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On Rick Spielman, Trading Up, and "The Chart"

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Since becoming the General Manager of the Minnesota Vikings following the 2011 season, Rick Spielman has said on numerous occasions that he likes having ten selections to use during the course of a draft. In three of the four drafts since Spielman became the General Manager, the Vikings have, in fact, made ten selections. . .despite Spielman making trades to move back into the first round in three of those four drafts. The 2015 Draft was the first one under Spielman's reign where the team did wind up with multiple first round selections.

In 2012, 2013, and 2014, the Vikings gave up their second-round draft choice (and then some) to move back into the first round and select another player. What would it take for them to do so again this year? Well, in order to figure that out, we can consult the old "Draft Trade Value Chart" that has been floating around for years, ever since it was created by Jimmy Johnson back during his days with the Dallas Cowboys.

Assuming the Vikings keep their first selection at #23, their next selection comes at #54, a selection that has a value of 360 "points" on the trade chart. Given that the #31 selection, the final one of this year's first round, has a value of 600 points, the Vikings would have to give up quite a bit to make that happen. In fact, going strictly by the chart, the Vikings' second, third, and fourth-round selections would not be worth enough "points" to get to Denver's selection at #31. The 31st pick has a value of 600 "points," while the 54th, 86th, and 121st overall picks have a combined total of 572. Throwing in their fifth-round pick, #160, would raise that total to 599. That's a heck of a lot of ammunition to give up, and I'm not sure that Rick Spielman would be willing to do that.

Has Rick Spielman been following "The Chart" over the years? Well, let's take a look on the three deals that Spielman has made to get back into the first round in his Vikings tenure and find out.

2012: Vikings move into Round 1 at #29 to draft safety Harrison Smith, trading with the Baltimore Ravens

Vikings receive: 29th overall pick (640 points)
Ravens receive: 35th overall pick (550 points), 98th overall pick (108 points)
Tally: Ravens +18 (658 to 640)

2013: Vikings move into Round 1 at #29 overall to draft receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, trading with the New England Patriots

Vikings receive: 29th overall pick (640 points)
Patriots receive: 52nd overall pick (380 points), 83rd overall pick (175 points), 102nd overall pick (92 points), 229th overall pick (1.9 points)
Tally: Patriots +8.9 (648.9 to 640)

2014: Vikings move into Round 1 at #32 overall to draft quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, trading with the Seattle Seahawks

Vikings receive: 32nd overall pick (590 points)
Seahawks receive: 40th overall pick (500), 108th overall pick (78 points)
Tally: Vikings +12 (590 to 578)

While it may be popular to dismiss "The Chart" as not having a whole lot of value, it appears that when it comes to trading back into the first round of the draft, Rick Spielman is paying attention to it.

A trade-up in this year's draft would require something that more closely resembles the deal with the Patriots in 2013 than it would either of the other two deals, in all likelihood. Even with giving up all of those picks in the 2013 draft, the Vikings still managed to make nine selections. . .three first rounders (one of which came from Spielman fleecing the Seahawks in the Percy Harvin trade), a fourth-rounder, a fifth-rounder, a sixth-rounder, and three seventh-rounders. On the other hand, the 2013 Draft is the least successful draft the Vikings have had during Spielman's tenure as GM. Of the nine players the Vikings drafted that season, only four of them are still with the team: Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, Patterson, and punter Jeff Locke.

While the Vikings are definitely a more talented team now than they were when Spielman became the sold GM in 2012, I'd still have difficulty seeing the Vikings trading into multiple first-round picks in this year's draft and attempting to get into a "quality over quantity" sort of situation. Of course, if Rick Spielman has taught us anything over the past couple of seasons, it's that the only person that knows what Rick Spielman is going to do on draft night is Rick Spielman.