Rick Spielman is known for his daring draft-night trades. In the past three years, he has traded back into the first round to select safety Harrison Smith, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The jury is still out on the talented Patterson, but trading up to draft Smith was a smart move and a year into his career it looks like Bridgewater could be a pretty good one, too.
We could see another Vikings trade Thursday night. But this year, a trade-down seems more likely.
For starters, the Vikings only have seven draft picks and Spielman likes to come out of the draft with nine or 10 rookies. The Vikings are also picking at No. 11 overall, a draft slot that could be prime position for a trade-down if a talented wide receiver or pass rusher does not go in the top 10.
So what might need to happen for the Vikings to trade down Thursday night? How far might they be willing to drop? And who would they target then? In the final edition of “Off the Board,” I’ll stack the board for a possible scenario and take a guess at someone the Vikings could get in a trade-down.
1. Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State. Winston remains the favorite to go first.
2. Titans: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon. As I said in the previous installment, I believe Mariota will likely go second. The question is to whom? We’ll keep the Titans in this slot and give them the QB.
3. Jaguars: Dante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida. The Jaguars need a pass rusher to help take their defense to the next level. I’m not sure who they prefer, but Fowler is the top one for many analysts.
4. Raiders: Leonard Williams, DE, USC. The Raiders need receiver help, but they can put that off for a round or two and instead grab Williams, whom some feel is the best prospect in this draft.
5. Redskins: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama. Wide receiver isn’t a glaring short-term need for them, with DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon around. But Cooper may be too good to pass up.
6. Jets: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska. After addressing the cornerback and wide receiver positions in free agency, the Jets are free to add Gregory to a defense that should be good in 2015.
7. Bears: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia. The Bears get a big WR to replace Brandon Marshall.
8. Falcons: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia. If you believe the draft buzz, Gurley’s stock is on the rise. And it would make sense if the Falcons wanted to balance out their offense with a runner like him.
9. Giants: Danny Shelton, NT, Washington. The Giants add this beefy nose tackle to the mix.
10. Rams: La’El Collins, OT, LSU. The Rams took an offensive lineman last year in Greg Robinson. Their offensive line still has holes that need to be addressed. Collins could slot in somewhere.
11. Saints (trade with Vikings): Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson. The Vikings, with players such as Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes, Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff and Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker still on the board, pick up a 2015 fourth-round pick from the Saints to drop back two spots. The Saints, in need of playmakers on defense, then select Beasley.
12. Browns: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville. Welp, there goes Parker. The Browns need help at wide receiver and are expected to use one of their two first-round picks on that position.
13. Chargers (trade with Vikings): Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin. The Vikings trade down again, picking up a pair of third-day picks to do so. And the Chargers get their new back in Gordon.
14. Dolphins: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State. And there goes Waynes, too. The Vikings have interest in Waynes, but we don’t know for sure just how strong their interest is. Still, despite Waynes and Parker being gone, there should still be players that interest the Vikings at No. 17.
15. 49ers: Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon. They take Armstead, who doesn’t appear to be a fit here.
16. Texans: Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida. A pick before the Vikings are back on the block, the Texans take this speedy but raw wide receiver to help them replace Andre Johnson.
17. Vikings: Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa. After trading twice and dropping down six spots — and picking up three 2015 draft picks in the process — the Vikings are still in position to draft Scherff. Or, if they prefer, they could address their defense with Washington cornerback Marcus Peters or Missouri defensive end Shane Ray. Since left guard is their most glaring need still, we will give them Scherff. And the Vikings will now have nine other selections to take care of business in this draft.
OK, your turn. Leave a comment to tell me who you would want the Vikings to pick in this scenario.