The first week of free agency is over, meaning the 2016 NFL Draft order is officially set. Rick Spielman knows exactly how many “bullets” he’ll have come April, creating a clear, seven-round roadmap for the Minnesota Vikings.
On Friday afternoon, the league awarded compensatory picks to multiple franchises. The Vikings weren’t one of those teams, as they’ve put a focus on retaining players currently on the roster. Thus, Minnesota officially has eight picks to use in next month’s NFL Draft. They are, as follows:
First round: 23rd overall
Second round: 54th overall
Third round: 86th overall
Fourth round: 121st overall
Fifth round: 160th overall
Sixth round: 198th overall
Seventh round: 240th overall
Seventh round: 244th overall
The league’s formula for compensatory picks is a mystery, but Over the Cap did its best to explain the process. As they put it, “compensatory picks are awarded to teams that lose more or better compensatory free agents than they acquire.” Because the Vikings didn’t lose any of their free agents to other teams, they were not awarded any compensatory picks.
Eight should be a comfortable number for the Vikings, who took early steps to improve the roster through free agency. By signing Alex Boone and adding depth at linebacker, Spielman’s not only addressed multiple needs, but given himself the opportunity to target other players and positions in the draft.
The possibilities are endless, and only Spielman’s front office knows exactly what the team’s big board looks like right now. Sure, wide receivers may be available at the 23rd-overall slot, but the team reportedly likes the overall depth of the class. And given the pedigree of this year’s defensive line prospects, Minnesota may opt to build on one of its strengths early in the draft.
Spielman is a master negotiator with a knack for adding picks through draft-day trades. He’s had at least nine selections in the past four years, and he may very well continue that tradition in 2016. But with the number of budding stars on the roster, this year could mark the first that Spielman settles for less; there just isn’t enough room to add more young talent to the roster and retain every player.
It’s an exciting time for Vikings fans, and one we look forward to monitoring as the NFL Draft draws closer. Anything can happen between now and then, so stay tuned for all of the latest updates!