After Day 1, the Vikings are in a solid position
Each day following NFL Draft coverage, we’ll provide a running diary of thoughts and reflections on rounds past while looking ahead to the Minnesota Vikings’ future.
What the heck, Bears?
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch is a rookie in the business, but he fleeced the Chicago Bears like a savvy veteran last night. Before the mega-trade that sent Mitch Trubisky to Chicago, the 49ers and Bears sat second and third, respectively, on the board.
Here’s the bounty it took Chicago’s front office to swap spots with Lynch and land Trubisky:
- 2017 Pick No. 3
- 2017 Pick No. 67
- 2017 Pick No. 111
- 2018 Third Round Pick
Either the Bears believe Trubisky is the league’s next great quarterback or were duped into believing he was the target of another team looking to trade with San Francisco. If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on the latter. Lynch—like Rick Spielman with Trent Richardson, the Browns, and Matt Kalil in 2012—worked his way out of an advantageous spot and still landed the player he wanted in Solomon Thomas.
The Bears, meanwhile, mortgaged the future of the franchise on a quarterback with very little proven production. That, and they’ve already sunken $45 million into the recently-signed Mike Glennon, leaving many to wonder — “What was Chicago thinking?”
All I know is, if you’re Mike Zimmer’s defense, you’re licking your chops at the chance to go after a rookie quarterback twice a year.
The board falls in Minnesota’s favor
As the first round inched to a close, chatter on the VT Live Chat escalated; some wanted the Vikings to trade back into the first and others were fine with the team staying put. I watched the night unfold and was shocked at the number of offensive players taken at the top of the draft. But not just offensive players — those at the “skill” positions.
Courtesy of the Vikings’ Craig Peters, here’s a breakdown of the class by offensive position:
Offense: 13 (QB: 3; RB: 2; WR: 3; TE: 3; OL: 2)
Of those selections, seven came in the first 10 picks and included two quarterbacks, two running backs, and three receivers. Only two offensive linemen—Garett Bolles and Ryan Ramczyk—were taken in the first round, and both came in the second half of the night.
The temptation to trade back into the first with the Seattle Seahawks or New Orleans Saints was surely there, but the Vikings were able to stand pat because of the favorable “fall” of the board. Tonight, they may have their pick of a few top offensive linemen at No. 48, including Forrest Lamp Dan Feeney.
In hindsight, the Bradford trade favors the Vikings
I’ll probably get ripped for this “take,” but I’ll gladly stand by my opinion. The Philadelphia Eagles, beneficiaries of the trade that sent Bradford to Minnesota, selected 14th-overall last night. In a hypothetical world, it’s where the Vikings would’ve selected had they played the season out, sans trade.
If Minnesota had never made the move for Bradford, backup quarterback Shaun Hill would’ve started the season under center for the Vikings. Do you think he’s leading the Vikings to an 8-8 record in 2016? I don’t. With Hill, I have no doubt the Vikings end up at the bottom of the NFC North and the top of the NFL Draft.
Bradford was the smart play for Minnesota, and I’m even more comfortable saying so after the Eagles selected Derek Barnett with their first round pick. Barnett’s a fine player who fits well in Philadelphia’s defensive scheme, but he was a “reach” given the value still on the board. Alabama’s Jonathan Allen, Ohio State’s Malik Hooker, and Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey were still available, and all three were ranked higher on our own consensus board.
Shifting back to the Vikings, though; if Minnesota did end up at No. 14, they’d almost be guaranteed to select a quarterback, and no quarterback available at that spot was a better option than Bradford. Deshaun Watson, Trubisky, and Patrick Mahomes were already off the board, leaving DeShone Kizer and Brad Kaaya as the next best options.
Ten times out of 10, give me Bradford.
Who’s looking forward to Day 2? The Vikings have at least three picks to use in Round 2 and 3, with the potential to get even more aggressive if Spielman so chooses.
Remember to join us and discuss all the action in the Live Chat tonight, starting at 5 pm CST