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Vikings make ESPN’s list of best 2022 NFL Draft trades

It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We’re already a week removed from the 2022 NFL Draft, but there are still plenty of stories being done about it, including one from ESPN that should be of some interest to fans of the Minnesota Vikings.

Seth Walder has compiled his list of what he feels were the five best trades made by teams in last weekend’s selection meeting, and the Vikings made the list. . .in a positive way. Walder says that the deal the Vikings made with the Green Bay Packers to trade down in the second round was a significant win for the Vikings. Contrary to what many of the complaints about the deal have brought up, Walder thinks it was a good deal for the Vikings because they made a deal with a division rival.

The numbers alone don’t quite do Minnesota justice here, because they traded with a division rival.

Conjuring the No. 90 pick in the draft (the equivalent pick of the surplus value acquired) is good. Taking the No. 90 pick from a divisional opponent in exchange for nothing is better.

Critics will say this is bad because Minnesota let the Packers fill a critical need with the selection of Christian Watson. This is faulty logic because that leaves out the context that Green Bay let Minnesota have two picks that were collectively worth more than what they used on Watson, plus the Packers might have traded up and gotten Watson from someone else anyway.

A willingness to deal with divisional opponents is a good trait for a team to have (though it can amplify an error, as it did for the Packers here).

Curiously, the deal that the Vikings made with the Detroit Lions that allowed Detroit to come up to #12 and got things off to a bit of a rocky start for the Vikings last weekend did not make the list. I’m still not a big fan of that trade, but at least it wasn’t (apparently) so egregiously bad for the Vikings that it got them on Walder’s list in a negative light.

Walder does point out at the beginning of his piece that he’s using pick charts based on absolute value rather than the Jimmy Johnson trade chart, which he says is “outdated.” There are several different charts that can be used to try to figure out which teams “win” trades on Draft Weekend (as much as a team can win a trade that involves players that have never set foot on the field in the NFL before), but by at least one standard, the Vikings pulled off one of the best trades of the 2022 NFL Draft a week ago.