For the last few weeks, Vikings fans have been playing out scenarios about how the first two picks in the 2012 NFL Draft would go. It was clear from last November that the Indianapolis Colts would take Andrew Luck with the first overall pick. Once it was obvious the Vikings would have the third pick in the draft, the only question that remained was this: What would the Rams do with the No. 2 pick?
Many believed that it was only a matter of time before somebody stepped up to make a move to get ahead of the Vikings and trade with St. Louis to get Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. After a lights-out performance at the NFL Scouting Combine last weekend, that speculation has apparently become reality.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher said last week that Sam Bradford, the first pick in the 2010 draft, will not be traded and Monday reports surfaced that the Rams will trade the No. 2 overall pick to the highest bidder. The immediate result of that decision was to set the parameters for what it will take to get to the No. 2 slot in April’s draft. Teams like Cleveland, Washington, Miami and Seattle can try to package draft picks to meet the Rams’ asking price. But, with the RG3 question finally answered, the impact on the Vikings may be just as important.
Considering that the Vikings invested their first-round draft pick in Christian Ponder last year and were extremely unlikely to take Griffin if he was still on the board at No. 3, the reality of the Rams’ decision is that, in many ways, the Vikings will have the No. 1 pick in the draft. They weren’t going to have the chance to take Luck and, for all intents, Griffin has come off the board as well.
Now the question is whether the Vikings want USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil or if they’re interested in trading down. As it currently stands, there’s no reason to believe the Vikings won’t stay where they’re at and take the one player they covet the most on the board, whether that is Kalil, wide receiver Justin Blackmon or cornerback Morris Claiborne. The only thing standing in the way of that happening is whether somebody makes an offer the Vikings can’t refuse to move down.
It was only a matter of time before RG3 was going to get somebody to step up and take him with the second pick in the draft. It’s now obvious that it is going to happen. The draft list says the Vikings have the No. 3 pick, but in realistic terms, the Vikings have the No. 1 pick and can do with it what they may.
Cleveland remains the frontrunner to swing the deal with the Rams to get into the second spot, because it makes the most sense. The Browns have two first-round picks (Nos. 4 and 22) and, according to the draft value chart, those two picks match up almost perfectly with the No. 2 pick. But, given the value assigned to quarterbacks, many have already begun speculating that the Browns may have to give up more than that in order to get the No. 2 pick. In the end, that additional pick may be a mid-rounder next year, but the Rams hold all the cards right now, despite having no interest in using the pick on the player who is going to end up being drafted there.
At the combine, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman left the door open to the Vikings making a move to trade down as well, saying, “I’m not excited about being that (No. 3 pick). That means you didn’t have a very successful year. But to take advantage of that No. 3 is going to be huge for the success of our organization moving forward. With the new CBA and the financial commitment to the top-five picks not as significant as it has been in the past, I think there will be a lot of potential movement, especially in that top five, depending on how where these quarterbacks fall – the top two quarterbacks in the draft and who is going to need quarterbacks. There could be a lot of activity that first day and especially those three spots.”
In a radio interview with ESPN 980 in Washington D.C., former Viking Donovan McNabb said Monday he doesn’t believe the Redskins will sign Peyton Manning. He compared the situation to his own saga in Washington, saying the team would simply be repeating itself by bringing in a veteran nearing the end of his career. However, few anticipate that Manning would fail as completely as McNabb did in his brief stint with the Redskins.
Former Viking Darrion Scott, who horrified Vikings fans when news came out about allegations that he placed a plastic bag over his infant son’s head to get him to quit crying, is still looking to rebuild his NFL career. On Monday, he re-signed with the Redskins, who traded with the Vikings as the team prepared to cut Scott two years ago.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.