Vikings team staff oddly began setting up a conference call with recent pick Jaleel Johnson, just as they were seconds away from making another draft pick.
There was nothing to see at the NFL Draft in Philadelphia, anyway. Minnesota wasn’t about to make that pick.
General Manager Rick Spielman made an NFL-leading sixth trade of this weekend’s draft when he dealt that fourth-round pick (139th) to the Chiefs in exchange for two fifth-round picks (170th, 180th).
Accustom to the Vikings’ dealing ways under Spielman, Jamaal Stephenson, the team’s director of college scouting, settled in for another wait beforepickinga prospect that his scouting staff hasspent nearly a year evaluating.
“It’s kind of a punch in the guy a little bit,” Stephenson said Saturday. “But you know there’s a reason for it.We’ve done all this work on all these guys this year as far as going out to their schools. We started in July and our scouts have done a phenomenal job in getting all the information we needed. We just feel there’s a lot of depth in this draft. We felt we had some room if we had to trade back and pick up some more picks. It’s always exciting to pick players and you want to instantly say let’s go ahead and grab that guy or grab this guy, but there’s always a master plan.”
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmeris no stranger to the dealing in his fourth draft with Spielman, who has made 22 draft trades (and counting?) since taking full control as GM in 2012.
“He likes to deal,” Zimmer said. “A lot of it is trying to add value, find the right guys for the right value. There are guys we like who we like who still might be there later and there are guys, with the first two picks, we moved up for. [Assistant GMs] Rob Brzezinski and George Paton are back there working the phones and they do a great job communicating with these teams and negotiating the picks and slots, finding the value in the trades. For Rick, it’s about finding the value in the player.”
The Vikings are slated to make nine picks on Saturday with seven selections remaining: two fifths (No. 170, No. 180), a sixth (No. 199) and four sevenths (No. 219, No. 230, No. 232, No. 245).
Here’s a run down of the Vikings’ draft trades so far:
- Traded up to No. 41 in the second round for RB Dalvin Cook. Sent No. 48 and a fourth-round pick (No. 128) to the Bengals.
- Traded up to No. 70 in the third round for C/G Pat Elflein. Sent No. 79 and a fifth-round pick (No. 160) to the Jets.
- Traded back from No. 86 in the third round to No. 104 with the Chiefs, picking up a fourth-round pick (No. 132) and a seventh-round pick (245th).
-Traded back from No. 104in the third round to No. 109 with the 49ers, picking up a seventh-round pick (No. 219).
-Traded back from No. 132in the fourth round to No. 139 with the Eagles, picking up a seventh-round pick (No. 230).
-Traded back from No. 139in the fourth round to No. 170 in the fifth with the Chiefs, picking up a fifth-round pick (No. 180).