The Vikings' trade of Mike Hughes to Kansas City on Thursday was, in essence, a marginal transaction — with the Vikings shedding $1.8 million in cap space and giving up on a player for whom they hadn't exercised their fifth-year option while also dealing away a seventh-round pick and getting a sixth-rounder.
But it also cemented a stretch in which the Vikings struggled to get major impact from the first round of the draft, which has ongoing consequences on their roster — something I talked about at the end of Friday's Daily Delivery podcast.
The Vikings no longer have anything to show for the first round of the draft from 2015 through 2018:
Their 2015 pick, Trae Waynes, signed with the Bengals in free agency a year ago.
Their 2016 pick, receiver Laquon Treadwell, didn't pan out and was let go.
They didn't have a 2017 pick as a result of the Sam Bradford trade, and Bradford was gone by 2018.
Hughes was their pick in 2018. Now he's off to Kansas City.
This is a big year for 2019 first round pick Garrett Bradbury as well in terms of his long-term future with the Vikings.
Now, to be fair: The Vikings overachieved in the second round of a lot of those drafts, mitigating the damage from how the first rounds played out.
Their 2015-19 second-round picks were, in order: Eric Kendricks, Mackensie Alexander, Dalvin Cook, Brian O'Neill and Irv Smith Jr. All five figure to play prominent roles on this year's team (with Alexander back for a second stint and the other four still here either on second contracts or playing well on rookie deals).
That 2015 draft also yielded Danielle Hunter (third round) and Stefon Diggs (fifth round), the latter of which excelled and was eventually traded for the first-round pick that became Justin Jefferson.
But you can also look at it like this: If the Vikings had nailed a couple of those first-round picks — particularly 2016 and 2018, when they got very little production from Treadwell and Hughes — they might have a roster truly stacked for a playoff run.
Just try not to think about how Lamar Jackson was taken two picks after Hughes in 2018.