Rick Spielman (Kevin Carden/Scout.com)
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said trade offers have been coming in over the last 24 hours for the No. 3 pick in the draft. He is willing to move down, for the right price, but he likely won’t make that move until Thursday evening if it happens at all.
Trade talk is heating up for the Minnesota Vikings’ No. 3 draft pick, according to general manager Rick Spielman.
With the Indianapolis Colts already declaring that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is their choice at No. 1 and the Washington Redskins seemingly married to picking Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, the Vikings are taking a different tactic – leaving open several possibilities in hopes of getting a trade offer worthy of them moving down from their No. 3 pick.
If they don’t receive an offer they deem worthy enough to give up the No. 3 pick, they have narrowed their choices to three players – USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon. But with a desire to accumulate as many picks as possible – the Vikings already have 10 picks after being awarded two fourth-round compensatory selections – Spielman said he is receiving offers in the last 24 hours.
“That front has really heated up over the last 24 hours and I'm sure it will continue to heat up as we head into Thursday night,” Spielman said. “So there will be some very important decisions as we go forward on the three players I have mentioned, the trade scenario, can you still get an impact player by still trading back? Looking at our draft board and the depth of the board, we still think there is a lot of good value in that first round. If you go back X amount of spots, you can still get an impact player.”
But if the Vikings are looking to fill a need with their first-round pick by selecting a player that is considered a “blue-chipper” by most analysts in media, they might not be able to trade out of the first six or seven spots and still have a chance at Kalil, Claiborne or Blackmon.
Spielman is known for his attention to detail and goes so far as to make up his own mock drafts in an attempt to figure out what each team might be looking for in the first few rounds, although he admitted Tuesday that much of it is guesswork based off of other teams’ needs. Recent weeks have been spent in meetings with head coach Leslie Frazier and others on the coaching and scouting staffs honing in on the draft board and making sure that the talent meets scheme-specific needs
Although it seems unlikely the Vikings would want to trade out of the top 10 spots, Spielman said he has to keep the future in mind, as well.
“We’ve talked about do we want to go out of the so-called blue-chippers, as you guys put them? But I also know, what if there is some kind of deal where you can set up the future of your organization, not only this year but potential picks in the future as well? You have to weigh that into consideration, too,” he said.
Even if they happen to get an offer for their No. 3 pick that they feel is good value, they may wait until they are on the clock Thursday evening just to be sure it’s the best offer.
“You look at it both ways. One way is to say if you pull the trigger on something early, it better be something very, very – almost too good to be true. Or, the other thing is to be patient, see what happens on Thursday,” Spielman said. “I have a suspicion that we're not going to, once the gun goes off with the first pick of the draft, we're going to be pretty close to our pick. So we'll have a pretty good idea if we would pull the trigger on a trade. It may not be until we're on the clock. It may be a situation that you want to make sure, one more time, that someone doesn't want to come up and make a deal. I don't see a benefit doing anything before then.
“It could happen, depending on what is offered, but I really believe in kind of being patient and settling and see what comes to you. Not going out there and making calls. There has been a lot, I don't want to say a lot, but there has been X amount of teams that have already started to call.”
While the Vikings aren’t interested in a running back or quarterback, Spielman confirmed, it could be running back Trent Richardson that spurs a trade with a team like Tampa Bay at No. 5 or St. Louis at No. 6, both of whom could be looking to leapfrog another running back-needy team like the Cleveland Browns. Richardson is considered by many analysts to be the most talented running back to come out in the draft since the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson in 2007, selected at No. 7.
Claiborne or Blackmon could be another object of desire by teams picking after the Vikings, but Spielman said he doesn’t necessarily know who is being targeted by the teams that have called to inquire about the Vikings’ pick.
And, while he admitted that you can’t believe much, if anything, spouted by general managers, coaches and personnel directors at this time of year, he said there is no need for him to drum up interest in their pick. That, he says, has been there without prompting.
“I don’t think we have to create a market, because I think there are enough unique players up there that the teams that have contacted me … maybe that team has a specific need for a specific player,” Spielman said.
“That's what makes the draft so fun is that it's so unpredictable. I feel we're as prepared as we always have been heading into this draft.”
And right now they are sitting in the catbird seat when it comes to potential trades.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.