After a crazy first round that saw a couple of clear winners (Browns, 49ers), a really bad trade (Bears), and a run on quarterbacks, the Vikings still managed to have a good first round, even without having a pick. Let's take a quick lap around the NFC North and recap what happened.
The Bears, selecting third overall, made a huge trade with San Francisco, (67 and 111 overall this year, plus a third rounder next year) to grab QB Mitch Trubisky. By selecting Trubisky, they didn't draft Solomon Thomas, who I think is going to be a really good defensive end. And he'll be a really good defensive end that won't be facing the Vikings twice a year.
Detroit, picking 21st, took a linebacker, but it wasn't Reuben Foster, who was considered by a lot of experts the best LB in the draft. Instead, they picked Jarrad Davis, which was a bit of a head scratcher.
The Packers, picking 29th, traded out of the first round completely. They traded the Browns 29 overall for Cleveland's second round pick, 33 overall, and a fourth round pick. So the Packers will be first up to open the second round tomorrow night.
Overall, what does this mean for the Vikings? Well, the first round played out about as well as can be expected if you're Minnesota. They have needs at offensive line, defensive line, and running back, and they're assured to have a solid player available when they finally come on the clock.
If you're looking at offensive line, the one name that jumps out is Forrest Lamp. After Green Bay at 33, Seattle is sitting at 34, and they are hurting for offensive linemen as well. But they could also be looking at OT Cam Robinson, while Pat Elflein, Dion Dawkins, and Dan Feeney are all interior linemen that are still available. I don't know that Lamp lasts all the way to 48, but one of those guys should be there. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport also tweeted this shortly after the first round ended:
Teams are already interested in pick No. 33, currently owned by the #Packers. Plenty of talent some thought was in the first round available— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 28, 2017
On TV, he added that the teams looking to move up are looking to get one of the available quarterbacks, probably DeShone Kizer. If that's true, that helps the Vikings even more.
But let's look at defensive line. The three best defensive tackles in the draft, Caleb Brantley, Chris Wormley, and Malik McDowell, are still on the board. Any one of them would be a good pick for the Vikings if, all of a sudden, offensive linemen started going fast and the Vikings couldn't pull off a trade.
The other main position is running back, and there is talent there, as well. Only two running backs went off the board in the first round, Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey. That means Joe Mixon, who the Vikings are reportedly high on, and Dalvin Cook, who a lot of folks thought was the best running back in the draft, are still on the board. But there are some good backs that should still be around in the third round, so it might be a bit of a lesser priority than the other two positions tomorrow night.
At safety, Budda Baker might be the best remaining player overall left, depending on your point of view, and he could also be in play for the Vikings. The safety the Vikings seemed very high on in pre-draft chatter was Jabrill Peppers, but he went late in the first round to the Browns, after they traded back with the Texans to the 25th pick.
Finally, let's close the book on the Sam Bradford trade by reviewing the three trades made for round one quarterbacks. Minnesota coughed up a first and a fourth round pick for Bradford, who had a good season last year. Philadelphia ended up using that pick on DE Derek Barnett from Tennessee, so the trade was pretty much Bradford for Barnett. That's win for the Vikings. And when you consider the draft capital spent in the first round on unproven QB's with a lot of questions, this looks, in retrospect, like a very good trade in context.
Consider what happened in the first round tonight:
The Bears moved up one spot in a trade with the 49ers, from 3 to 2. To move up one spot to draft Trubisky, they gave up their third overall, two third round picks (2017, 2018) and a 2017 fourth round pick. Next up, the Chiefs. They moved up from 27 to 10 in a trade with Buffalo. To do that, they gave up 27 overall, their 2017 third round pick, and their first round pick next year to get Patrick Mahomes II. Finally, the Texans made a move to get DeShaun Watson, and to do that they moved up from 25 to 12. To make that happen, they gave up the 25th pick and their first round pick next year.
All three of those moves were steeper prices paid than what the Vikings gave up for Bradford, with a lot more unknown return on that investment. So if you ask me today, tomorrow, or 10 years from now whether or not the Vikings made the right call in trading for Bradford, my answer today, tomorrow, and 20 years from now will be yes.