What Can Vikings Get from Remainder of Diggs Trade?

The hubbub surrounding the trade of former Minnesota Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs to Buffalo is predominantly rooted in the subsequent selection of Justin Jefferson in the 2020 NFL Draft. Pundits debate the merits of the trade in a “who won” capacity as if the transaction was a tit-for-tat swap. It wasn’t.

First, the Vikings received rookie merchandise as the first installment of compensation in Jefferson. His achievements as a rookie should be compared to Stefon Diggs’ rookie accolades in 2015 rather than the “who’s better right now” dialogue that circulates. Vikings faithful ought to be excited if Jefferson ever procured the production he found in 2020. 1,400 receiving yards and seven touchdowns are upper-echelon for a man that is 27 years old, rookie campaigns be damned.

Yet, our lenses are not that transparent. The immediacy of our scope demands comparison in the here and now. It’s why there is so much Diggs-or-Jefferson chatter. For 2020 as a standalone season, the trade resulted in a draw — if a Diggs versus Jefferson side-by-side is mandatory.

Examining the trade more extensively elucidates the full picture. The Vikings have more goodies to add to the Diggs trade. Those goodies arrive this April in the 2021 NFL Draft. In addition to Jefferson and defensive end Kenny Willekes, Minnesota will receive a 2021 4th-round pick, another 2021 4th-round pick, and a 2021 5th-round pick as direct reimbursement from the Diggs trade.

Here is what to tentatively expect from those spoils.

The 4th and 5th Round Hits

As the spoils currently stand, Rick Spielman will have three shots at making this more profitable (assuming he does not use the three picks in a trade). Again, two 4th-round choices and one fifth-rounder this April.

If Spielman executes no additional trades with those picks, he gets three swings at the plate. His personal history in the 4th and 5th-rounds of the draft is a mixed bag. And that is not unusual [at all] for a general manager. No executive nails all of his/her later-round selections.

These are the 4th-round hits since Spielman joined the franchise in 2006. The pecking order of the following names is debatable and not necessarily a power ranking: Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, Ray Edwards, Jarius Wright, Ben Gedeon, and D.J. Wonnum.

There are the 5th-round success stories in the same timeframe: Stefon Diggs, Tyler Conklin, and possibly Harrison Hand (too early for judgment). Spielman’s triumphs – outside of Diggs – in the fifth-round are sparse. Thankfully for his sake, two of the remaining Diggs-trade assets are scheduled to be plucked from the fourth round.

The 4th and 5th Round Whiffs

Now for the due diligence. Spielman is not flawless. In these later rounds, many of his selections are insipid.

The notable 4th-round strikeouts include: Christian Ballard, Greg Childs, Gerald Hodges, T.J. Clemmings, Willie Beavers, and [probably] Dru Samia. This means that Spielman’s fourth-round selection efficacy is a toss-up. He might strike oil on either pick, both, or neither. That’s the nature of the draft.

In the 5th-round, the body count bloats: Greg Blue, Aundrae Allison, Letroy Guion, John David Booty, Nate Triplett, Chris DeGeare, Brandon Burton, Robert Blanton, David Yankey, Rodney Adams, and Daniel Carlson (although Carlson’s career outlook is interpretive). Spielman will have one stab at it in three months to avoid adding another 5th-round vanilla wafer to his resume.

Trades – and by the Way, Justin Jefferson

Those are the possibilities if Spielman stays in his spot(s) during the draft — a rarity for his itchy cellphone finger. He is notorious for moving and shaking on draft day and night, most recently to the tune of trading down for a bonanza of 6th and 7th-round picks. He will not be forecasted for this trend with his fourth-round capital in 2021, but it is anybody’s ballgame for the fifth-rounder.

Alternatively, Spielman might package a combination of these three picks to snoop around the 2nd round. The Vikings do not have a scheduled 2nd-round choice in the draft because it was shipped to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the ill-fated barter for Yannick Ngakoue just before the start of the 2020 regular season. About seven weeks after the Jaguars trade, Ngakoue then packed his bags for the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for a 3rd-round pick back to the Vikings.

Option A: Remain in line and select three rookies among the 4th and 5th rounds.
Option B: Trade up or back with the capital.

These are Spielman’s options. The insurance policy is always Jefferson, though. Should Spielman completely bungle all three draft picks, there are at least four more years of a young, prolific, and affordable Justin Jefferson to relish.