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3 Reasons Spielman Might Part With Pick No. 11

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — There's nothing wrong with the 11th overall spot.

In the past 10 NFL Drafts, it's yielded DeMarcus Ware, Jay Cutler, Patrick Willis, Leodis McKelvin, Aaron Maybin, Anthony Davis, J.J. Watt, Dontari Poe, D.J. Fluker and Taylor Lewan. It also brought Daunte Culpepper to Minnesota in 1999.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, however, said Tuesday during a pre-draft press conference that he wouldn't mind parting with the pick.

There are three main reasons Spielman said so (in no particular order):

• He believes the Vikings have multiple areas where a first-rounder could help.

• The Vikings draft board rankings have a grouping of similarly graded talent, starting after the top six or so graded players and going to the 20th highest-ranked player.

• After making 10, nine and 10 selections the past three years, Spielman wants to obtain more picks than the seven he's opening this draft with.

"We're sitting at the 11th spot right now, and everybody's targeting this guy or that guy (in mock drafts), but we are, I just went through five different scenarios this morning," Spielman said.

Spielman said scenarios include what ifs of pass rushers, offensive linemen, defensive backs or receivers falling to the 11th overall spot and being too highly rated to pass up. In that case, he said the Vikings might stay put Thursday and look for other ways of gathering more picks as the draft continues Friday and Saturday. The Vikings, for instance, are set to lead off the fifth round thanks to a selection obtained in the trade that sent Matt Cassel to Buffalo.

"There's no 'one set, honed in, we're taking this position and moving forward,' (player)," Spielman said. "This draft is a little unique. After we developed our draft board and you look at maybe those top five or six players and how we graded this draft, I think from the 7th, 8th player down to the 20th, I don't know there's that much difference. They're all very talented but they're all very closely talented. The benefit to that is that you have an opportunity now to fill a need. If you feel potentially this defensive player, this offensive player at those positions are that close, what are we going to do to fill a need? I think we'll be able to fill some needs in this draft by the way our board develops."

Determining just how many options the Vikings will have with a first-round pick (wherever it may be) involves an equation with variables of how much depth exists at of other positions throughout the draft, Spielman said.

"The other thing you have to look at, and we've been through some scenarios in the second round, third round and I even threw in some fourth-round scenarios up today. If you go this direction at this position at 11, OK, we still need to fill another hole at this position. Where's the depth in the second round? Or is it there in the third round, so there's a lot of scenarios where I pick four or five names, the combination of names and what makes us the best football team to improve from last year. As of today, it's very wide open, any direction we're going to go."

In addition to saying the Vikings have no interest* *in trading Adrian Peterson, Spielman said he doesn't anticipate the Vikings moving up in the first round.

"I would love to get the opportunity to move down and collect more picks," Spielman said. "My goal was always to have 10 picks for each draft, and one of the reasons for that is you get an opportunity to move up and down throughout the draft. I don't know if we have the full currency that you need to manipulate the draft. We may just stick at 11 this year if it's a player that falls to us that is just too good that we're not going to pass, and then we'll just see what happens after that.

"Like every year, you never know what's going to happen on draft day," Spielman added. "You try to pick through and analyze and put yourself in a million different scenarios and situations, which you don't know until you actually get in the game and get rolling. I'm very excited for Thursday to come. I think everybody is ready to just move on and get on to the game. I know we're going to be able to add some football players that are going to be of tremendous value to this franchise."

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