Since becoming the General Manager of the Minnesota Vikings in 2012, Rick Spielman has earned the nickname “Trader Rick” for his draft weekend tendencies to move all over the board, whether those moves are upwards or downwards. When the 2021 NFL Draft got underway, it looked like we were in for more of the same, as the Vikings made a trade with the New York Jets to move down nine spots and acquire two more third-round selections.
Then, something unusual happened.
And by “something,” we mean “nothing.” Nothing happened.
The 2021 NFL Draft was the first of the Spielman era in which the team did not make multiple trades over the course of draft weekend. They made the initial trade to move down and select Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw, and after that the Vikings were content to just stand pat and make their other 10 selections as they came up. Obviously, it’s too soon to tell whether or not that was the prudent thing to do, but from what we’ve become accustomed to it certainly was different.
Based on these figures from the folks at Over the Cap, in the time that Rick Spielman has been General Manager of the Vikings the team has made 38 draft weekend trades (counting the one that he made on Thursday night). Of those 38 trades, only nine of them have been to move up the board while 29 of them were to move down and stockpile more picks.
The lack of trade activity also means that, for the first time in a long time, the Vikings aren’t already ahead of the curve in terms of picks for next year’s draft. By the time the 2020 Draft finished, the Vikings had already accumulated 12 picks for the 2021 selection meeting. This year? They have just their usual league allotment of seven for the 2022 NFL Draft.
I think we can probably still call our GM “Trader Rick” going forward, but the 2021 NFL Draft was certainly a departure from the norm for our favorite football team.