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Daniel Jeremiah's mock draft has the Vikings taking Cody Ford with the No. 18 pick, but on his top 50 prospects he has Ford listed at No. 30. Unless the Vikings trade down, they will not select Ford. What is your opinion on DJ's take?
-- Tom Durfee
In his explanation to us, DJ suggested a move inside to offensive guard for Ford. Perhaps DJ's ranking of Ford at No. 30 is where he has him slated as a right tackle but then he elevates Ford to a draftable player for the Vikings when considering Ford as an interior player. I'm not entirely sure how DJ would reconcile the mock draft with his rankings, but I do see his point that a road grading run blocker makes sense for the Vikings at No. 18. So if Ford is that type of player and if DJ has a 1st-round grade on Ford, then it could make some sense.
What do you think the odds are that the Vikings trade back into the 1st round to come away with a pair of 1st-round picks this year?
-- Jesse Grant
The Vikings have done this in the past with GM Rick Spielman, so I wouldn't rule it out until the 1st round is officially over. There are advantages to this type of move because you get two very good players and you get them under contracts that have a fifth-year team option. There is also a cost associated with this maneuver, of course. Just last year, for example, the Ravens moved from No. 52 (the Vikings are at No. 50 this year) to No. 32 in a trade with the Eagles. To do so, Baltimore had to swap picks in the 4th round (dropping seven spots) and also send their 2019 2nd-round pick to Philadelphia. Would you lose position in the 4th round and give up an additional 3rd-rounder this year or 2nd-rounder next year to get back into the 1st-round? It's an interesting question and it's only one of many scenarios the Vikings may consider during and even prior to the draft.
The chips are falling into place. I am glad to see Anthony Barr and Everson Griffen back. Looks like team atmosphere played a big part in those decisions. How do you grade the family/team atmosphere? How do we compare to other teams?
-- Gerald Goblirsch
This is something both Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer have mentioned while speaking with reporters this offseason, and it's also something Barr himself cited during his press conference after re-signing with the club. It's easy to see that Spielman and Zimmer have drafted, signed and re-signed a solid core of players who have all helped build and maintain a tightly-knit locker room that values accountability and hard work. Teams spend a lot of time watching film, going to pro days and hosting workouts to assess the physical ability of prospective players, but the question Gerald posed above is a good reminder that it's equally as important for teams to assess the personality and competitive integrity of prospective players, as well. You want to make sure the players you bring into your locker room will fit in with the culture and expectations set forth by the coaches and other players.
Do you see the Vikings going after any AAF players in the future? Perhaps safety Derron Smith or possibly a reunion with receiver Charles Johnson?
-- Nate Kern
I wanted to include Nate's question in this week's Mailbag because he nailed it. The Vikings did indeed have interest in and sign one of the players Nate mentioned. Late last week, the Vikings signed cornerback Duke Thomas and Smith, both of whom played for the San Antonio Commanders in the AAF. Click here to find out more about these two players and how they might fit into the defensive back competition this offseason.
Ade Aruna, Jalyn Holmes and Hercules Mata'afa…which of these players do you see making the Vikings final roster in 2019?
-- Chris Kulak
To me, Holmes is one to watch this offseason. It will be interesting to see A) where the Vikings train him this offseason and B) if he can fend off added competition and challenge veterans for playing time. I wouldn't rule any of them out at this stage, though, because all three are in the early development stages of their careers and we are far from seeing what kind of progress they'll be able to make in preparing for Year 2. Aruna and Mata'afa are coming off injury, so it's trickier to analyze their chances.