Rick Spielman Wants Vikings to Trade His Draft Pick

Rick Spielman
Rick Spielman

Former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was part of the organization for over a decade. His gig as vice president of player personnel started in 2006. In 2012, he was promoted to general manager. However, before his promotion, Spielman was part of the ‘triangle of authority’ and shared the decision-making power with head coach Brad Childress and owner Zygi Wilf.

Spielman oversaw many drafts and blessed the Vikings with many talented players. His best draft was arguably in 2015 when he selected, among others, Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, and Stefon Diggs. Justin Jefferson’s draft pick in 2020 brought Vikings fans a lot of joy. Like all GMs, he had his share of draft busts. In 2016, Laquon Treadwell was drafted, and the pick turned out to be a nightmare.

Nov 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

In 2019, the general manager selected Garrett Bradbury with the first pick. If a GM picks a center with the 18th overall pick, he has to be a great center for the organization for the next decade. No other player at that position was drafted higher than Bradbury in the last 20 years. He has been a disappointment so far.

With the second pick in that draft, Spielman picked tight end Irv Smith Jr. He started as a backup for Kyle Rudolph. Once he was supposed to take over the starting job, he got hurt and missed the entire 2021 season with a knee injury. The jury is still out, but he didn’t live up to the expectations to this point.

The third pick was Alexander Mattison. The Boise State running back immediately took the backup RB role. Every time starter Dalvin Cook gets hurt, Mattison takes over as the lead back. He had some successful games. While he might not have done enough to justify a third-round pick, he has always been a solid backup and rotational player. He recorded 1,387 yards and six touchdowns in three seasons.

Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; San Francisco 49ers cornerback Deommodore Lenoir (38) tackles Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Now, the GM who drafted Mattison envisions a trade, including his former draft pick. Spielman has multiple jobs in the media, including as a writer for The33rdTeam.com.

The former Vikings GM came up with a couple of trade ideas, one of which was that the Broncos should trade for a receiver after Tim Patrick’s injury. He recently tore his ACL in practice.

The second one was the idea that the Eagles should trade for a running back. His target was Alexander Mattison. The Vikings’ back is no longer the unquestioned backup, as Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chandler are looking like dangerous threats in the offense.

Rick Spielman wrote about his trade suggestion, “One potential option might be Alexander Mattison if Minnesota is willing to move him. The Eagles need a big, physical back to team up with Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott. Miles Sanders is currently dealing with a hamstring injury and has had durability problems for the past two years. Mattison is in the final year of his contract, and Minnesota has two young backs in Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chandler to add depth behind Dalvin Cook.”

It’s likely that the Vikings are willing to trade Mattison, as the other backups have turned heads in the last weeks. Both Nwangwu and Chandler run a 4.3-second 40-yard dash and, therefore, are great big-play threats. They have also shown the ability to catch passes which is very important for a running back.

Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) celebrates with Minnesota Vikings guard Ed Ingram (67) after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings also have C.J. Ham on the roster. The fullback has been a part of the Vikings since 2016. He is a big part of the locker room and a team captain. Ham is a valuable player on offense, as he is a highly versatile player. He can block just as much as catch and run the ball.

If all of the players are good, why would the Vikings even want to trade one? The answer is easy — teams usually don’t carry five running backs on the active roster. Kene Nwangwu is in his second year, and Chandler is in his first. It wouldn’t make sense to cut or trade one of them, as they are under contract for a long time.

Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (25) celebrates his touchdown with center Garrett Bradbury (L) and quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Mattison, meanwhile, is in his last season with the Vikings and will probably leave in free agency next season. If the Vikings can get something for Mattison and believe that Chandler and Nwangwu can be solid backups, they should trade him. The biggest question is, however, how much a team gives up for a backup running back.

The last big trade Rick Spielman facilitated included Stefon Diggs. The wide receiver wanted out, and the Bills were willing to give up a first-rounder. Fortunately for the Vikings franchise, Spielman used that pick to bring in Justin Jefferson, who subsequently became the face of the franchise.


Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt


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