Trade Market Emerging For Vikings #3 Pick?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 16, 2012 – 3:58 pm

As I’ve written about several times and have discussed even more on the radio air waves, the Vikings have been and continue to be in a great position as holders of the #3 overall pick. And now I’m wondering if that position will get even better. Let’s think about it…

Several teams entered the offseason with a need at the QB position. Obviously the Indianapolis Colts will satisfy that need by selecting Andrew Luck with the #1 pick. With the Washington Redskins trading up from #6 to #2 with the St. Louis Rams, it looks as if they’ll try to solve their QB situation with Robert Griffin III. Many thought the Vikings potential to trade back from #3 took a major hit after the Rams-Redskins trade, but that may not be the case.

As we stand right now, several QB-needy teams remain. We’ll count the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks as teams looking to upgrade their starting QBs. The two most attractive options on the open market are Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn. Manning appears to be heading to either the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers or Tennessee Titans, leaving the three aforementioned QB-needy teams still in need. Flynn, who has been linked to Miami because of his connection to Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin from their time together in Green Bay, is also on Seattle’s radar. He’ll likely go to one of those two franchises, leaving the other and the Browns as teams still looking to upgrade their QB situations.

And that’s where I believe the trade market for the Vikings #3 selection comes into play. After Luck and RG3, the top QB prospect in this year’s draft is Ryan Tannehill. An objective, isolated look at Tannehill would probably not yield a Top 10 grade in the 1st round, but with QB being such a vital position and with this year’s Top 2 QBs expected to go with the first two overall selections, Tannehill’s draft stock will become inflated.

In fact, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King recently pondered – via twitter – the possibility that any team looking to acquire the former Texas A&M QB may have to move up to the Top 4. Cleveland holds the #4 pick, which means that any QB-needy team that loses out on the Manning and Flynn sweepstakes must deal with the Vikings at #3 if they want a guaranteed shot at Tannehill before the Browns selection.

What does this mean for the Vikings? Well, there is a chance that none of this plays out and the Vikings will either stay at #3 and select a player of their choice, or they’ll have to leverage the availability of players such as WR Justin Blackmon, CB Morris Claiborne and RB Trent Richardson to other teams in order to trade back. But there’s also a chance that the market for Tannehill blows up to the point that some team(s) will seriously consider trading up to #3 in order to secure the opportunity to select him.

If that does indeed happen, the Vikings will have to decide how far back they’re willing to drop. If the Seahawks lose out on Manning and Flynn, resulting in a desire to trade up, the Vikings would have to be willing to drop down to #12, which means LT Matt Kalil as well as Blackmon and Claiborne, would surely be gone. If it’s Miami, the deal is a bit better for the Vikings because the Dolphins hold the #8 pick, but Blackmon and Claiborne would still likely be gone. Keep in mind, Tannehill’s college head coach was Mike Sherman, who is now the Dolphins Offensive Coordinator.

The ideal scenario, in my view, would be for Cleveland to move up 1 spot from #4 to #3 in order to select Tannehill. That would ensure the availability of Blackmon, Claiborne and Kalil for the Vikings.

It’s a lot to digest, but the moral of the story is a robust trade market could emerge for the Vikings #3 overall pick, which is a great thing for a franchise coming off a 3-13 season and in rebuilding mode. As they’ve been the entire time, the Vikings are in great position with the #3 pick and I look forward to watching Rick Spielman and Co. leverage that great position in order to improve this roster.

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Free Agent CB, OL Possibilities For Vikings, Report Says

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 16, 2012 – 11:00 am

Many Vikings fans have been clamoring for the team to address the secondary and offensive line in free agency, and have grown impatient with the perceived lack of development in that effort. Those fans should be happy to learn, then, that the Vikings may soon look to address each position.

Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that the Vikings may host free agent OL Geoff Schwartz in the near future, and that there could be interest in free agent DB Alan Ball. I have not confirmed with any team officials as to whether this is the case or not, but we’ll pass along information to you if the team confirms these, or any other, developments.

If the team is indeed interested in Schwartz, it would make a lot of sense. Schwartz can play G or RT, and he played for Vikings OL coach Jeff Davidson in Carolina. The Panthers selected Schwartz with a 7th-round pick in 2008, but he was able to make the team and progress into a steady contributor, playing 32 games with 19 starts over 4 seasons. He’ll turn 26 in July, and fits the themes of free agency that I like for the Vikings – get younger and surround Christian Ponder with talented offensive pieces.

While it’d be premature to declare Schwartz a starter if he wound up with the Vikings, he would compete for a starting job at either LG or RG most likely, and at a minimum he could be a versatile reserve lineman capable of playing up to three positions. Again, I’ve not confirmed the Vikings interest in Schwartz, but it would make a lot of sense.

As for Ball, Fowler states in his report that the 6-2 DB “is probably a more natural fit at corner,” but it sounds like Ball can also play safety. Ball was also a 7th round pick, with Dallas selecting him out of Illinois in 2007. As is the case with Schwartz, being a 7th-round pick might not excite fans. But you do have to give him credit for entering the NFL with little expectation, but then carving out a multi-year career with the team that drafted him.

Just as I said with Schwartz, I have not confirmed the team’s interest in Ball. But he fits a position of need for the Vikings and we’ll watch all weekend and into next week to see if anything materializes on that front.

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