Today is a special day. It's draft day. It's only appropriate, then, to have a special (draft day) edition of the Monday Morning Mailbag.
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What is the main goal with their 1st pick? Draft a position or just get the best player they can? -- Gregory Wixo @GrandpaWix
Get the best player they can. I know it's cliché and I know people can find examples where a team's actions seem to contradict that theory, but I feel certain the Vikings have not predetermined which position they will address with their first pick and my guess is they have a handful or so of players they're expecting or hoping will be there because they feel value and need intersect and they feel those players can help the team in the short-term as well as in the long-term. If that list of players is dried up by the time pick No. 23 comes due, then the phones may be busy at Winter Park and wheelin', dealin' Rick Spielman will work some magic. Hang on tight, folks, it's going to be another fun ride on draft weekend for the purple faithful.
Is there any reasonable scenario in which the Vikings could land a top flight prospect like Ezekiel Elliott or Myles Jack? -- ZacharyDackaryDock @ZacharyBrian15
First off, I love the Twitter name. Too bad that isn't also your Twitter handle. Anyway…it is possible the Vikings land a top-flight prospect like this event at pick No. 23. Just look back to 2013, when Sharrif Floyd fell to No. 23 and the Vikings got him. I don't think anyone thought he would make it past No. 10 that year, and he made it all the way to No. 23. Crazy things happen every year in the draft.
I see and like the depth in the trenches of this year's draft. Whether it's a defensive lineman or offensive lineman, when do you think the earliest the Vikings grab a lineman is? -- Blake Dufner Denver, CO
Although quite unlikely, the Vikings could move up in the 1st round to grab an offensive lineman they love who has fallen further than anticipated. For example, if the Vikings are in love with Lineman A and he's still there when Atlanta is on the clock at No. 17, the Vikings could flip a 3rd-rounder to them in order to jump ahead of Indianapolis, Buffalo and the NY Jets, all of whom may be looking to grab a lineman in the 1st round. As for defensive linemen, this year's class is so talented and deep that trading up for one at 23 is unlikely, so the earliest a DL goes to the Vikings may be 23.
Do you like to get the picks as soon as possible via Twitter or do you like the suspense of real time? -- Alex Lawson @alexlawson91
Real-time suspense is the ticket, no question. I wish people would forget about trying to be first or even guess the position correctly and just let the draft play out.
What kind of value could the Vikings get for trading away our 1st-round pick? -- Zach C. Minneapolis, MN
It all depends on how far back you trade. If the Vikings traded back with Pittsburgh, for example, that would net the Vikings less than trading back with Denver would because Pittsburgh is moving up just two spots while Denver would be moving up eight spots. And if a team like Cleveland or Dallas moved from their spot early in the 2nd round up to the Vikings spot at No. 23, they would be paying significantly more for that jump than a team like Pittsburgh or Denver would pay for moving up from their spot in the 1st round.
Do you think people overlook Ohio State's Michael Thomas? -- Ian Smith Strasburg, VA
He's not typically mentioned with that first tier of receivers – Corey Coleman, Josh Doctson and Laquon Treadwell. So from that standpoint, I can see where someone who loves Thomas might feel he's being slighted by the public. But none of us really know how teams truly feel about Thomas yet, so it's unfair to accuse teams of overlooking him right now. There's a lot to like about him, most notably his size and ability to make catches in traffic.
Do you think the Vikings can draft a good wide receiver in a later round? -- Alex @Alex_Correa414
There's no doubt about it. They did so last year when they selected Stefon Diggs in the 5th-round. The Packers drafted Charles Johnson in the 7th round and Adam Thielen wasn't even drafted. There are many, many examples of WRs who become good players despite not being drafted early or not being drafted at all.
Do you think the Vikings could possibly draft CB Eli Apple at pick number 23? -- Casey B.
Of course it's possible; anything is possible. It seems unlikely given the Vikings are returning their top three CBs from last year plus they took Trae Waynes in the 1st round last year. But Terence Newman will turn 38 before the season starts and Captain Munnerlyn is on the final year of his contract, so I suppose one could begin to construct a compelling argument to take another CB in the 1st round, especially with six games against Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford on the docket every season.
There's only one wide receiver worth trading up for (Laquan Treadwell) and only two or three teams, including the Detroit Lions, who could possibly take a WR (in the 1st round). Treadwell is a big target with a huge catch radius, he's a polished route runner and he would be a great red zone and 3rd down target. He would be the perfect complement to Teddy. Assuming the Vikings are thinking WR and depending on who they may be targeting, do you feel trading up is a strong possibility? -- Dorian Joslin San Diego, CA
Although many of Dorian's statements are his opinions and not necessarily facts, I see where the line of thinking is going. It's the same as the scenario I mentioned above with an offensive lineman the team loves being available. If the Vikings feel strongly enough about a player and they fear that A) that player won't be there when they're on the clock and B) the depth at the position behind that player is so thin they won't get a swing at that position again in the draft, then I can see it as a possibility. But I can't go so far as to call it a strong possibility.
What are the chances a former Gopher gets drafted by the Vikings? They all seem to be at positions we could use. -- Jason T. @GopherJT
NFL.com has five former Gophers listed in their system as draft-eligible – CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, LB De'Vondre Campbell, DE Theiren Cockran, WR KJ Maye and CB Eric Murray. I don't know what the chances are that the Vikings draft any of those players, but I do know two things about this. First, being a former Gopher is not going to make them more attractive to the Vikings; the Vikings care about what kinds of people and players they are and how they can help the Vikings going forward. Secondly, even if they aren't drafted by the Vikings, they can still wind up on the Vikings roster because they may be good fits as undrafted free agents given the positions they play and given that they may have homes here and wouldn't have to travel far to try and make the team this offseason.
The Vikings spend nearly the whole year analyzing everything about all potential players in the draft. How does the staff incorporate the analysis and comparisons of the intangibles, perhaps the most important element, about a player into this process? It seems an almost impossible task but yet they do a great job with it. -- Mark Dundee, Scotland
There's no question that intangibles play a pivotal role in whether a player achieves success at the NFL level or not. Unlike 40-yard dash times or box score statistics, intangibles can't be measured or calculated objectively. They are measured by getting to know a player and by learning about that player through his family, friends, teachers, coaches, fellow community members, etc. And this is where scouting becomes a skill and an art, and is something not everyone can do at a high level with consistency. The men and women who are scouts for NFL teams put in tireless effort in compiling their reports and assigning a grade to each player, and that work includes analyzing the intangibles each player possesses. Kudos to those individuals, who right now at on the precipice of finalizing that work for 2016 and aren't that far away from beginning it for 2017.