Spoiler Alert: Vikings GM Spielman says team is entertaining trade offers for first-round pick
Slick Rick is at it again!
If there’s one thing that could sum up the tenure of Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, it’s trading down in the draft. After starting his tenure with three separate drafts (in a row) with more than one first-round pick, Spielman started amassing late-round draft picks by trading down… Over and over again.
ESPN Staff Writer Courtney Cronin has reported that Spielman is looking at doing that yet again tomorrow night, with at least one of the first-round picks that the Vikings have (at numbers 22 and 25). Spielman said:
“I’ve had calls already, opportunities of people trying to trade up, and I’ve also had teams that are in front of us that wanted to trade back, I think it all depends how the draft board unfolds on Thursday. For example, I would say if we stay at 22, and we have maybe seven or eight names still up there, to move back from 25 to gain another pick and still get the same quality of player. An example: Last year, we moved back three times in the third round and still had [Alexander] Mattison targeted and were able to still get him. A lot of that manipulation on the draft board depends on what’s up there, how you have the draft board stacked, and how far are you willing to go back without risk of losing a particular player.”
It’s hard to take this at face value, though, as the draft is a complicated process that has its fair share of subterfuge. Those tricks exist in a normal draft, but this week’s draft is anything but normal. Thanks to COVID-19 the NFL is having it’s first (and hopefully last) ever virtual draft, allowing teams and players to maintain a safe distance from one another while having the draft as scheduled.
The NFL has allowed teams to take additional time for each pick thanks to this reality, so perhaps Spielman is speaking this openly about the Vikings’ plans because they don’t have full confidence that they’ll be able to make trades during the draft itself.
It’s the NFL, so I’m betting on at least one technical difficulty Thursday night. To avoid that, again, Spielman could be getting the word out sooner than later so they can at least prime conversations before things hit the fan Thursday night.
In terms of the idea of trading down itself, I’ve never been a huge fan of Spielman’s propensity to trade down. Sure, the example he cited is hard to argue against. The Vikings wanted Mattison and got him (while amassing picks they otherwise wouldn’t have had). However, when he’s/they’ve traded down to amass seventh-round pick after seventh-round pick, it feels more like Spielman is looking to build the league’s best practice squad than actually build things like, you know, the offensive line.
This season is different though. The Vikings have a tremendous amount of need at multiple positions on both sides of the ball. If like Spielman says, the team has eight-or-nine players on their board that are worthy of a pick at 22 or 25, it’ll make sense for them to trade down into the second round (while picking up another mid-round pick in the process).
That depends on what they’re looking for and what happens though. Breaking news! I literally just described how every draft happens. What I mean is that Spielman has been fleeced in the past when there has been a run on a position of need before the Vikings have had a chance to pick, they’ve ended up settling for someone like quarterback Christian Ponder or wide receiver Laquon Treadwell.
As stated above, this year the Vikings have so many needs at so many positions it’s hard to imagine that they’d fall victim to that (especially as there is a decent amount of depth at some of the positions the Vikings are looking to fill (cough, cough, wide receiver, cough, hack, hack).
SPeaking of the draft, we will be hosting a live show starting at 6:30 pm Central on both purplePTSD.com, VikingsTerritory.com and our recently launched third-site, purpleTERRITORYradio.com!
Former Vikings head coach Mike Tice will be stopping by to chat about the draft and the first pick or two tomorrow, as well! Tune in at 6:30pm on either site, our message board, or our social media platforms: