When the NFL Draft opened, most fans of the Minnesota Vikings really didn’t know what to expect.. Because of the Sam Bradford trade, Minnesota had no first round pick. Not only that, they had to wait until midway through the second round to make their initial pick.
But GM Rick Spielman had a plan to address needs, namely offensive line and the heir apparent to Adrian Peterson. As the second and third rounds unfolded, it felt like the Vikings might be too far down to get impact players, so Spielman made two aggressive moves in each round to get RB Dalvin Cook and C Pat Elflein. Cook cost a 4th round pick, and Elflein cost a 5th round pick, but Minnesota ended up with two really good players that will help the Vikings offense immediately. As the Vikings second third round pick came up, Spielman traded down and recouped a 4th round pick and a 7th round pick. He eventually traded out of the third round completely, giving the Vikings a total of three 4th round picks, no 5th rounders, 1 6th, and three 7th round picks.
After a season where the Vikings were knocked to their knees (no pun intended) with the Teddy Bridgewater injury, it was, for one night, a whole lot of winning. Wasn’t it, Mr Santana?
One day I was on the ground
When I needed a hand
And it couldn’t be found
I was so far down
That I couldn’t get up
You know and
One day I was one of life’s losers
Even my friends were my ac-cus-ers
And in my head
Lost before I’d begun
I had a dream
But it turned to dust
What I thought was love
That must have been lust
I was living in style
When the walls fell in
When I played my hand
I looked like a joker
Fate must have woke her
‘Cause lady luck she was
Waiting outside the door
And I don’t intend on losing again
Too bad it belonged to me
It was the wrong time
And not meant to be
It took a long time
And I knew for now
I can see the day
That I breath for
Friends agree there’s a need
To play the game
And to win again
Your Draft SMR follows.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Dalvin Cook, RB: This would have been a good pick in the first round; in the second round it became exceptional. Cook is widely considered one of the top two or three RB’s in this draft, and gives the Vikings an heir apparent to Adrian Peterson, and he is an electrifying runner that gives the Vikings a desperately needed playmaker. Cook will be teamed with Jerick McKinion and Latavius Murray, and it gives the Vikings the strongest RB group, top to bottom, since 2009, maybe?
Pat Elflein, C: As the second round was coming to a close, it looked like the Vikings would have several offensive linemen on the board when they went on the clock, but all of a sudden Dion Dawkins and Taylor Moton were drafted to close out that round. With offensive line the priority in a weak class with most of the top prospects gone, it became apparent that the Vikings would have to move up if they wanted a day one starter. So they did, nine spots at the cost of a fifth round pick, and Elflein will come in right away and compete for a starting job. He’ll either be penciled in at right guard, or at center with Joe Berger kicking back out to right guard. And he’s a guy that you can pencil in at that spot for a decade.
Rick Spielman, GM: It was a heck of a first night for the Vikings, but his work isn’t done. After all the wheeling and dealing, the Vikings went from these picks at the beginning of the night:
To these picks after the four trades and the Cook/Elflein picks:
109: 2nd pick 4th round
— Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye) April 29, 2017
That’s a net gain of one pick AFTER they drafted, arguably, the best running back and the best interior lineman in the draft. There is still a lot of talent on the board, and the Vikings will have three picks in the fourth round available to address more needs. They still need a linebacker, another offensive lineman, and maybe a wide receiver. The Vikings don’t need to draft Hall of Famers (although it would be nice, don’t get me wrong), but they simply can’t afford to have any more Willie Beavers or T.J. Clemmings picks, either. Rick Spielman has done a pretty good job at the front of the draft, for the most part, but has struggled late. That needs to change tomorrow, but so far, this draft has gone about as well as anyone could have expected.
As has become my tradition on the Draft SMR, I choose no one. We can complain about trades, we can discuss whether the Vikings should have picked player A over B or vice versa, but a bunch of young men just realized their dream of getting to play in the NFL over the last couple days. For early picks it’s life changing money, and if you want to rain on their parade, go for it. I’m not going to. Congratulations to all the new draft picks.
Buy: The Vikings needed to make a trade to get Dalvin Cook. If you think Dalvin Cook is the best running back, and he’s around in the second round, the chances of him making it to the Vikings pick weren’t very good. So to get Cook, the Vikes traded up, costing them their 4th round pick (128th overall). I thought it was a small price to pay to get what a lot of people think is a top 10 talent, and they got him in the second round.
Sell: The trade for Cook was a bad trade. With Forrest Lamp and Malik McDowell off the board early in the second round, running back became the most logical target. Curtis Samuel went off the board next, and with the Bengals on the board looking for a running back (they later picked Joe Mixon), moving up made sense, and with the move only costing a 4th round pick, it was a good move.
Buy: Offensive line was a bigger need than running back in the 2nd. Addressing the offensive line was the biggest priority for the Vikings entering the off-season, and although they got Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers in free agency, they still needed top shelf talent, and offensive line was priority number one.
Sell: The Vikings should have drafted an offensive lineman in the second round. Yet, as the first two rounds unfolded, the farther Dalvin Cook dropped, the more realistic an option he became, and then it became a no brainer. My thinking on this is that the Vikings could get Cook in the second and still get a starting caliber offensive lineman in the third round, but you weren’t going to get a running back anywhere near the talent level of Cook by then. So you pick Cook first, and then do what you have to do to get an offensive lineman in the third round. ANd that’s exactly what the Vikings did.
Buy: The Vikings had to make a trade to get Pat Elflein. Like Cook in the second round, a run started on offensive linemen at the end of the second round, and all of a sudden Pat Elflein was the only top shelf offensive line prospect left, and the Vikings weren’t picking until 79. So Spielman made another aggressive move up, nine spots, and grabbed Elflein before he would have most certainly been taken by San Diego, who ended up taking Dan Feeney.
Sell: The Vikings should not have traded out of the third round. After the Elflein selection, Spielman looked to recoup some picks, and he did just that. Sitting at 86, they pulled the trigger on a deal with Kansas City that dropped them down to 104 (third round compensatory pick) and an additional 7th round pick. As they were coming up on pick 104, they moved down yet again, this time out of the third round completely. They moved down five spots and garnered another 7th round pick. The accumulation of late round picks means either the Vikings can bring in a bunch of bodies for some training camp competition, or try to bundle some picks to get back into the fifth round. And when you look at the players selected while the Vikings were trading down, there’s not a player that jumps out at me that makes me go ‘DAMN IT’, other than maaaaaybe WR Amarah Darboh of Michigan.
And conversely, there are some really intriguing players still available. WR Chad Hanson, TE Jake Butt, G Dorian Johnson, LB’s Carl Lawson and Anthony Walker, Jr., CB Corn Elder, and S Desmond King are just some of the names that are out there that I really like, for example. The Vikings will have very good talent when to pick from when they go on the clock tomorrow.
Don Glover Quote Of The Week:
Sorry gang, my Dad isn’t one that hangs on the draft, and he was watching baseball when I called him.
‘Just tell me who we got when the draft is over and if they’re any good.’
Okay, Dad. Will do.