As things stand at the present time, the Minnesota Vikings only have five picks going into the 2018 NFL Draft. Their fourth round pick is currently owned by the Miami Dolphins, while their seventh round pick will go to the Seattle Seahawks in the trade that brought cornerback Tramaine Brock to Minnesota.
However, according to a pretty reliable source for these sorts of things, the Vikings will be back up to their regular number of picks, thanks to the NFL’s Compensatory Draft Pick system.
According to the good folks from Over the Cap, the Vikings are projected to receive two extra selections from the Compensatory process. Their projections have both of those picks being slotted at the end of Round 6 of this year’s draft. Those picks will be compensation for the losses of wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and running back Adrian Peterson. (You can read more about OTC’s methods for projecting these picks at this link.)
The Compensatory Pick formula is not one that has even actually been released for public consumption. According to the press release that the NFL put out announcing the picks last year, “Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula..“
The losses that teams experience in free agency can be cancelled out by players they’ve signed when it comes to the assignment of Compensatory picks. According to OTC’s “Cancellation Chart,” the Vikings’ losses of Matt Kalil, Rhett Ellison, Captain Munnerlyn, and Andre Smith were cancelled out by the signings of Riley Reiff, Mike Remmers, Latavius Murray, and Case Keenum.
Since the league started giving out Compensatory Picks in 1994, the Vikings have received just 17 selections. Only five teams in the NFL have received fewer, and one of them is the Houston Texans, who did not exist until 2002. By contrast, the Baltimore Ravens have received the most by far, having been awarded 48 picks through the Compensatory process.
Last year, the league announced the Compensatory picks in late February, prior to the start of the new league year. I would expect a similar timeline this year as well.