Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is a restless man during the NFL Draft. When he’s not on the clock, he’s frantically making calls with other teams to improve Minnesota’s draft position. He has operated that way since he took over full reigns as general manager in 2012.
In his first three NFL Drafts, Spielman either moved Minnesota’s place in the draft or added a selection in the first round. He swooped an extra couple of picks from Cleveland in 2012 to move down one spot and was still able to get the guy he wanted in Matt Kalil. In 2013, Spielman selected three times in the first round, making trades with Seattle (before the draft) and New England to acquire picks that turned into Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson.
Spielman then pulled the trigger on a trade that moved the Vikings back into the last slot of the first round in 2014 to select Teddy Bridgewater.
“Slick Rick” didn’t make any such moves in the previous two drafts, but his track record indicates that type of maneuver is on his mind a week before the draft. It’s important to keep in mind that Spielman would likely need to give up the 48th overall pick and the 79th overall pick to move up into the bottom of the first. Depending on the prospects available, it might require more than that.
With all of this in mind, the question must be asked: If Spielman does pull the trigger on a trade into the first round, which prospects should he target?
The fundamental answer is easy: trade up for a guy with top-tier first round talent who has slipped through the cracks. Several candidates fit that bill in this year’s draft class.