There is a lot of chatter as to whether the Vikings are going to stay at No. 8 or trade down. The Vikings spent plenty of time working with Teddy Bridgewater – at the NFL Scouting Combine, before his pro day and after his pro day. At the time, Bridgewater's name was being thrown around as being a lock for the top 10. Now he is being seen as a prospect that could fall to the end of the first round or early in the second round. There is also speculation that the Vikings may be enamored with Derek Carr or Zach Mettenberger. Carr is currently seen as a late first-round pick and Mettenberger should be available in the second round when the Vikings are scheduled to pick at No. 8.
If that is the route the Vikings choose to go, they may be interested in trading down in the first round. Rick Spielman has gone on record as saying he would like to see the team end up with 10 picks in the draft. They currently have eight and you don't stockpile picks by moving up in the first round.
Depending on who the Vikings might be targeting, they could trade down to get that specific player while adding additional picks. Here is our take on how far they could potentially drop and still land a player they like:
CBs Justin Gilbert or Darqueze Dennard – Detroit is likely going to take a cornerback or safety, so the Vikings couldn't drop too far to get a cornerback because the Titans also need to upgrade at cornerback after losing Alterraun Verner in free agency. The projected drop to land one of them would likely be risky beyond pick No. 11.
Safeties HaHa Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor – The Lions are in play at No. 10. So are the Rams at No. 13. It may be a hard sell to drop too far because both of them could potentially be gone by Pick No. 13, so the Vikings could only modestly slide back if they want to assure themselves of landing one of them. Clinton-Dix will almost surely be gone by 13. Pryor may still be there in the late teens of the first-round selections.
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald – We said more than a month ago that Donald was a player to watch because his stock just continues to rise. As things currently stand, he could end up in the top 10 because of his athleticism – pass rushing DTs are rare and a commodity. It would seem clear that Donald will be gone by Chicago at No. 14, but there is the potential he could go at No. 9 to Buffalo, No. 11 to Tennessee or No. 12 to the New York Giants, so, if the Vikings really want him, they may have to stand put and make their selection at No. 8 because he could be one of the draft wild cards who goes higher than expected.
Linebacker C.J. Mosley – The clear-cut top middle linebacker in the draft, his stock has started rising slightly as we get closer to draft day, but his injury history will scare off some teams. The Vikings could probably drop into the middle of the first round (Nos. 16-18) with a realistic expectation that Mosley will still be available.
Quarterback Derek Carr – He has been linked to Arizona at No. 20, but most draft analysts see him as a second-round prospect whose strong arm could be enough to get a team to trade up into the first round. If the Vikings love him, they could likely drop as far as No. 25 – farther if Cleveland takes Johnny Manziel with the fourth pick simply because the teams with the current picks in the 20s don't need a quarterback in the first round. If the Vikings truly covet Carr, this could be the most dangerous of trade-down options.
OLB Anthony Barr – Another player whose stock is dropping, the Vikings could probably trade to No. 20 and have the confidence that Barr will still be there. There would be a potential mine field of teams with aging OLBs that could snipe him, but with all the quarterbacks, wide receivers and offensive tackles coming off the board early on, if the Vikings are intrigued by Barr, they could likely drop 10 spots or so to make the selection.
What the Vikings plan to do with the eighth pick of the draft will continue to be the subject of rumor and debate, but you can bet that the Vikings are looking at their options in the first round – whether they stay at No. 8 or trade down.
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.
Trade-downs full of possibilities, danger
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