Not So Fast on the Vikings’ Big Mistake

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Earlier this week, reported that Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah probably blundered in handling the 2025 compensatory draft pick process.

Not So Fast on the Vikings’ Big Mistake

But a verdict may have been rendered too soon.

qb prospects
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling pumped the brakes on the theory that signing free-agent cornerback Shaquill Griffin canceled the possibility of a second compensatory pick next year. This offseason, 16 players from the 2023 roster signed with new teams, and mainly because of Kirk Cousins to the Atlanta Falcons and Danielle Hunter to the Houston Texans, Minnesota should’ve been the driver’s seat for two 3rd-Round selections as compensation next April.

Goessling told KFAN, “I was told yesterday that Shaq Griffin did not cost them. I mean, this idea that Shaq Griffin directly cost them a third-round pick, I was told this is not true. I don’t think it’s quite that simple. I don’t know that they’re going to end up with two of them at this point, but I was told by people in the know that this is not the case.”

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports.

The NFL’s compensatory pick process is notoriously complicated and can be reasonably called an inexact science, at least forecasting it one year in advance.

Per OTC, as it stands, Adofo-Mensah will have the very first compensatory pick of the cycle, but then that’s it. Nick Korte of OTC explained on Monday, “Since the norm in recent years is to have more than 32 eligible regular compensatory picks, this means that teams were more willing than usual to cancel out comp picks in exchange for gaining talent now via unrestricted free agency. The starkest example of this comes from Minnesota. The Vikings were expected to possibly see two players, Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter, leave the team for top tier deals elsewhere, and that is what happened.”

Danielle Hunter
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s worth noting that OTC is usually accurate regarding the compensatory process.

“The Vikings also lost several other CFAs, but were also aggressive in signing CFAs of their own to offset some of those departures. Nonetheless, they had at least balanced this to where the 3rd rounders for both Cousins and Hunter leaving were on the board … until they signed Shaquill Griffin to a one year, $4.55 million contract, leaving the Vikings with a net loss of only 1 CFA, giving the formula no choice but to cancel out Hunter’s contract with Griffin’s,” Korte continued.

Many Vikings fans lamented Adofo-Mensah’s would-be error, as the franchise will need all the draft capital it can get in 2025 following an expensive trade two weeks ago for the pick that netted rookie pass rusher Dallas Turner.

kirk cousins
March 13, 2024. Newly signed Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Kirk Cousins sits down with Falcons Digital Producer Taylor Vismor to discuss his signing with the Falcons. Kirk talks about the exciting playmaking roster he is joining and what a move to Atlanta means to him and his family.

Korte concluded, “Now, it’s fine for a team to conclude that signing a player now is better than getting a comp pick later, but adding to the intrigue are multiple reports that say the Vikings expect multiple comp picks to offset the trade-ups they made in the draft. Like all humans, I am fallible, and it’s possible that I missed an additional CFA that departed. (If you think I did, let me know!) Another possibility is that the Vikings, like many, expected Dalton Risner to sign a contract before the draft–but unbelievably, this is the second straight season he has failed to do so.”

On the whole, it would make more sense that Adofo-Mensah was diligent and knew what he was doing the whole time. It’s just that Korte’s analysis directly contradicted that assumption.

The resolution? The NFL will have the final word, and that may not necessarily be timely.

If Korte is correct, Minnesota would have four picks in 2025: a 1st-Rounder, a 3rd-Rounder (compensatory), a 5th-Rounder, and a 5th-Rounder (from the Za’Darius Smith trade in 2023). Goessling’s sourcing would up the total to five picks — an extra 3rd.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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