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I think Spielman will be his usual self and try to get 10 or more picks in the draft. We have seven right now, so I think he will trade back from 11 and get more picks. Who do you think is the ideal team to trade back to and the team that would give the Vikings the most picks? -- Jacob Savitz
It all depends on how the board falls. If a bunch of players you like go off the board in front of you, then the ideal trading partner is a team only one or a few slots behind you. But if the opposite happens and there are several players still on the board when you are on the clock, then you can consider moving further back because there's a good chance you'll still get a player you covet.
In terms of potential trade partners for the Vikings, there are two things to look at. The first is which teams in the vicinity behind the Vikings have a surplus of picks and, thus, the ammo to realistically make a deal to move up. Teams with eight or more selections behind the Vikings are: Cleveland (No. 12), New Orleans (13 and 31), San Francisco (15), Houston (16), Kansas City (18), Philadelphia (20), Cincinnati (21), Pittsburgh (22), Arizona (No. 24), Carolina (25), Baltimore (26), Denver (28), Indianapolis (29), Green Bay (30) and New England (32). Secondly, you have to look and see who is still on the board when the Vikings are on the clock at No. 11 because that will determine which teams are motivated to move up.
How do you personally prepare for the draft, and do you have any tips for how we can enjoy the draft even more? -- Jeff Gifford Grimsby, Ontario
To prepare for the draft I read a lot of what other people are writing, I try to watch some film to gain a degree of education on players and I generally try to gather as much information as possible throughout the process. My advice on how to best enjoy the draft is to pay attention to as much as you can during the build-up but to not take much of anything too seriously. It's important to remember that everyone from analysts to the teams themselves are trying to collect as much information as they can. Also, some teams may also choose to spread misinformation to advance (or disguise) their own agendas.
Tips for enjoying the draft include checking out TV coverage of it on either NFL Network or ESPN as well as staying right here on vikings.com for comprehensive coverage from the live streaming of press conferences to draft pick arrivals to statistics and film breakdowns of the Vikings selections. Lastly, my favorite analysts to pay attention to, whether it comes to the draft or to real games, are Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock. Those guys have tremendous work ethic, they aren't driven by hyperbole or sensationalism, and they aren't afraid to speak their mind and take a stand on a topic.
Is there value in trading down from our spots in the 3rd-5th rounds in order to grab more selections in the 5th-7th rounds? Since rounds four-seven are risky rounds anyways, why not play the numbers game and try to find sleepers? -- Travis
Bingo. Yes, there is tremendous value in trading back once you get to the middle and late rounds. As much as we should respect the process teams go through to evaluate the entire draft class and select players they feel will have good careers and will fit their scheme, we should also remember that this is an inexact science, and at some point it's hard not to think that the more darts you have to throw at the dart board, the better off you're going to be.
With two of the best passing teams in the NFL in our division, shouldn't it be a "no-brainer" at No. 11 to take a cornerback? -- Frederik Larsen Denmark
No, I would not say the composition of your division opponents' rosters leads to "no-brainer" decisions in the draft. Your draft board dictates who you take, not the players you are scheduled to play against. The reason teams have scouting staffs and put so much effort and time into grading players and building a draft board is so that you can select as many good players who fit your scheme as possible.
Do you think Trae Waynes is a player that would pair well with Xavier Rhodes? -- Jack Donnelly
Definitely. I see Waynes as a good pair with any cornerback in the League because I think he's a good football player who will have a good NFL career. I don't buy into the criticism that he isn't physical and doesn't tackle well, and I love his athleticism and willingness to compete when the ball is in the air. There are a lot of good cornerbacks in this class, so I'm not pointing Waynes out as a particularly good fit, rather I'm saying Waynes is a talented enough player that he should be able to assimilate into any type of scheme.
In your estimation, who has the highest ceiling of all of the first round picks we have had in the last 3 drafts? -- Chris Ladd
Interesting question and I think you can make a case for a few of them, but given how important the quarterback positon is to a NFL team I would submit the answer is Teddy Bridgewater.