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Smith: Spielman 'Most Exciting GM' on Draft Day

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The streak began with Harrison Smith in 2012.

Rick Spielman, in his first draft as Vikings GM and sixth overall with the club, sent second and fourth round picks to Baltimore for the 29th overall pick to select the safety near the end of the first round.

The use of "Trader Rick" as a nickname has since grown, with Spielman moving back into the first rounds in 2013 to select Cordarrelle Patterson 29th overall and last year when the Vikings swooped in to claim quarterback Teddy Bridgewater at 32nd.

It's unknown if the opening night of 2015's three-day event in Chicago will amount to another swap, but Smith said he plans to observe with a high level of interest.

"He's always making those moves, especially trading back into the first round," Smith said. "I think he's probably the most exciting GM to watch on draft day."

Smith said he'd have a hard time as a GM because he'd always be "looking to get a Notre Dame guy," but he fully appreciates the amount of preparation that goes into the search for future Vikings.

 "It's always fun to watch and know what those guys are going through," Smith said. "There's a lot of pressure up there. I definitely appreciate what those guys do, everything that goes on and thinking about your whole roster. There wouldn't be a lot of diversity, as far as schools go," if he was calling the shots.

Kyle Rudolph, another former Golden Domer who was drafted in the second round in 2011, agreed that Spielman adds intrigue to the event.

"It's always exciting, especially on Thursday night," Rudolph said. "The one constant you know watching the draft with those guys upstairs running it, they're going to go find guys that are great football players that fit in here in the locker room, high character guys that are going to come in here and help us win football games.

"You make sure you watch all 32 picks," Rudolph added. "If you would have gone to sleep last year, you would have missed Teddy at 32, so I'll definitely make sure I'm watching all 32 picks to see what happens."

THROWBACK THURSDAY:

The Vikings enter the draft with seven picks, including the 11th overall selection, but Spielman said he wouldn't mind moving down in the first round. Click here for three reasons why that might be the case.

If they do, however, stay in that slot, it would mark the third selection from the 11th spot out of the 54 previous drafts in franchise history.

Minnesota drafted Florida State defensive end Derrick Alexander 11th in 1995 and Central Florida quarterback Daunte Culpepper in 1999. Both times, those picks had been acquired in trades.

The Vikings are also scheduled to pick 45th, 76th, 110th, 137th, 228th and 232nd. Here are prior picks by the Vikings at each position:

45th
Roy Winston, LB, LSU, 1962
Robin Sendlein, LB, Texas, 1981
James Manley, DT, Vanderbilt, 1996

76th
Bob Hall, DB, Brown, 1966
Mike McGill, LB, Notre Dame, 1968
Eddie Hackett, WR, Alcorn A&M, 1971

110th
Kivuusama Mays, LB, North Carolina, 1998

137th
Sean Boyd, S, North Carolina, 1996
John David Booty, QB, Southern Cal, 2008

228th
No players selected from this spot

232nd
Veran Smith, LB, Utah State, 1965
Tim Sullivan, RB, Iowa, 1971
Charles Goodrum, G, Florida A&M, 1972
Sam McCullum, WR, Montana State, 1974
Dennis Mosley, RB/WR, Iowa, 1980
Mike Slaton, DB, South Dakota, 1986
Gerald Hudson, RB, Oklahoma State, 1991
Jose White, DT, Howard, 1995

SWEET HOME CHICAGO?

The last time the NFL Draft was held in Chicago was Dec. 3, 1963 for the 1964 season. The Vikings started and ended the 20-round selection process by drafting Minnesota Golden Gophers, tabbing eventual Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller with the sixth overall pick and guard Milt Sunde at the 271st slot.

The draft was shortened to 17 rounds from 1967-76, to 12 rounds from 1977-92, to eight rounds in 1993 and to seven in 1994.

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