It may be too early to be looking at the 2018 draft, but it hasn’t stopped the NFL’s official website from doing some speculation and projecting something the Minnesota Vikings haven’t had since 2012 – a compensatory pick.
In fact, not only are the Vikings projected to get one, they’re expected to get two.
For those unfamiliar with the compensatory pick process, while the draft goes seven rounds, it really consists of eight rounds of picks because the league assigns 32 compensatory picks spread out between the third and seventh rounds. The assignment of compensatory picks is based on a highly guarded formula that takes into account free agents signed and lost in the year prior to each draft.
The last time the Vikings had a compensatory pick, it turned tragic. The Vikings had a fourth-round compensatory pick in 2012 and used it to take tall Arkansas receiver Greg Childs, who was not only a college teammate of current Viking Jarius Wright with the Razorbacks, but grew up in the same small town (Warren, Ark.).
Early in training camp, Wright and Childs were a much-cited storyline – teammates since fifth grade who were seemingly inseparable through middle school, high school, college and the pros.
All that came to an end during the Vikings practice scrimmage at Blakeslee Field in Mankato. With only a handful of plays left in the passing drills, Childs crumpled in the end zone, letting out a scream that could be heard throughout the stadium. As it turned out, he tore both of his patellar tendons and he never fully recovered, seeing his career come to end before it could officially begin.
Since 2012, the Vikings haven’t had a compensatory pick, which are awarded to teams who lost more valued players in free agency than they acquired.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com projected the teams that he figure will get the compensatory picks, which has become a source of controversy in recent years as some teams have allowed an inordinate number of veteran free agents leave rather than re-sign to accumulate some of the 32 compensatory picks.
No team can receive more than four compensatory picks in any draft, which are awarded at the end of Rounds 3-7. While the picks won’t officially be announced until after the 2017 season, Zierlein’s predictions are based upon who he believes will garner the most and the highest picks.
He projects four teams to hog half the number of overall picks by landing four apiece – Arizona, Dallas, Green Bay and Oakland. He has two other teams landing three picks (Cincinnati and Denver), two teams landing two picks (New England and Minnesota) and six teams getting one pick each (Baltimore, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Giants and Pittsburgh).
The rationale behind the Vikings receiving two projected picks – one in the sixth and one in the seventh – is based upon losing Matt Kalil, Adrian Peterson, Cordarrelle Patterson and Andre Smith, all of whom signed with other teams. The rounds were offset by the Vikings signing tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers.
In explaining his projection, Zierlien said, “I'm projecting the Vikings' top four losses will all be cancelled out by their top four additions. However, I do expect them to get sixth- or seventh-rounders for Andre Smith and Adrian Peterson, depending on snaps.”
While an extra sixth- and seventh-round compensatory pick may not seem like much, given the steady increases in the salary cap, having draft picks as currency to either make additional picks or use as ammunition to move up to grab a player they like in next year’s draft is something valued highly by General Manager Rick Spielman.
It’s been a long time coming, but, considering what Minnesota lost and what they signed this past offseason, it looks like their five-year compensatory drought will end next year.