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More Draft-Day Trades? Vikings Have Fielded Calls for 1st-Round Picks

EAGAN, Minn. — It seems nobody loves a draft-day trade more than Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman.

This is a man who has made 32 draft-day trades since he became GM in 2012, a number that does not include swaps involving players and picks that occurred before or after a draft.

Heck, Spielman made four separate trades in the third round of the 2019 draft, when Minnesota originally had the 81st spot.

Spielman moved down to No. 88 … then down to No. 92 … and then No. 93 … before finally trading down to the 102nd spot, where the Vikings drafted running back Alexander Mattison.

Spielman chatted with the Twin Cities media earlier this week on a video conference call and said he's fielded calls regarding Minnesota's Day 1 picks (Nos. 22 and 25).

"I've had calls already, opportunities of people trying to trade up, and I've also had teams that are in front of us that wanted to trade back. I think it all depends how the draft board unfolds on Thursday," Spielman said. "For example, I would say if we stay at 22, and we have maybe seven or eight names still up there, to move back from 25 to gain another pick and still get the same quality of player.

"An example: Last year, we moved back in the third round and still had Mattison targeted and were able to still get him." Spielman added. "A lot of that manipulation on the draft board depends on what's up there, how you have the draft board stacked and how far are you willing to go back without risk of losing a particular player."

Spielman's pseudo scenario involved the Vikings keeping their pick at No. 22, but then moving down from No. 25 if they could get a similar player — either later in the first round or early in the second round — to who they could have gotten with their second Day 1 pick.

Spielman added that he has fielded numerous calls already, all of which of centered around the first round.

The Vikings GM was part of a league-wide, virtual mock draft that occurred Monday. He said the Vikings engaged in some internal mock trades that could come to fruition during the draft.

"We had some mock trades through the draft [Monday]," Spielman said. "We were doing some mock trades with some teams that may end up being a reality, who knows?"

While Spielman has traded up, down and around the first round in years past, the majority of his moves have been on Day 2 and 3.

He noted that there were trades happening left and right a year ago, with 16 on Day 2 and 16 more on Day 3, meaning front offices feel comfortable dealing with one another. And if the virtual and technological aspect of the draft goes smoothly, Spielman said that might mean even more of a comfort level.

"I think the more people get comfortable and confident being able to do that, hopefully it'll be active," Spielman said. "We're very comfortable in our ability to do that, but I don't know how other teams feel right now.

"So, I think if there's no really significant glitches as [picks] are being made, maybe teams feel more comfortable in continuing to do as many picks?," Spielman added. "I can't remember the number last year of trades made, but I think there were maybe 16 or 18 on Friday and 16 or 18 on Saturday. I'm just as curious to see if that type of trading will continue, even in this virtual setting that we're in."

And while most trades tend to evolve when a team is on the clock, Spielman believes they could take shape in conversations between teams that are off the clock over the next few days.

No matter how things shape up, you can bet Spielman will be actively working the phones, whether a trade actually occurs or not.

It's all part of the fun for Spielman. After all, this is his favorite time of year.

"It's going to be exciting. I know it's exciting from the standpoint of what we always do, adding to this roster, but I think the most exciting [thing is], it's something new, it's something different," Spielman said of the virtual draft. "It's something that's challenging, and I think everybody on our staff and everybody is excited about this opportunity that we're going to get a chance to add some players that will help our roster.

"And we're going to do it differently — virtually —this year," Spielman added.