Illustration by Matt Engstrom

Rick Spielman is a popular man in Minnesota of late. At the very least, with Mike Zimmer as his running mate, he could probably produce some approval ratings that will give any politician a run for their money.

Spielman has done wonders to this Vikings roster in recent years and is quickly earning reputations as a wise spender, talented evaluator of rookie talent, and tricky trader. One thing he doesn’t ever seem to produce, however, are compensatory draft picks, and that could very well be by design.

The formula that allocates compensatory picks is getting less and less secretive as time goes on, but for the next year Vikings fans can ignore the nuances and stick to the simple arithmetic to determine that this team will not recieve any in 2017.

Basically, when the sun sets on the 2016 offseason the Vikings will have added at least as many unrestricted free agents as they’ve lost. When that is the case, when you add more than you lose, the compensatory formula all but guarantees you will get no compensatory picks awarded to you.

The offseason thus far has seen the Vikings add four unrestricted free agents in Alex Boone, Emmanuel Lamur, Travis Lewis, and Andre Smith. Michael Griffen wasn’t a true formula-eligible unrestricted free agent since he had been released earlier in the offseason instead of playing out his entire contract.

Conversely, the Vikings have only lost two unrestricted free agents (Josh Robinson and Robert Blanton) and only stand to lose two more (Jason Trusnik and Casey Matthews) if they were to catch on with another club.

That means that the Vikings have added four and lost two. They can’t lose more than four when all is said and done. Four minus four equals zero.


As in: Zero compensatory draft picks.

On occasion, teams can be awarded “extra” compensatory picks tacked onto the end of the seventh round if all the available compensatory picks cannot be awarded by the formula, but those picks are awarded via draft order and go to the NFL’s teams. We all know the Vikings won’t be in that conversation, right? Right?

The long and the short of it is that you shouldn’t be surprised when the Vikings go yet another year without a compensatory pick being awarded to them, so you have 11 months to prepare for your annual disappointment.

The NFL has announced that compensatory picks will be able to be traded in 2017, for the first time, so that annual disappointment might increase just a tad next year.