Thursday, April 27, 2017

Zach Cunningham

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Images courtesy of Vikings.com

NFL Draft Week has finally arrived.

In just a few short days all of the questions spawn from speculation, discussion and news reports will be given answers over the course of three wildly unpredictable days. The Minnesota Vikings will enter an interesting situation without a first-round pick and three selections (48, 79, 86) in the top 100.

With these three early-round picks along with a pair of fourth-rounders and three other Day-3 selections, the Vikings have a number of holes to fill and edges to smooth over. This guide aims to find the middle ground on “need” and “value” in order to best project how Minnesota will operate this coming weekend.

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image courtesy of Vikings.com

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.

13 Days Until NFL Draft — About the Labor Podcast Episode 56

BJ Reidell — Version 2.0

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald continue their final review of the upcoming NFL Draft with a 45-minute show talking exclusively 2017 prospects and how they may or may not correlate with the Minnesota Vikings. Episode 56 of the About the Labor Podcast puts Offensive Tackle, Offensive Guard, Center, Outside Linebacker, Safety and a handful of Situational Athletes under the microscope.

Note: Discussion centers around on BJ’s most recently updated Prospect Ranking Board available on both Twitter and below after the jump!

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  • Prospect Review: Offensive Line — Tackle, Guard, Center
  • Prospect Review: Linebacker — Coverage Specialists, Versatile Skill Sets
  • Prospect Review: Safety — Lethal Complements to Harrison Smith
  • Situational Rankings: Red Zone, Gadgets, Short Yards, Home Run Threats

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