Monday Morning Mailbag


Monday Morning Mailbag: Draft-Day Trade Suitors

Posted Apr 14, 2014

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There is a lot of speculation that the Vikings could benefit from trading down from No. 8 in the draft. Obviously it depends on what happens in the first seven picks, but what teams do you think would potentially be looking to trade up to No. 8?
-- Isaac S.
Collegeville, MN

We can only speculate on it at this point and a lot can happen between now and then to change any projections, but here are a few ideas:

-- In addition to holding the No. 2 overall selection, the Rams also have No. 13. They could decide to get splashy by trading up to No. 8 from No. 13 to take home two top 10 picks, with receiver Mike Evans a possible fit at No. 8. This scenario becomes even more likely if the Rams are able to trade back from No. 2.

-- Another team that could be in the hunt for Evans is the NY Giants, who lost Hakeem Nicks this offseason and hold the No. 12 selection. With the Lions (No. 10) and the Rams (No. 13) among teams linked to receivers ahead of the Giants, perhaps Big Blue wants to make a big jump to No. 8.

-- The Tennessee Titans lost starting cornerback Alterraun Verner in free agency this offseason. They sit at No. 11 and might feel more comfortable with trading up ahead of Buffalo (No. 9) and Detroit (No. 10) to grab their corner of choice to replace Verner.

With the addition of Captain Munnerlyn, do you think that he has a chance to take the starting punt returner job from Marcus Sherels? Or does Sherels have the job locked up?
-- Jason S.
Appleton, WI

I wouldn’t rule anything out at this stage and there are very few positions anywhere on the team that are “locked up,” but let’s remember that Sherels set a franchise record and ranked second in the NFL with a 15.2-yard punt return average in 2013. Additionally, while Munnerlyn does have 75 career punt returns to his credit, he returned zero last season and just 14 in 2012.

Will the options in terms of positions be as great with our second-round pick as they will be with the first-round pick? I’m thinking mostly on defense because I would like to see us continue to build there. I know Rick Spielman usually takes best player available. Also, I think this year’s draft will be the most fun of any draft in a long time!
-- Adam

I would argue choices of different positions will actually be greater in the second round than in the first round. Given how high the Vikings pick is in the first round (No. 8), odds are the number of players and, thus, positions, will be fewer there than at the Vikings second-round selection (No. 40 overall).

Due to the depth in this year’s draft and quarterback talent such as AJ McCarron and Zach Mettenberger projected to slide into the second or even potentially third round, do you think it would be wise for the Vikings to target defense early in this year’s draft? Why not trade back from No. 8 to acquire more picks, grab a safety in the middle of the first round and then perhaps use the extra picks to get back into the end of the first round to get a versatile linebacker. Depending on how that all pans out, then you can grab a game-managing quarterback from a winning program in the second round. Like it or not?
-- Josh P.
Winnipeg, MB

The Vikings would probably have to move back further than the middle of the first round from No. 8 to acquire the picks necessary to pull off that plan. Regardless of that, I do think the Vikings would be well-served to focus on defense in this draft, but I also don’t think they should neglect offense or rule out taking a quarterback in the first round just because they need to improve their defense.

Keep in mind that the success rate as a starter for quarterback taken after the first round is low. We can all name the guys who’ve done it – Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, etc. – but we can name far more who haven’t. It doesn't mean that taking a quarterback after the first round is a bad idea, it just means you may have to temper your expectations for those players and be patient in developing them. With that being said, the Vikings are actually a team structured to go this route. With a returning veteran under center, an experienced offensive coordinator with a penchant for developing quarterbacks (Norv Turner) and a strong running game featuring the best running back in the NFL, the Vikings are well-equipped to bring on a young quarterback and help him develop into a starter over time.

Do you think the Vikings will draft more on the side of polished prospects or raw talent in the later rounds of this year's draft?
-- Zach W.
Shorewood, MN

If you look at the profile of some of the Vikings late-round gems recently, you can see how GM Rick Spielman has found some success. Safety Jamarca Sanford, taken in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft, was the SEC’s leading tackler during his four seasons at Ole Miss, but some teams may have hesitated on him because of his size. Michael Mauti, also a seventh-round pick (in 2013), was a versatile and productive linebacker with great leadership ability for Penn State, but three knee injuries caused many teams to overlook him. Essentially, the later rounds are a great time to look at players who have early-round or mid-round talent but also have other concerns that have caused ] teams to hesitate, such as size deficiency, a medical-related concern or an off-field issue.