Vikings Position Themselves to Add More Draft Picks to Kwesi’s Coffer
Currently, there are nine draft picks. If nothing changes, the Vikings will welcome nine new players to their team via the 2024 NFL Draft.
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has been hard at work since taking over as the team’s GM in January of 2022. Basically anyone could see that the upcoming offseason was going to a tremendously impacful one in transitioning away from the Rick Spielman era. A major part of the strategy has involved letting a pile of players get to the end of their deals without working out an extension.
Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter demand most of the headlines, but they’re far from alone. K.J. Osborn, D.J. Wonnum, Troy Dye, Blake Brandel, and Greg Joseph are in this crew. And, to be sure, there are even plenty players brought in by the new regime — Marcus Davenport, Dalton Risner, Jordan Hicks, Joshua Dobbs, Johnny Mundt, Brandon Powell, and several others — who are staring down free agency.
Put it all together and the Vikings are working within an offseason when more picks could very plausibly get sent in their direction. Losing some of this notable talent could lead to a mini-haul of draft picks in 2025.
A Brief Word on Compensatory Selections
Truth be told, it’s hard to fully pin down the NFL’s machinations in their compensatory calculations. The basic gist, though, isn’t altogether difficult to comprehend (Over the Cap is among the foremost authorities for this sort of thing, so check out some of their stuff if you’re interested in digging deeper).
Essentially, the NFL — a league in constant search of competitive parity — seeks to offset a team losing loads of talent in free agency by kicking extra draft compensation in that team’s direction. Hence, compensatory picks.
Now, keep in mind that a team not re-signing their own top talent doesn’t mean they’re bound for comp picks. Bringing in an equal amount of talent as one loses (financially, at least) will mean that no compensatory selections are incoming.
An example will help.
If the Vikings saw Danielle Hunter sign elsewhere for 3 years and $75 million, then a compensatory pick would almost certainly be getting sent to Minnesota (one at the end of the 3rd in 2025), However, that pick could be cancelled if, for instance, Minnesota brought Brent Burns to town for 3 years and $75 million. In the world of NFL comp picks, the value lost and gained offsets, meaning there’s no need for draft capital to compensate a team.
In short, losing more talent in free agency than one brings in opens the potential for the NFL to send over a compensatory selections to help offset the talent loss. So, the Vikings allowing plenty of their players to sign elsewhere could lead to Kwesi adding more picks into his draft coffer.
Vikings Position Themselves to Amp Up Draft Capital
Part of the decision making process is Eagan is a calculation of compensatory picks. Projecting future picks isn’t the preeminent factor for whether a deal gets done, but the wise GM takes it into account when constructing deals.
Even in a world where Cousins and Hunter stick around, the Vikings could see some picks sent in their direction.
There’s very little chance K.J. Osborn secures a huge deal, but he may be able to get something within the range of $3-$5 million. If so, then that’s a payday that’s likely large enough to generate a compensatory selection (again, assuming there isn’t an offsetting instance of equal value being added).
Joshua Dobbs did some good things (alongside plenty of bad things). Teams regularly take leave of their senses during free agency by shipping out major millions to quarterbacks. Will Dobbs get something within the range of $5-$10 million? Don’t scoff: Mike White, Jarrett Stidham, Mitchell Trubisky, and Taylor Heinicke are all within this range in 2024 (among many others). Again, that’s a significant enough chunk of cash to get the gears turning in the world of compensatory picks.
And then one thinks of Dalton Risner, Marcus Davenport, D.J. Wonnum, Jordan Hicks, and Greg Joseph as players who could possibly command enough money to generate some sort of pick return in Minnesota.
Crucially, it’s important to remember that players who get cut don’t count toward the NFL’s formula. A Harrison Smith cut, for instance, doesn’t do anything to help Minnesota get extra draft picks since the team opted to subtract him rather than lose him as a free agent who was at the end of his deal.
Right now, the Vikings are sitting on an even seven selections in 2025 (a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th, and 7th). There’s no telling what kind of swaps Kwesi will pull off before the 2025 NFL Draft, but it’s safe to say that the details are going to change.
One thing to monitor is how Adofo-Mensah navigates free agency in March. His approach will point toward the team’s likelihood of adding more draft picks for the 2025 Draft.
Vikings Star Remains in Search of Elusive First Pro Bowl Selection
K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.