Hat tip to the fine folks over at The Viking Age for noticing this first, but I hadn't seen this article over at NFL.com. In it author Daniel Jeremiah speculates that the Vikings are looking to move up in the draft. He makes a good point. Well, a couple of points, actually. Here, I'll just let him lay out his case:
All signs point toward the St. Louis Rams selecting a receiver with one of their two first-round selections (Nos. 16 and 22). The Vikings also have two first-round selections (Nos. 23 and 25), but they will have to wait in line behind St. Louis. I could see the Vikings seeking to move just ahead of the Rams to secure their top pass-catching target in the draft.
Jeremiah's theory relies on the supposition that the Vikings are, indeed, targeting wide receiver in the first round. That's a reasonable assumption, even though the trade of Percy Harvin was alleviated by the free agent signing of Greg Jennings. It's still a position of need, and Jeremiah is correct when he says the Rams are targeting a wide receiver as well. Their two leading receivers from last year, Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson, were free agents and have signed with other teams.
So if the Vikings are interested in trading to get the receiver they want before the Rams do, they'll need to look at trading partners from spot 15 and up, as the Rams are picking at 16 and 22. And let's keep in mind the philosophy the Vikings use when they do look for trade partners. I was able to ask him about it last year during the draft (yeah, I'm name dropping. Deal with it), and he said:
"We use the trade value chart more as a guide, because we also like to take team history into consideration."
In other words, they'll look at how a team has traded in the past, and use that when determining a trade as much as they use the trade value chart, which I found interesting. And yeah, the rookie wage scale has really made it much easier to make trades with top 5 picks.
So, the trade value chart does come in to play, but only to an extent. Maybe a framework, if you will, and then they go from there. But the Vikings also take the recent trading history of other teams into play, and when you add that into the mix, it would seemingly narrow the choices of teams the Vikings might have as a trade partner.
In the most recent drafts, the Vikings have been trade partners with Detroit, Tennessee, Cleveland, with the Browns being trade partners for the Vikings in both 2011 and again last year. All three select before St. Louis, with Detroit going 5th, Cleveland 6th, and Tennessee 10th. With the value of the picks 5 (1,700 points) and 6 (1,600) substantially more than the #10 pick (1,300), Tennessee would seem to be the most likely of the three the Vikings would want to initially make a deal with.
Now, let's take another look at the Vikings draft picks, and add the according value from the draft trade value chart:
Round 1: 23 overall--760 points, 25 overall--720 points
Round 2: 52 overall--380 points
Round 3: 83 overall--175 points
Round 4: 102 overall--92 points, 120 overall--54 points
Round 5: 155 overall--29.4 points
Round 6: 189 overall--15.8 points
Round 7: 213 overall--6.2 points, picks 229 and 231 have no point value according to the chart.
So based on recent trade history and where they sit in the draft, the Titans seem like plausible trade partners. What would it take for the Vikings to move up, though? Obviously, trading both first round picks to Tennessee for their first round pick would do it, but Tennessee would have to throw in another middle round pick to even it out.
I don't see the Vikings doing that, and I would be mad if they did, as would most Vikings fans, I would think.
For the point values to match, short of trading both first rounders to get the number 10 pick, the Vikings would need to trade 23, plus their second and third round picks.
I don't see the Vikings doing that. Rick Spielman seems to value draft picks too much to give up that much, and the Vikings have a real opportunity to shore up some roster deficiencies.
Now, they could look to move future draft picks to move up, but that isn't something the Vikings historically do, either. What they have done is make trades that put the Vikings at a position of advantage, like the trade with Cleveland last year. Granted, the trade value chart is just a guide, as Spielman said, but the point remains that the farther up the draft a team wants to move, the steeper the price will be.
With 11 picks this year and a penchant for trading, I'm sure the Vikings will be active again, much like they have been in recent years. Let's just hope they continue the trend of solid trades that don't cost them too much for one player.