Trade or Stay?

The Vikings are two weeks away from being on the clock in the first round of the NFL draft. Between now and then, Rick Spielman will lay out multiple scenarios as to what players will be available when the Vikings pick. But what if it's a worst-case scenario?

Over the course of the next two weeks, every NFL team (especially those in the top 10 picks) will conduct mock drafts to prepare themselves for just about every potential eventuality that could come up as to what players will be available and what players won't.

VU has been doing the same over the past several days and made an interesting conclusion. There are six players that the Vikings would likely take if they're available. If any of the six remains, the team takes them. Only if all six are gone do they make a move to trade down.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, it looks as though the worst-case scenario could play itself out.

First, one needs to start with the most obvious picks. Quarterback JaMarcus Russell is likely to go the Raiders with the first pick, but if he doesn't, he will assuredly be gone by pick No. 3. You can add wide receiver Calvin Johnson to that list as well. While many draft projectors, including us, believe he may slip to No. 4, he could go as high as No. 1, but won't be on the board at No. 7.

Two down, four to go.

Next is offensive tackle Joe Thomas. He could go as early as No. 2 to the Lions, but if Matt Millen opts to go QB or take yet another wide receiver, there's almost no likelihood that he would make it past the Bucs at No. 4 if Johnson is gone or the Cardinals at No. 5 if he's still on the board. So you can pretty much take him off the list. Then there's DE Gaines Adams. Big pass-rushing defensive ends are always a hot commodity and Adams is one of those players. Again, the Lions could make him their pick, but, if the draft falls like many expect it well, it's very unlikely he would make it past both the Cardinals and Redskins at picks Nos. 5 and 6.

Four down, two to go.

So that leaves two guys – quarterback Brady Quinn and running back Adrian Peterson. There has been a lot of conflicting talk that Quinn might do the slide down the board that has become the recent history of the second-rated quarterbacks in the draft. Regardless of what the Vikings have said publicly about being ready to head into the future with Tarvaris Jackson and Brooks Bollinger as their quarterbacks, if Quinn is on the board at No. 7 the Vikings will take him. There's a growing speculation that the Lions will take him or the Browns will jump if he's still there.

The only way the Vikings wouldn't take Quinn is if Peterson is still on the board. An explosive runner who is as fiery a competitor at the running back spot to come out in the draft in the last several years, there's a growing belief that if Peterson is still on the board after the first three picks, some team will trade up to get him and give up a lot to get him. While that scenario may have to play itself out, it wouldn't be a shocker if it happens.

So there's one scenario left. All six of the top players on the board go with the top six picks. Who's next? LaRon Landry? He's a great player, but the Vikings are already loaded at safety and have too many other pressing needs. A wide receiver? None seem worthy of selection at No. 7. DE Jamaal Anderson? Possibly, but he'd likely be available two or three picks later. Cornerback Leon Hall? The same scenario should exist there, where the Vikings could probably get him with the ninth or 10th pick.

If that scenario plays out, the Vikings have one viable option – trade down. The team needs help on both sides of the ball and, short of having one of the six-pack of true blue chippers fall to them, they can get more value by moving down and accumulating picks, rather than "reach" for one player that may or may not be the answer to their problems.

As the Vikings do their own mocks, don't be surprised if this same scenario plays out. What do we do if the six guys we would take with the seventh pick go in the top six? The answer: trade down.

* The Vikings continue to address their wide receiver malaise a little bit at a time. After signing Bobby Wade as the only free agent help early in the process, the team announced the signing of Cortez Hankton, who caught 34 passes in four years with the Jaguars. The deal is said to be one year and worth up to $1 million if incentives are reached.
* From the "Fire Our Accountant Department" comes this: The Eagles are filing a grievance with the players association because running back Brian Westbrook was paid his signing bonus from his recent contract twice – getting $6 million instead of $3 million. While Westbrook admitted that he was double-paid and will pay the money back, to date he hasn't done it. Memo to Jeff Lurie: I'm available as early as Monday afternoon to work for your fine organization.
* The Daunte Culpepper saga continues to play itself out. When then-coach Nick Saban (known to the locals as Nick Satan) said that Culpepper's second operation on his injured knee was a "minor procedure," it appears he was lying – the hayfork should have been a dead giveaway. At their recent minicamp, it would seem that Pepp's surgery was much more invasive and that the recovery time, according to Culpepper himself, is at about six months. While he and new coach Cam Cameron are hopeful he'll be ready by training camp, the Cleo Lemon era has unofficially begun.

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