day trade partners for the Vikings and what each might net them. Like I said at the top, if Spielman can pull off any trade back netting them additional draft picks and still grab Kalil, then we’ll have to send him a group “Thank You” card… and possibly and “We’re Sorry,” too.