The cost of trading Vikings in the draft
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell: Photo Via: Star Tribune.
In recent years, the Minnesota Vikings have become famous for negotiating in the draft to get as many picks as possible. It seems fans of the franchise would love to forget about this specific Spielman-era strategy, even though it has helped bring in some solid players over the years.
Now, a new face makes the final decisions on draft day: Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. He’s often associated with analytics, and analytics is probably telling him to lower the draft. This will be the first draft of the career of the new general manager. He has no track record so far, and so it’s a total mystery what he’s going to do.
One way to go might be to start by doing the exact opposite of its predecessor. He might be willing to give up draft capital and trade the draft for one big reason other than getting a superior player: to make a statement. The trade would show the fanbase that he’s different from the old regime, especially General Manager Rick Spielman.
But what does the exchange really cost? There are several charts to evaluate trades. I used the Rich Hill Model and reviewed trades over the past few years.
The Vikings currently have eight draft picks in the 2022 draft:
- Round 1, choice 12
- Round 2, pick 46
- Round 3, pick 77
- Round 5, pick 156
- Round 6, pick 184
- Round 6, pick 191
- Round 6, pick 192
- Round 7, Pick 250
After Irv Smith Jr. suffered a knee injury last offseason, the Vikings traded their fourth-round pick for Chris Herndon. In retrospect, it was a real headache, as he only caught four assists in the entire season.
In the following scenarios, I only used 2022 picks. The Vikings could obviously trade future picks as well as players.
Negotiate a place
If the Vikings want to trade just one spot, they would have to give up their fifth-round pick in addition to the 12th overall pick for the 11th overall pick in a pick trade with the Washington Commanders. The 11th overall pick is worth 358 points, while the 12th overall pick is worth 347 points. The Vikings’ fifth round is worth exactly the 11 point difference.
Why would Kwesi Adofo-Mensah do this job? Trades like this happen if the highest selection team offers the selection to the highest bidder and the Vikings are concerned that a different team will trade for the Vikings’ number one pick. With this trade, they could secure their target. In this scenario, trade is fair in the graph, but will likely cost Vikings more Provisional Capital, as Commanders can sell to the highest bidder in a bidding war, and if demand is high, costs are also high.
Exchange up to Pick 10
That trade took place in the 2021 draft. The Eagles traded picks 12 and 84 to division rival Dallas Cowboys to secure the right to draft wide receiver DeVonta Smith. The Cowboys acquired additional draft capital worth 29 points via the trade board.
Looking at the Vikings’ selections in the upcoming draft, it would likely cost first- and third-round picks (77) to trade up to 10th. The pick currently belongs to the Jets, who were a business partner of Rick Spielman in the 2021 draft and Chris Herndon. Swaps like this could happen for the same reason as the swap described earlier. However, another possibility is that the Vikings are expecting the Commanders to pick the Vikings first pick at 11, so the Vikings are trying to skip the Commanders to get their guy.
Swap up to Picks 9 or 8
The ninth selection could cost the same as the 10th selection. The reason for this trade, like all trades from now on, is simply to get a specific player. For example, if Sauce Gardner goes down to pick nine and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah wants him, it costs him his third-round pick. Depending on the demand for the draft, this could cost additional end-of-round picks.
However, the selection of eight could even cost the precious second round dearly. The Vikings could get a Day 3 selection in return.
Trade up to Pick 7
In 2018, the Buffalo Bills traded to pick seven in exchange for the 12th pick and two second rounders, picks 53 and 56. Four years later, Josh Allen was definitely worth trading.
The Vikings don’t have multiple second rounds. However, the second round is the 46th pick and therefore more valuable than the 53rd the Bills gave up. So it would probably cost the top three picks to move up to seventh place.
Trade up to Pick 6 or higher
From now on, it is no longer possible to trade without giving up future choices. Last season, the Dolphins traded their 12th-place pick for 6, to select receiver, Jaylen Waddle. It cost them, in addition to the 12th overall pick in 2021, the first-round pick in 2022. He ended up as the 15th overall pick in 2022.
A big splash in the repechage?
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah may want to make a splash in the draft. Trading, especially a few places to get your first pick, is certainly possible. However, trading and acquiring more interim capital is the most likely scenario.