What goes into Vikings’ trade decisions?

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman talked about all the scenarios to consider when trading picks in the draft.

The legend of Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman trading picks could increase this weekend.

Spielman’s draft movements have been a common occurrence for the Vikings he was designated as the sole GM for the team in 2011. Every year Spielman says that he wants to amass about 10 total picks in the draft because it gives him more bargaining chips to move around when he sees fit and increases his chances to make picks that stick.

“To me, the more players or more prospects you can get into the boat, the better chance you have of hitting on one or two of them,” he said. “I wish I could say we were that brilliant that we could hit on three, four, five of those guys in the late rounds. But I know I have a lot better odds if I have eight guys in there instead of two guys in there.”

In order to collect that many picks the Vikings often have to trade back in the draft. They currently hold the No. 11 overall pick in the first round and Spielman expressed he is willing to trade that pick away in order to collect more. The Vikings currently have seven picks in the three days of draft that kicks off Thursday night.

He thinks the No. 11 pick will be enticing to other teams because it is still in the area where you can get a very good player – especially if one falls. But it is also far enough down the draft board where the fifth-year option on the player will no longer be incredibly high, as Viking Update pointed out last week.

“The 11th pick is very appealing as a potential trade spot depending on what falls down there because we’re out of that top-10 (area),” Spielman said. “Because all of a sudden that fifth-year option has decreased dramatically than if you were up in that top 10. And you’re getting the best of the rest out of that top 10.”

Along with their first-round pick, Spielman believes the Vikings are holding onto another appealing pick that he would not hesitate to trade away. It is the first pick in the fifth round, and it is the one they got from Buffalo in the Matt Cassel trade.

Spielman said this was a pick that he wanted to have when the trade was being discussed because he knew the value that the pick had.

“One of the reasons looking at when we traded for Matt Cassel, it was very important that we did some of the moving around and things that we did that we got that first pick in the fifth round,” the GM said. “To me, that’s very valuable because if there are teams that are hungry to come up and get a guy right at the top of that fifth round, that’s a lot more appealing than if you’re picking 28th in the fifth round.”

Along with accumulating players, there is another reason Spielman likes to gather as many picks as he can: so he has the ability to trade back into the first round and grab a player the Vikings like. They’ve done that the last three years, and if the opportunity presents itself he could do it again in 2015.

“If we have a guy that is above that 30th pick that we had higher in the first-round, then I see value to getting up there and going to get that guy,” Spielman said. “So there is a lot of moving parts and it’s happening a lot on draft day. You think about all these things when you go through the process. But then when draft day comes, you can go in with a plan. But it’s like a game, things happen and you adjust and you move on the fly.”

Even though there is a lot of good that comes from wheeling and dealing picks, there is some danger in it as well. Spielman made notice of this danger during the press conference, saying it is always something you have to be wary of when trading back in the draft.

“The tricky part of it is, I think you have to really understand how far you can move down, and understand the team’s needs that are potentially behind you,” Spielman said. “OK, if we drop down to, just random, 17, OK, what are 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 potentially going to do? And can maybe two or three of those guys, if we move down that far and we only have three options, could all three options be gone and then what are you doing. So, it’s great to pick up and accumulate more picks, but you also have to, I think, be very conscientious of how far you move back and potentially moving back too far where you end up with, now I’m really disappointed. I’ve got two extra picks, but I didn’t get any of the players that I love. That’s a balancing act that you really have to be careful of, especially on draft day.”

At the end of the day, there are a million different strategies that a team can use when it comes to drafting players. But Spielman and the rest of the Vikings staff have seemed to find one that has worked out well for them in recent years.


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