Vikings Must Avoid Common Draft Mistake

Vikings Must Avoid Common Draft Mistake
NFL Draft

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is an unpredictable man, not because of a flippant personality but due to lack of track record.

A first-year general manager, Adofo-Mensah embarks on his inaugural draft in the driver’s seat on April 28th. On draft night — which is two weeks away — he’ll entertain train offers, make draft picks, and pick up the phone to notify players of their selection by the Vikings.

What he must avoid, though, is the temptation to trade up in the draft, particularly for any player sans a QB next to his name. In the modern NFL — a term holding undefined parameters — a non-quarterback is not worth multiple draft assets via trade. It’s cut and dried.

Of course, the best player in the draft might be Ahmad Garnder. According to him, he’s the greatest inside this crop of players.

Even if that’s true, Garnder — or anybody else — is not worth Adofo-Mensah’s draft-stock piggybank. Non-quarterbacks simply don’t change the game enough to demand multiple trade assets.

Their talent could be worthy, yet no other player physically touches the football on every offensive possession like a QB1. And because of the discrepancy in touches, teams are best served to steer clear of trading up for cornerbacks or offensive linemen, for example.

This isn’t a whimsical VikingsTerritory theory. History is peppered with examples of draft trades for non-QBs. And they’re terrifying.

In 2012, the Cleveland Browns traded a boatload to the — you guessed it — Vikings for running back Trent Richardson. Unfortunately for the Vikings, they basically squandered the haul.

Trent Richardson

The following year, the Miami Dolphins traded multiple picks for EDGE rusher Dion Jordan. Mistake.

One probably doesn’t need a lecture on the Ricky Williams trade from 1999. Good God.

And in 2014, the Buffalo Bills traded their version of “the farm” for Sammy Watkins. The wide receiver was dynamic and promising for two seasons — and that was it.

While exploring a trade down for additional assets is often smart and intriguing for Adofo-Mensah, wheeling and dealing upward for Ahmad Garder, Derek Stingley Jr., or anybody else is not advisable. History is unkind to the tendency.

Final thought: in theory, if Adofo-Mensah were absolutely enamored with, for instance, Malik Willis — that would be a conversation to have. There is precedent for trading up in a draft, seeking to land a franchise quarterback.

But the Vikings, with Kirk Cousins in the saddle for two more seasons, are unlikely to do that either.


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).

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