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.


Fifth-year options and draft-night dealing

Posted by: Matt Vensel under Quarterbacks, Vikings, Percy Harvin Updated: April 23, 2014 - 10:02 AM

We have spilled a fair amount of digital ink these past few days on the subject of fifth-year options. And if you’re still unsure about how they work, you should probably familiarize yourself.

That’s because no one will be making more of these decisions in the next few years than Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, who has drafted five players in the first round the past two years.

In 2012, Spielman selected left tackle Matt Kalil with the fourth overall pick then traded back into the back end of the first to nab safety Harrison Smith. Last year, he drafted defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and cornerback Xavier Rhodes (with the first-rounder acquired in the Percy Harvin deal) then jumped back into the first to select wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, too.

In the case of Smith, assistant general manager George Paton explained last year that they simply wanted Smith and had the draft assets to strike the deal with the Baltimore Ravens to make it happen. But an added bonus was that the Vikings will get Smith for five years instead of four.

Which begs the question: Will NFL teams, especially the ones eyeing up quarterbacks early in the second round, attempt to move into the first round to gain that extra year of contractual control?

“It could be a consideration because look at San Francisco with Colin Kaepernick,” former NFL agent Joel Corry told me this week. “Assuming everything checks out with this Miami incident, he is going to be at a minimum of $18 million per year on his next deal. If they had traded up into the bottom of the first round [in 2011], they’d have him locked up for another year.”

Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports also had the same thought, and he spoke with an NFL G.M. about it.

"Things have changed with all the good players from that 2011 first round and it's going to cost more to get a team to move out now,” the G.M. told Kirwan. “Back in the old days teams liked to move out of the bottom of the first to avoid the contract expense but now it's reversed."

Just something to think about as the first round winds to a close two weeks from tomorrow.

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