Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Vikings, not Rams, would seem to be likely trade partner

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC, Vikings draft Updated: February 7, 2012 - 4:33 PM

Rams coach Jeff Fisher has been open about his willingness to trade down from the No. 2 draft pick. Ditto for Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman when it comes to the No. 3 pick.

Any team willing to pay the heavy price to move up that high probably is doing so for only one reason: They need a quarterback. Badly.

Since neither the Rams nor the Vikings are going to draft a quarterback, teams looking to pick Heisman Trophy-winning QB Robert Griffin III should be dealing with the Vikings instead of the Rams. After all, why overpay at one store when the one next door can undercut the price?

A look at the draft value chart -- the thing that Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson made famous when he was slapping the rest of the league silly in the 1990s -- shows there is a considerable difference in point value between the No. 2 and No. 3 pick.

The No. 2 pick is valued at 2,600 points. The No. 3 pick is valued at 2,200 points. To put that in perspective, that difference in point value -- 400 -- is equal to a second-round pick (50th overall).

Cleveland has the No. 4 pick and could be in the market -- again! -- for a quarterback. So QB-starved teams such as Miami, Washington and Seattle would seem safe in targeting the Vikings as a trade partner rather than paying the extra cost of jumping ahead of a Rams team that's not going to pick a quarterback.

Of course, resisting the urge to jump higher than everyone else just to be safe takes some patience that some QB-starved teams no longer have. 

Based on the draft value chart, here are some realistic trades the Vikings could expect if they traded down and stayed inside the top 10:

--Trading down with the Redskins could net the Vikings the No. 6 pick (1,600),  the 38th pick (520) and a fourth-round pick (92 points).

--Trading down just one spot with the Browns could net the Vikings the No. 4 pick (1,800) as well as picks in the third (250), fourth (100) and fifth (40) rounds.  

--Trading down with the Dolphins could realistically net the Dolphins' first-round pick -- either eighth overall (1,400) or ninth overall (1,350) -- as well as picks in the second (about 500), third (about 230), fifth (about 38) and sixth (about 24) rounds. The Dolphins also could opt to trade a higher pick next season rather than give up four picks in the second through sixth rounds. 



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