The Vikings enter the 2023 NFL Draft with just five picks- #23, #87, #119, #158, and #211 in the first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds. But like Rick Spielman before him, Vikings’ GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah isn’t afraid to make trades during the draft. He made the most of any GM last year and it would seem unlikely that he’ll sit on his hands this year once the draft is underway. Indeed, he and his staff have undoubtedly been on the phone working out details on potential trade scenarios with other teams, should the conditions arise where both teams are ready to execute the trade while on the clock.
Adofo-Mensah also is more likely to trade down, owing to his belief in the analytical advantages of doing so. And with more needs to fill than draft picks, and a weak draft at the top, it could be advantageous for the Vikings to trade down. Finding a willing trade partner will to offer fair compensation may be more difficult, however. But there are some teams a relative abundance of draft picks or fewer needs that may be willing to trade up for the right player.
So what could some of those trades involve? Let’s take a look at some possibilities that could work for both sides.
Adofo-Mensah’s first trade last year was a somewhat controversial one with the division-rival Lions, breaking an unofficial NFL rule not to trade within the division. The results are unclear at this point. If you approximate the Vikings haul from the trade as Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth Jr., and Ed Ingram- the Vikings made subsequent trades- the first two didn’t play much due to injury and Ingram was mediocre but promising as a starting right guard. The Lions, it’s fair to say, have been disappointed in Jameson Williams. His production after coming off an ACL last year amounted to one reception for 41 yards. And now he’s been suspended for the first six games of the 2023 season for gambling at an NFL facility.
The disappointment and suspension of Williams may have created a need for the Lions to address the wide receiver position sooner than anticipated, leading to another trade up with the Vikings. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, looking to add more picks, agrees to another trade down with the Lions, who enter the draft with nine draft picks.
Potential Trade Deal: Vikings give #23, get Lions’ picks #48 and #55.
According to the Jimmy Johnson trade chart, the Vikings would give 760 points and get 770 points in return.
Last year the Ravens thought they had a deal in place to acquire Za’Darius Smith only to have Smith backout of the deal in favor of another deal with the Vikings. The Ravens still have a need for Smith, perhaps even more so than last year, and finally acquire the edge rusher on a below market-value contract with two years remaining for a third-round draft pick.
Potential Trade Deal: Vikings give Za’Darius Smith, get Raven’s pick #86.
There’s no clear compensation model for Smith, but he was productive last season, and his contract is under market value as well. A third-round pick for an older, but productive player with two years left on an under-market value contract seems reasonable.
This deal assumes the Cardinals trade down with the Raiders from #3 to #7 (it’s widely anticipated the Cards will trade down with a QB-needy team), in exchange for Raiders’ picks #38 and #70, given the Cardinals a total of ten draft picks. The Cardinals then decide they’d rather trade those Raiders picks for another first-rounder and find a trade partner in Minnesota.
Potential Trade Deal: Vikings give #23, get picks #38 and #70.
This trade is comes out exactly even according to the Jimmy Johnson value chart, with each side getting 760 points.
Scott Fitterer, GM of the Carolina Panthers, giddy after drafting Bryce Young #1 overall, decides to go all-in for a defensive player to cap off Thursday night and his draft. He finds a trade partner in Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who gains an analytical-friendly four more picks.
Potential Trade Deal: Vikings give #23, get Carolina picks #39, #93, #114, #132, and #145.
According to the Jimmy Johnson trade value chart, the Vikings would get 777 points in exchange for 760 points in this deal.
Vikings Deal Local
The draft will take place in Kansas City this year, and the Vikings strike a deal with the hometown Chiefs, who decide to spend some of their ten draft picks to move up in the first round.
Potential Trade Deal: Vikings give #23, #87, get Chiefs picks #31, #63, #134; or
Vikings give #23, get Chiefs picks #31, #95, #134, #249.
Both of these possibilities represent an equal value trade according to the Jimmy Johnson value chart- 760 points for each side.
These are mainly trade down options with the Vikings first pick, but as Kwesi showed last year, there could be plenty of opportunities to trade up or down with later picks as well. But without a trade down initially with the Vikings’ first-round pick, which represents around 75% of the Vikings’ draft capital, there isn’t much to work with other than accumulating more late Day 3 picks.
It may be difficult to find a trading partner willing to trade up this year, or one willing to offer fair compensation, but a move down to accumulate some mid-round picks could allow the Vikings to address more positions of need without sacrificing too much in the quality of those draft picks, given that in some position groups (including cornerback) the drop-off in talent from a draft grade perspective isn’t as great from first-round to mid-round.
Which of the above trade possibilities is the most attractive?
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Vikings Deal Local
None of the Above