It is a foregone conclusion that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will be the first 2 players taken in the NFL Draft in two weeks. The debate starts at the #3 pick. The Minnesota Vikings currently hold that pick. Do they stay with the pick or trade out of that spot? Ryan Tannehill has been rising up every team's draft boards and is threatening to crack the top 5, maybe even the top 3 picks for the NFL Draft. The Vikings used a first round pick last year on Christian Ponder and seem willing to give him the reigns to the offense for at least one more year. With that in mind, we will look at the possible options for the Vikings during the draft.
Keep the pick
The need for a left offensive tackle is very large for the Minnesota Vikings. They let Bryant McKinnie go last year after he showed up over 370 pounds. The need was very evident last year as the Vikings struggled to protect the quarterback all year. Donovan McNabb, Christian Ponder, & Joe Webb all had to get rid of the ball early, take a sack, or scramble for their life. The addition of Matt Kalil from USC would greatly solidify the blind side of the quarterback for the next 10 years. Kalil is the highest rated tackle to come out of college since Joe Thomas for the Cleveland Browns – he is an annual Pro-Bowl selection.
Trade with Cleveland Browns
It seems like an odd situation when a team may trade up 1 spot in the draft, but that may happen this year with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have holes at every position on the roster and know that Colt McCoy is not the answer for the future of the franchise. The Browns own the #4 pick in the draft and many think they would be happy to draft running back Trent Richardson from Alabama with the pick. If you study all of the great running backs in the NFL, most have not won a Super Bowl. LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy, Maurice Jones-Drew are all current players who are considered great running backs and have not won a Super Bowl. The need to have a great quarterback is becoming more evident every day for a team to have a chance at a World Championship.
The Browns could trade up with the Vikings to take Ryan Tannehill at the #3 spot. What would they have to give up?? The answer has a lot to do with the Miami Dolphins who pick at #8. If they offer their 2nd first round pick, #22 overall, the Vikings could find a very decent wide receiver and STILL draft Matt Kalil to solidify the offensive line. If it is the 2nd round pick, #37 overall, The Vikings could fulfill a need at wide receiver with the likes of Stephen Hill out of out of Georgia Tech, Rueben Randle out of LSU or Alshon Jeffrey out of South Carolina. They could also look at the cornerback position with Janoris Jenkins from North Alabama or Alfonso Dennard from Nebraska. In this scenario the Vikings would be picking at #35 & #37. If it is a 3rd round pick, #67 overall, the Vikings could address several needs like those listed above or look at Guard Amini Silatolu from Midwestern State or Kelechi Osemele from Iowa State. They could also look at Safety George Iloka from Boise State.
Trade with Miami Dolphins
This has been a terrible off-season for the Miami Dolphins losing their best wide receiver in a trade and their top quarterback in free agency. The Dolphins have not been able to sign any significant free agents either and look to be a team in turmoil. The need of a quarterback is vital for a team desperate for an identity and a reason for the fans to have a glimmer of hope. Like the Browns above, Ryan Tannehill would be the target for Miami to trade up to the #3 spot. The Dolphins have the #8 pick in the draft and would have to put together a package better then the Browns would offer.
It has been rumored by former Indianapolis Colts GM and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian that the Dolphins could offer a swap of picks in the 1st as well as their 2nd and 3rd round picks, numbers 42 & 72 respectively. In this scenario the Vikings can still sign an offensive tackle like Riley Reiff or wide receiver like Michael Floyd and also fill their other need areas at cornerback, guard, and safety all by the 3rd round. It is not that far of a stretch that Tackle Matt Kalil from USC could still be available. Look at the scenario below:
#3 Miami Dolphins – Quarterback Ryan Tannehill
#4 Cleveland Browns – Running Back Trent Richardson
#5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Cornerback Morris Claiborne
#6 St Louis Rams – Wide Receiver Justin Blackmon
#7 Jacksonville Jaguars – Wide Receiver Michael Floyd
General Manager Rick Spielman has stated that the Vikings will build through the draft. The trading of the 3rd overall pick this year will accomplish that in a big hurry if the draft falls according to the above scenarios. Right now the Vikings have 10 picks in the draft this year. They may have 1 or 2 more, and those would be of the higher variety, to make this team more competitive in a hurry.