Where Did the Vikings Draft Picks Come From?

Vikings Draft Clues from Free Agency
NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is three days away, and the Minnesota Vikings have eight picks inside the event.

And the path to those picks is not straightforward, thanks to Rick Spielman’s wheeling and dealing in recent years. Spielman was fired on January 10th, paving the way for Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to take over as general manager, who later hired Kevin O’Connell from the Los Angeles Rams as head coach.

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Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell

Together, Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell will transform the Vikings into an offense-first organization or, at the very least, a more balanced one. For eight years with former head coach Mike Zimmer in the saddle, the Vikings preached defense, defense, and more defense.

These are the origins of the Vikings eight draft picks:

Organic Picks

The Vikings finished 8-9 in 2021, an underwhelming record that ultimately caused the aforementioned terminations of Spielman and Zimmer. Because of the mediocre record, Minnesota drew 12th in the draft order.

These are the organic picks, not affected or muddied by trade:

1st Round: No. 12

2nd Round: No. 46 

3rd Round: No. 77 

6th Round: No. 192

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Strangely, that is it for organic picks — just four in a seven-round draft. These are picks acquired via trade.

Picks from Trades

Spielman pounded the pavement for trades — a lot. Some were successful; some were weird.

5th Round: No. 156

From Baltimore

Remember the second Yannick Ngakoue trade? This is the final piece of the puzzle. After Spielman spent a 2021 2nd-Rounder on the pass rusher — a terrible trade in retrospect — he flipped the man to the Baltimore Ravens weeks later. Minnesota received a 3rd-Rounder last year (used to draft Patrick Jones II) and this pick.

6th Round: No. 184

From New York Jets

Chris Herndon was acquired by the Vikings when Irv Smith Jr. got hurt late last summer. The Jets stole the Vikings 4th-Round pick in this week’s draft. Herndon was used sparingly in the Vikings 2021 offense, so the deal was silly. But — this 6th-Rounder is the Vikings last chance to “win the trade.”

6th Round: No. 191

From Kansas City

Mike Hughes and a 2022 7th-Rounder were shipped to the Chiefs last May, and this is the payout. The Chiefs received some decent production from Hughes in the regular season and a gaffe or two in the postseason. Hughes now plays for the Detroit Lions, and the Vikings will choose the 191st player in the draft to replace him.

7th Round: No. 250

From Denver

You’ll recall when the Vikings “gave away” Stephen Weatherly to the Broncos before Danielle Hunter was injured last October. Yes, Spielman traded a decent pass rusher eight days before Hunter was lost for the season. Weather signed with the Cleveland Browns this offseason, and Minnesota has a 7th-Round pick to show for the too-soon trade.

Note: The Vikings don’t have an organic 5th-Round pick because that was sent to Jacksonville in the Yannick Ngakoue trade, Volume One.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).