EAGAN, Minn. — It took a while — 20 draft spots following a trade down by Minnesota — but the Vikings made the franchise's 700th all-time pick in an NFL Draft on Thursday night.
Minnesota tabbed Georgia safety Lewis Cine with the 32nd overall selection to close out the opening round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Initially scheduled to make the 12th pick, new General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah agreed to a deal with division foe Detroit.
The Lions sent the 32nd, 34th and 66th overall picks to the Vikings in exchange for the 12th (used on Alabama WR Jameson Williams) and 46th overall selections this year.
Adofo-Mensah and first-year Head Coach Kevin O'Connell explained the thought process of the trade, their satisfaction with landing Cine and the residual benefits of the trade during a session with media members before heading back to the Thomson Reuters Draft Room to reset the board for Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday.
Adofo-Mensah on the decision to trade the 12th pick:
"We really looked at is as, 'Hey, what is your outcome if you don't do this trade versus what is your outcome if you stay and pick?' Ultimately, the division thing does come into it. But also, 'Hey, they have to play the Minnesota Vikings and all the players we're going to get.' We're going to go from there. There's also the possibility that they have backups [as trade partners], right? So if we don't do the trade, there are odds they can do a trade anyway. You're always kind of factoring in many things that could happen. We did that, and we're happy with our decision."
O'Connell on moving down 20 spots and tracking the draft board:
"We had played out so many scenarios leading into this that when you actually start seeing the names come off the board and kind of the situations present itself with possible deals and possibly staying at the pick, just as I expected, Kwesi was fantastic," O'Connell said. "Just the communication there of explaining exactly kind of what it would look like to make that move and then ultimately the value and the type of targets we knew would be there.
"Especially Lewis there at that 32nd pick. We were really excited about that," O'Connell added. "Just the whole process of getting there and knowing we ended the night having added a pick. Obviously, having three picks tomorrow, we're really excited about, but mainly a really, really good player that fits exactly what we're looking for on our defense."
What was Adofo-Mensah's position of the deal according to any 'trade value' chart?
"I mean, it's the ultimate irony, right? The guy who used to calculate the charts themselves, now I have people arguing about charts," Adofo-Mensah said. "It's, uh, again, it's the same thing as economics. It's, 'How happy are you with this outcome versus this outcome versus this outcome?'
"You can talk about charts all you want. It's not like you call somebody if you were buying a house and say, 'Hey, it should be worth this.' Well, they might not pay that," Adofo-Mensah added. "Everything is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. We kind of went with this, going into the process, we said, 'OK, what would our happiness level be if we did this trade vs. staying vs. this other trade?'
"We just came to our decision that way," Adofo-Mensah continued. "We used the chart as a guideline, but that's also because everything kind of uses it, that type of thing. … We look at the big picture and what it could be and ultimately, what it might be in the end."
What kind of player and person did the Vikings add by selecting Cine?
The surface answer is one with an incredibly unique background of being born in Haiti and raised as a child in Florida before spending formative years in Massachusetts (where he began playing football) and transferring to the southwest suburbs of Dallas, Texas, for his senior prep season.
View photos of Georgia S Lewis Cine who was selected No. 32 overall in the First Round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
The one that's deeper is a teammate that numerous Georgia Bulldogs said they’d most like to accompany them on an NFL roster. Cine was one of five Dogs defenders to be selected in the first round on Thursday.
"When we asked [Georgia players], 'Which one of your teammates would you love to bring with you?' — and we talked to a lot of those guys, but Lewis Cine's name came up a lot," O'Connell said. "And just that unique skill set that we can add to our back end, that kind of interchangeable feel that we can maybe have at that safety position, it will make for great competition because we feel really good, obviously, about Harrison Smith, Cam Bynum, and the ability to add this player in Lewis to compete in that room.
"Then, there's a lot of things you can do personnel-wise to be dynamic on defense, and just those interchangeable pieces that allow us to put that master plan together that [Defensive Coordinator] Ed [Donatell] and his staff are going to do," he added.
Jacksonville opened the evening by choosing edge rusher Travon Walker. Philadelphia tabbed defensive tackle Jordan Davis at the 13th overall spot. Green Bay wound up double dipping from the school with the 'G' on its helmets, picking linebacker Quay Walker at No. 22 and Devonte Wyatt at 28.
Did the Vikings consider trading the 32nd pick, too?
Adofo-Mensah confirmed that Minnesota received calls from other teams regarding the 32nd pick, including a "curveball" offer that was made "at the very last second."
Teams likely were enticed by the final spot of this year's draft that would give teams a fifth-year option, which can be incredibly valuable for positions that require extensive development.
Where do things stand for the Vikings heading into Day 2?
The Vikings now have three selections scheduled for the second day of the draft, including the second pick of the second (34th overall) and third (66th) rounds. Minnesota also still has the No. 77 pick that it already possessed.
View photos of Vikings S Lewis Cine's draft night as he was selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
"We have three really good chances in a draft where I really felt like the value — obviously, there's some big-time players at the top of every draft, but I really felt like the value that could present itself in that kind of 30-ish to 70-something type of picks, we've got a lot of guys on our board stacked there that can help us win a lot of football games," O'Connell said. "That's what we'll go through [Thursday night and Friday] and make sure we've got a great plan for how we want to go about things, and then we'll just take it one pick at a time and see if any value presents itself that could help us possibly add more picks.
"But at the same time, I know at final glance looking at the board before coming down to talk to you guys, there was a really exciting opportunity all over that board for us to go get some really good players tomorrow in addition to Lewis," O'Connell added.
With only Tampa Bay set to pick before the Vikings are back on the clock, there are multiple players in which Minnesota has an interest and believes would add great talent at a solid value.
"My cell phone is always charged," Adofo-Mensah said when asked about the prospect of teams calling on Friday after they reset their board.
"Ultimately, we'll take the calls and we'll be ready to pick if it's not the case," Adofo-Mensah added. "We'll be ready either way."