Going in to day two of the draft, the Minnesota Vikings needed to address several areas. On offense, they needed a running back to replace Latavius Murray and complement Dalvin Cook, a tight end of the future, and they could still use another lineman. The defense was more set, but depth on the line, at linebacker, and cornerback were areas that could have been taken care of.
After three picks and four trades, the Vikings got three really good football players.
In the second round, Minnesota selected TE Irv Smith from Alabama, a guy who might be the best catch-block combo tight end in the draft. In the third round, they took Boise St RB Alexander Mattison after several trades down to the bottom of the round. Mattison looks like a guy that can step right in to the Murray role, and he is a ball of hate when he’s toting the rock.
When you add in first round pick Garrett Bradbury, a guy you can pencil in to start on the o-line today, Minnesota has three guys that will contribute significantly right away, and that’s a good thing. It’s also the first time in the Mike ZImmer era that the Vikings have gone offense with their first three picks,
I really like all three players, just so that’s on the record. My only quibble, at least last night, was the amount of trading GM Rick Spielman did do get to where the Vikings sit this morning. The Vikes stayed put in the second round when they drafted Smith (pick 50 overall), but the third round was a wild one. They started out at pick 81, which they traded to Detroit. Did anyone else get 2010 Chris Cook flashbacks when that happened, or was that just me? Just me? Okay, then.
After the Lions trade, the Vikes moved down again, to 92, in a trade with Seattle, and I thought they were done. That trade netted them a fifth rounder, which they didn’t have going into the draft, and if my math is right that gave Spielman his magical ten picks. But no, there were two more trades coming! First there was a move one spot down to 93, and they finally ended up with the last pick of the third round, 102.
As the Vikings enter the last four rounds today, they have a whopping nine picks—one each in the fourth and fifth rounds, four in the sixth round, and three in the seventh. We can debate and argue as to whether or not Minnesota should have stayed at 81 and picked someone, or even at 92 or 93, and those conversations are already raging. I mean look, the chances of finding a good player is a lot better the earlier you pick, because duh, but consider this information from our old friend Arif Hasan:
Which is to say the Vikings used an obsolete chart to get return by an updated chart— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) April 27, 2019
Quick back-of-the-napkin math -- the four net picks for rds 5-7 gives you a 10-20% chance or so of landing a starter, which is pretty good for moving down 20 picks, where your odds of finding a starter drops 5-10%— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) April 27, 2019
So by some more advanced metrics, the Vikings came out ahead on these trades and have an opportunity to find a couple of really good diamonds in the rough. If you have faith in the scouting department that found Everson Griffen (fourth round), Jarius Wright (fourth), Shamar Stephen (seventh), Stefon Diggs (fifth), and Jayron Kearse (seventh), the chances of the Vikings hitting on one or two of these picks seems decent.
However, if you’re of the mind that these are the same guys that drafted T.J. Clemmings, Willie Beavers, MoBo, and the other litany of late round picks that never worked out, you’re probably irritated as Hell right now, and I understand the frustration. But consider this: The Vikings have a ton of draft capital today to either move up in the fourth round, up in the fifth round, up in the fourth AND fifth round, or maybe swing a deal and get an extra 4 or 5.
And there are a TON of good players still available.
For me, the bottom line is that the Vikings got a lot better on paper the last two days on offense, and they have enough picks left to move up and target players they want, which Rick Spielman has a history of doing.
Let’s see how today pans out.