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.
Rick Spielman Wheels and Deals
Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was on the phone early and often Friday, putting together four trades in total to move the Vikings all over the draft.
The savvy Spielman didn’t just make trades, though. He moved up for two excellent value additions in Dalvin Cook and Pat Elflein. Slick Rick then moved down twice to regain the picks he lost in trading up.
The Vikings entered the NFL Draft with eight picks. They now have nine (including three fourth-rounders), even after trading up twice.
- Round 2, Pick 9 (41st overall) – Dalvin Cook
- Round 3, Pick 6 (70th overall) – Pat Elflein
- Round 4, Pick 2 (109th overall)
- Round 4, Pick 14 (120th overall)
- Round 4, Pick 26 (132nd overall)
- Round 6, Pick 15 (199th overall)
- Round 7, Pick 1 (219th overall)
- Round 7, Pick 14 (232nd overall)
- Round 7, Pick 27 (245th overall)
Minnesota probably isn’t done, either. Spielman said he acquired more picks Friday night so the Vikings can move up and down as they please and target specific players. Several intriguing prospects remain on the board entering the final day for Spielman to go after.
Vikings Get Value, Versatility with Day 2 Picks
Both of Spielman’s selections on Friday were freakin’ steals. Dalvin Cook was the No. 14 player on the Vikings Territory big board and slipped all the way to 41st overall. The dynamic former Florida State Seminole is truly a generational talent at the running back position.
Cook brings versatility as well, bringing the ability to be effective as a rusher and as a receiver. He was efficient coming out of the backfield, on screens and on wheel routes in the Florida State offense. As a rusher, Cook’s lightning acceleration combined with incredible patience and ability to set up blocks will lead him to a very successful NFL career.
Pat Elflein is regarded by many as the most pro-ready interior offensive linemen in the NFL Draft. Interior linemen are generally undervalued in the draft so they often do slip through the cracks. But Elflein’s pedigree as a force and leader on the Ohio State offensive line over the last few years made him a second round value.
Elflein is versatile in that he has plenty of experience as a starter at left guard, center and right guard on the offensive line. His only experience at center is his 13 starts in 2016, which were enough for him to win the Rimington Award for college football’s best center.
The guy can flat out play, and he should be the favorite to start from Day 1 on Minnesota’s offensive line.
Chargers Add HAM With Two Vikings Targets
The entire Purple and Gold faithful wanted slipping Western Kentucky offensive lineman Forrest Lamp at the top of the second round. It does sound like Minnesota made a run at him, but the Los Angeles Chargers ultimately won the Lamp sweepstakes.
Lamp spent his college career playing left tackle, but arm length concerns pegged him as the top guard prospect in the NFL Draft. He would have brought serious talent and versatility along the center and tackle positions for the Vikings.
The Chargers weren’t done adding offensive linemen on Day 2. After stealing Lamp from the Vikings, the Chargers swiped Dan Feeney off the board with the selection immediately after Minnesota’s pick of Pat Elflein.
Feeney is a one-trick pony in that he is exclusively a right guard, but he is a stud there. Los Angeles did a tremendous job adding strength on its offensive line by adding a couple of the Vikings faithful’s favorite targets in Lamp and Feeney.
Looking Ahead to Day 3
The Vikings will be busy on Day 3, boasting plenty of ammo in seven picks (including three fourth-round picks). Spielman will have the opportunity to grab one or two immediate contributors given the way the board has fallen after two days.
Here are some of my favorite potential fits for the Vikings still left on the board:
- Jaleel Johnson (DT, Iowa) – The Vikings are slim at 3-tech with Sharrif Floyd’s career suddenly in jeopardy. Johnson’s didn’t put up terrific combine numbers, but his film is exceptional and he could be a force as a rotational player from Day 1 for the Vikings.
- Desmond King (S/CB, Iowa) – Again, here is another Hawkeye who is hampered by some athletic and physical limitations. With that said, his production at Iowa combined with his intelligence cannot be ignored.
- Corn Elder (CB, Miami) – Elder is a true slot cornerback and would be a candidate to replace Captain Munnerlyn. The feisty former Hurricane is a sure tackler and possesses the quick twitch that is required to cover in the slot.
- Jake Butt (TE, Michigan) – I like Jake Butt and I cannot lie. He is very similar to Kyle Rudolph with better potential as a blocker. He could be incorporated into the offense immediately and would allow the Vikings to translate smoothly in the event of a Rudolph injury.
- Dorian Johnson (G, Pittsburgh) – You can never have enough ham. Johnson is touted as a possible starter for a decade in the NFL. He’d give the Vikings a leg up in preparing for the impending retirement of Joe Berger.
Remember to join the VT Live Chat today during Day 3 of the NFL Draft!