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 mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Trade talks for Vikings No. 3 pick 'heating up,' according to Rick Spielman

Posted by: under Vikings, NFL draft, Vikings draft Updated: April 24, 2012 - 2:23 PM

The Vikings’ door is wide open. Trade talks are welcome.

Just two days before the NFL Draft begins, general manager Rick Spielman stayed on message Tuesday during a press conference at Winter Park. Spielman’s main talking points reiterated what we’ve known all along. The Vikings are far from attached to their No. 3 pick, more than willing to discuss trade offers from any and all interested teams.

And curiosity around the league, Spielman reports, is percolating.

“That front has really heated up over the last 24 hours,” he said. “And I’m sure it will continue to heat up as we head for Thursday night.”

Spielman again made it clear he’s considering three players – Matt Kalil, Morris Claiborne and Justin Blackmon – at No. 3. But if an eye-opening trade offer surfaces that would allow the Vikings to gain additional picks both this year and for the future, Spielman will give it serious consideration with one important question.

“Can you still get an impact player by trading back?” Spielman said. “Looking at our draft board and the depth of this board, we still think there’s a lot of good value in that first round if you go back X amount of spots and can still get an impact player.”

Spielman said it would take an offer “almost too good to be true” to finalize a trade before the draft begins. Instead, the Vikings are likely to take a more patient approach.

“I really believe in being patient and settling and seeing what comes to you,” Spielman said. “[We’re] not soliciting, going out there and making calls. There have been X amount of teams that have already started to call. Everything’s intriguing this time of year.”

THE HIT LIST

When asked realistically how many of his 10 draft picks he hoped to hit on this weekend, Spielman said he firmly believes he can hit on all 10, noting also that nine of last year’s 10 draft picks made the team. But to be clear, hitting on all 10 picks doesn’t mean the Vikings are banking on landing 10 full-time starters with Pro Bowl potential.

In Rounds 1 and 2, Spielman hopes to land players who can be difference-making starters soon if not immediately.

In the middle rounds, the Vikings’ GM says, the hope is to land prospects who won’t realistically make an immediate impact but can grow into heightened roles over the next two or three years.

And then in Rounds 6 and 7, the goal is to find special teams help and added depth with a hope of getting lucky with a player that may one day emerge as far better than anticipated.

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