The Minnesota Vikings made a pretty solid move on the first night of the 2021 NFL Draft, trading back nine spots and getting two third-round picks from the New York Jets while still getting a player they coveted in Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. On the surface, everything went the way the Vikings wanted it to.
Behind the scenes, however, there were apparently some serious doubts.
Chad Graff of The Athletic is reporting that after making that trade down, the Vikings made attempts to trade back up because they thought they were going to miss out on the players they liked that were available when their original pick came up at #14.
According to Graff, the Vikings had four players that they liked at #14: Darrisaw, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Jaelan Phillips, and Kwity Paye. (Not coincidentally, those were the players that made up 83% of the selections in our final Mock Draft Database from yesterday. . .maybe people know what they’re talking about after all.) So they made the deal with the Jets to move down.
However, three of those players then went off the board, as Vera-Tucker went at 14, Phillips at 18, and Paye at 21. Spielman was trying to trade up but could not find anyone to make a trade with to ensure he got one of “his guys.” However, Darrisaw managed to find his way to the Vikings.
Graff also seems to confirm that had Darrisaw gone before the Vikings got back onto the clock, their backup plan was Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins. Jenkins is still on the board as we enter Day 2 of the Draft.
The Vikings also, reportedly, attempted to trade up in the hopes of acquiring either Penei Sewell or Rashawn Slater, but could not find a dance partner to make a deal with for either of those players. Sewell went to the Detroit Lions at #7 while Slater ended up with the Los Angeles Chargers at #13.
So, the Vikings were making efforts to move up on Thursday night, both before and after they made their trade down with the Jets. With seven picks spread out between the third and fourth rounds, I would expect to see the purple trade up at least once on Friday.