Over the three days of the 2020 NFL Draft, Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman made four trades, all of which either saw the Vikings move down the board or trade out of the draft entirely for picks in 2021. According to one well-placed source, however, Trader Rick did make at least one attempt to move up the board in Thursday’s first round, only to be rebuffed.
NBC Sports reporter Peter King was “embedded” with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on draft weekend, which is to say that he was on the Buccaneers’ encrypted channel on Microsoft Teams that they were using for discussions. (That’s my interpretation of it, anyway.) He got an opportunity to watch Bucs’ GM Jason Licht go through much of the draft process, and threw in this little tidbit from Thursday’s first round.
9:29. Voice on Cisco: “Minnesota  just called.” Licht, suddenly: “Too far back. No.
So, it sounds like the Vikings did have a player in mind that they wanted to jump up and grab at #14, which is where Tampa was sitting in the first round. Tampa wound up making a swap with the San Francisco 49ers to move from #14 to #13 and select Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. San Francisco then took South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.
That trade saw the Niners send #13 and #245 overall to Tampa in exchange for #14 and #117. The Vikings actually got #117 later in the draft in their trade with the Niners that ultimately led to the Vikings selecting Jeff Gladney.
Now, obviously, we have no idea who the player the Vikings wanted to go up and get at #14, and we likely never will. The Vikings wound up staying where they were and selecting Justin Jefferson at #22. If the Vikings were looking at wide receivers early, only one had gone off the board before pick #14, that being Henry Ruggs III going to the Las Vegas Raiders at #12.
For the record, I think the selection of Jefferson is going to work out just fine for our favorite team.
Was Rick Spielman trying to get up the board to draft another receiver in this year’s first round? Much like the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.