If there's one thing about Vikings GM Rick Spielman that most everyone seems to agree with, it's that he's not afraid to make a bold trade in an attempt to improve the team. Now, whether those trades actually helped the team or not, we tend to debate endlessly, but I'll give Spielman credit in that he's not afraid to make a splash, especially on draft day. The nickname 'Trader Rick' has been well earned in his time here, and the 2017 draft gives him another opportunity to further cement that nickname, if he wants to.
As we all recall, the Vikings traded their 2017 first round pick for Sam Bradford some eight days before the season opener, in the wake of Teddy Bridgewater's knee being blown up by ISIS. That trade will be discussed for a long time, but the fact remains that although the Vikings currently have no first round pick, they do have some extra picks available to them to make a move into the first round, if they so choose. And with the coin toss to finalize the draft order now complete, the Vikings picks are:
1st round: NOOOOOOPE
2nd round: 48 overall
3rd round: 79 overall, 86 overall (from Miami)
4th round: 121 overall, 129 overall (from Miami)
5th round: 159 overall
6th round: 198 overall
7th round: 233 overall
If the Vikings want to do a deal to get back in to the first round, they should be able to get something done, as they have the ammunition to do so. Two picks each in the third and fourth round gives them that flexibility, while still having at least one pick in those respective rounds.
But what would that kind of trade look like? Well...it depends on a couple things. Primarily, it depends on how far up the Vikings want to move. For arguments sake, let's assume they aren't looking to move into the top 15 because LOL way to mortgage the franchise, Rick. And without a first round pick to swap, it seems unlikely to happen, even in to the mid or late teens. Let's use last year as an example as to why that's too cost prohibitive.
For the Eagles to move up to draft Carson Wentz, they went from 13th to second, with a pit stop at 8. To move up to 8th overall, they needed to throw in their 13th overall pick, and two players (Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell). Then they made the move from 8 to 2, and that cost them their 8th overall pick, along with their third and fourth round picks last year, their 2017 first round pick, and a 2018 second round pick.
Without a first round pick to throw in to the mix, the Vikings would be looking at sacrificing almost their entire 2017 draft for what would essentially be one guy, or they would have to throw in multiple high picks in 2018 and 2019. I just don't see the kind of transformational in the draft that would make such a costly move worth it.
So to me, if the Vikings are going to move back into the first round, it's going to be at 20 or later, and with a fairly high pick in the second round, it's familiar territory for Spielman. Let's look at some recent draft history, and see if there's a deal out there to be done.
Vikings trade: 2013 2nd round pick (35 overall), 2013 4th round pick (98)
Ravens trade: 2013 1st round pick (29)
Spielman and the Vikings made two trades in the first round, both at the top and the bottom of the round. At the back end, the Vikings had the 35th pick overall (3rd pick in round 2), and used that pick along with their fourth round pick (98th overall), to trade with Baltimore and move up to 29 overall. They used that pick to draft S Harrison Smith, which has turned out to be a great pick for the team. So in this case, the Vikings basically gave the Ravens a two and a four for a one, but when you consider the gap between 29 and 35 compared to the gap they're looking at in this year's draft, it seems that Minnesota would have to give up more to move up what would be some 15'ish spots.
Vikings trade: 2013 2nd round pick (52 overall), 2013 3rd round pick (83), 2013 4th round pick (102), 2013 7th round pick (229)
Patriots trade: 2013 1st round pick (29 overall)
This is the trade that netted the Vikings Cordarrelle Patterson, and at face value seems like a hefty price. Yet, if you look at it, the only net loss they ended up having, at least in terms of not having any available picks in a round, was a third round pick. They swapped their second round pick for a first round pick, had to throw in a third rounder, but had an extra fourth and three extra seventh round picks to play with.
If the Vikings are going to make a move into the first round, this seems to be the closest in terms of where the Vikings currently sit in the draft (48 overall vs. 52 overall in 2013), and to where they would likely move to in the back of the first round, give or take a spot.
Vikings trade: 2014 2nd round pick (40), 2014 4th round pick (108)
Seahawks trade: 2014 1st round pick (32)
This was the surprise trade that allowed the Vikings to draft QB Teddy Bridgewater. Minnesota only had to move up eight spots, though, and to do that they had to give up a fourth round pick. It was the most cost effective first round trade the Vikings have made under the Spielman era, but I don't think a two and a four would get the Vikings all the way up to 30-32 in this year's draft, as they sit too far down in round two.
Hypothetical Trade Scenarios:
What does all this mean? It means that if the Vikings are going to move back in to the first round, it's going to cost them their second round pick, no question. Additionally, depending on how far they move up, it's probably going to cost a pick each in the third and possibly fourth round.
If we use the trade value chart as a broad outline, we get a little more clarity. One of the teams the Vikings have traded first round picks with on more than one occasion in recent years is Seattle, and they currently sit at 26, which has a value of 700 points. Since that's a nice round number, and I had a public school math education, let's use this pick.
If the Vikings want to move up to 26, it will cost them their second round pick (420 points) and their first pick in the third round, 79 overall (195 points). That's 615 points, still 85 points short. If you add the value of pick 121 in the 4th round (52 points), and pick 159 in the fifth round (27.4--whaaaaaat), you come up with a total point value of 694.4, essentially a wash. So a trade with the Seahawks could conceivably look like this:
Vikings trade: 2017 2nd round pick (48), 2017 3rd round pick (79), 2017 4th round pick (121), 2017 5th round pick (159)
Seahawks trade: 2017 1st round pick (26)
At face value, it seems like the Vikings are giving up a lot. And yeah, they are, but they still have picks in the third and fourth round, so they'll still have a full draft class. Depending on the player and the position that guy plays, I could be on board with a trade that looks like this. I wasn't all that upset with the trade that netted Cordarrelle Patterson, but then again I'm not as big a proponent of holding on to draft picks at all cost, either. But I do understand why a lot of people would balk at this.
So let's go back a little bit farther in the first round, and see if we can determine the fewest amount of picks Minnesota would have to give up. We'll avoid spot 29, because that's Green Bay, and I don't see division rivals making a first round trade (cough yes I know the Vikings did with Detroit in 2010 but it was as stupid trade and let's not do that again Rick cough).
NFC Champion Atlanta is sitting at pick 31, and that has a value of 600 points. Pick 48 is 420, so there's only a 180 point deficit to make up. The Vikings first pick in the third round, 79 overall, has a value of 195 points, putting the Vikes 15 points over trade value wise, so it's a bit of overkill. Their second pick in the third round has them coming up 20 points short, so they might need to add a late round pick, like their 6th rounder, which adds 11.8 points, making it a single digit value gap. Taking those two options, we're looking at something like this:
Vikings trade: 2017 2nd round pick (48), 2017 3rd round pick (79)
Falcons trade: 2017 first round pick (31)
Vikings trade: 2017 2nd round pick (48), 2017 3rd round pick (86), 2017 6th round pick (198)
Falcons trade: 2017 first round pick (31)
This seems a lot more palatable to me, and it still puts the Vikings in a prime spot to grab one of the top rated offensive linemen, while still giving them a third round pick and both fourth rounders. We still have free agency to go through, and a lot of the team needs could be met there, which could very well preclude a perceived need to trade, so we'll see what happens.