Spielman cautious on too much draft movement

The Vikings are preparing for all kinds of draft-day scenarios, but they don't want to trade their way out of a coveted player. VP of player personnel Rick Spielman talked his way through the predraft process and the options available in the first round.

If two of the top-rated quarterbacks – Auburn's Cam Newton and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert – are gone in the first 10 picks of April 28's first round, the Vikings could be facing a three-fold dilemma with the No. 12 overall pick in the draft. Do they select another position with their 12th pick, do they trade back to pick later in the first round and pick up another draft pick or two, or do they select a quarterback like Jake Locker, who might not be rated as highly as other positions players left on the draft board?

Those are the sorts of decisions facing Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman and head coach Leslie Frazier, and that's just on the first day of the draft. The short answer from Spielman might eliminate one of the options, depending on how highly rated the Vikings have Locker.

"I still think you can't force quarterback. If you're not comfortable with it, you're just going to make a mistake," Spielman said Tuesday while attending an Athletes in Action event at Winter Park. "So if we take a quarterback at some point in the draft, it's definitely going to be something that we're comfortable with."

While Frazier continues to stress the importance of finding a quarterback for the future, Spielman made it clear the Vikings aren't going to "reach" for the position if there are players at other positions rated higher.

"Knowing where we're going to be at, there will be probably five positions that I know we'll look at with our 12th pick and then we'll sort that out," Spielman said. "Like I said, there are a lot of other needs to fill at that 12th position if it's not a quarterback. I can tell you this: We're going to take the best player available when it comes to our pick. That I know."

Spielman left it up to others to guess which five positions those were but indicated they matched up with the Vikings' needs, which are generally considered quarterback, offensive line, defensive line, cornerback and possibly wide receiver, depending on what happens with Sidney Rice in free agency.

Without a third-round draft pick due to the Randy Moss trade and with several needs to fill among the starting ranks and for the future, the Vikings could be in the market to trade down in the first round, acquire an additional pick for the second or third day of the draft and still fill one of the biggest needs with a pick in the teens or early 20s of the first round. But Spielman cautioned that they could get caught in a trap if they trade too far down.

"You've got to know potentially how far if you move down, can you lose that player? And then you've got to worry about the guys coming behind you if someone could move up," he said. "Let's say you move down too far, if someone jumps you coming back up, those are all the games that are played on draft day. But those are all the scenarios that I'll put us through and we'll discuss and have a game plan for each of those scenarios."

While those scenarios will be played in the Winter Park offices by Spielman and the coaching and personnel staffs in the next three weeks, he made it clear he was happy with the move the Vikings made last year to trade up in the second round and draft running back Toby Gerhart, convinced that the Houston Texans were on Gerhart's bandwagon as well.

"If we do move, and I would put us in draft scenarios where we move to X spot, what are more likely our options going to be, who are the players we're going to be looking at?" Spielman said. "The biggest other thing is you've got to know where your threats are too. That is where we were excited to go up and get Toby last year and knew that Houston had a need for a running back too."

While the Vikings are hosting nearly 30 draft prospects Tuesday and Wednesday, Frazier said that quarterback wasn't the most represented position in the Winter Park crowd.

"We'll have multiple positions coming in. It won't just be -- that won't be the number one position, quarterback," he said. "We'll have a myriad of different positions and plus, we've already been out to visit quite a few quarterbacks, so we won't have as many guys to come in."

In reality, the Vikings are preparing for all sorts of scenarios on draft day. Trading down might be the most likely, but it would also carry the risk of a coveted player being selected before the Vikings ever had a chance and that's a scenario Spielman is guarding against.


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



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