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4 Picks in 3rd Round Give Vikings Flexibility Entering Day 2

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings would have been more than happy to get Christian Darrisaw with the 14th overall pick Thursday night.

But the fact that Minnesota was still able to land the Virginia Tech tackle at No. 23, and acquire more draft capital in the process, was simply a win-win for Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and his staff.

"After you get out of that top 10 in the draft, everybody's boards are probably going to be different," Spielman said. "You see teams kind of manipulating around to make sure they got the guys they wanted. Everybody — I don't want to call it falls in love with a guy that they want to go get — I think they're all going to be great players. Teams made a lot of great picks.

"All I can speak on is we were considering [Darrisaw] strongly at 14," Spielman added. "To still be able to get him where we got him … that was a great night for us."

Minnesota swung a first-round trade by moving down from No. 14 to No. 23, giving up a fourth-round pick (No. 143) in the process.

But the haul that Spielman got back — No. 23, plus a pair of third-rounders (picks 66 and 86) — now means the Vikings are in a prime spot.

As it stands now, Minnesota is positioned with a quartet of third-round selections (Nos. 66, 78, 86 and 90). The Vikings already had picks 78 and 90 entering the draft.

Minnesota also has a trio of fourth-rounders (Nos. 119, 125 and 134), two fifth-round picks (Nos. 157 and 168) and a sixth-round selection (No. 199) for a grand total of 10 selections remaining over the final six rounds.

View photos of Christian Darrisaw being announced as the 23rd overall pick at the NFL Draft in Cleveland, Ohio.

But it's the four picks in the third round that bear watching on Friday, as the Vikings could stand pat and add a large haul of solid talent in a 24-pick span.

Or, Spielman could swing yet another trade — or more — and maneuver around the board, including potentially moving up into the second round.

"That was critical, too. If you're the second pick in the third round, it gives you a lot of opportunity to do a lot of things [Friday]," Spielman said. "It could be we move up; we've got more than enough ammunition to move up into the second round. Or maybe we move down and get six third-round picks …

"No, just kidding," Spielman said with a laugh from the podium at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.

Based on this Draft Pick Trade Value Chart from DraftTek, those four picks in the third round have a combined value of 760 points. The first pick of the second round, No. 33, is valued at 580 points.

So yes, as Spielman said, the Vikings have more than enough draft capital to jump up if they so choose.

"We'll see what happens [Friday]. You get a lot of calls," Spielman added. "I don't put a lot into those calls until you're actually on the clock or teams are two or three picks ahead of you or two or three picks below you because you have a better vision of what player is going to fall to you."

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Thursday night that he could also envision a scenario where Minnesota does not sit pat.

"We don't have a 2, so it may give us an opportunity to move back into the second round and do some things that way," Zimmer said. "Rick loves to trade."

If Minnesota does move up into the second round, the hope is that the Vikings get an impact player, much like second-rounders such as Eric Kendricks, Dalvin Cook, Brian O'Neill and Mackensie Alexander have proven to be in recent drafts.

And if not, Spielman has hit on third-rounders such as Danielle Hunter, Alexander Mattison and Cameron Dantzler since 2015.

Either way, the Vikings have plenty of flexibility entering Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

And all of this after getting Darrisaw at No. 23, a pick that could solidify the left tackle spot for years to come.


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