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Trade Demand For Vikings #3 Pick Still A Good Possibility

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 19, 2012 – 6:02 am

Late last week we examined the possibility of a robust trade market emerging for the Vikings #3 pick, with former Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill’s proposed inflated draft stock being the genesis of the demand for the Vikings selection.

One could assume Tannehill will be in high demand because he’s regarded as the 3rd best QB prospect in this year’s draft and the first two prospects – Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III – will be selected with the first two picks.

As was theorized in that blog entry, QB-needy teams such as Cleveland, Miami and Seattle who miss out on QBs in free agency will be looking to upgrade their QB situations on draft day. With that being the case, those teams could opt to trade up to the Vikings slot in order to select Tannehill.

One aspect of this entire theory we didn’t mention was the possibility that any of those aforementioned teams who strike a deal with a QB in free agency (Peyton Manning, for example) might displace a QB on their roster, thus giving teams who are still looking to improve another option. For example, if the San Francisco 49ers sign Manning, that leaves Alex Smith as an alternative for other teams. If the Tennessee Titans sign Manning, that leaves Matt Hasselbeck as an alternative. None of this helps the Vikings, but I also think it won’t eliminate the chance that some team will want to trade up for the Vikings #3 overall pick.

Over the weekend, the 2nd-best free agent QB signed with one of the QB-needy teams identified above. The Seattle Seahawks signed Flynn, taking them off the menu of teams that might consider trading up to select Tannehill. The good news is, though, that the Seahawks signing of Flynn does not make available a new QB. Seattle is expected to retain last year’s starter (Tarvaris Jackson) and have a competition for the starting spot.

So where does that leave our theory on a robust market developing for the Vikings #3 overall pick? There’s still a good chance. As of right now, I’m pegging Cleveland and Miami as the two teams most likely to consider trading up to the Vikings spot for the right to select Tannehill. The Dolphins weren’t able to sign Flynn, and they will lose out on the Manning sweepstakes as well. As for Cleveland, they have Colt McCoy as their starter now, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that they’re looking to upgrade. On top of that, Cleveland is in the 4th spot, so they won’t have to pay as much as Miami to move up and secure the rights to Tannehill.

There could be others, too. A lot can happen between now and draft day, plus you can never rule out the possibility of a surprise team emerging late in the process. If Denver misses out on Manning, could they be candidates to trade up for Tannehill? How about Arizona, Buffalo or Kansas City?

So as has been the case for months, the Vikings are in a great spot as holders of the #3 overall pick. And they have well over a month before the NFL draft to figure out how to maximize their great position. As explained last week, the ideal scenario is for the Browns to feel compelled to trade up one spot to block other teams further down in the 1st round from doing so, which will net the Vikings draft-pick compensation while moving them down just one spot so they can still get their player of choice.


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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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Vikings Are On The Clock, And In Great Position

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 12, 2012 – 5:32 am

The Vikings hold the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and won’t make their selection until the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins choose in front of them. But for all intents and purposes, the Vikings are already on the clock.

The Colts are widely expected to take QB Andrew Luck at #1, and now that the QB-needy Washington Redskins have traded into the #2 spot, it’s safe to assume that Robert Griffin III will be the choice right after Luck.

That leaves the Vikings at #3, but essentially they have the #1 overall choice for all non-QB players. The Vikings could do what the St. Louis Rams did with their pick (originally #2 overall) and auction it off to any team enamored with WR Justin Blackmon, CB Morris Claiborne, LT Matt Kalil or any other player of choice. Furthermore, the Vikings will now have roughly six weeks to assess any trade offers that might come their way, whereas typically teams only have 5-10 minutes (while they’re on the clock on draft day) to make such an important decision.

If they don’t receive a trade offer to their liking or any trade offer at all, the Vikings can simply stay put at #3 and select the highest-rated non-QB on their entire draft board.

Either way, the Vikings are in a great spot. They’ll select an immediate impact player at a position of need with the 3rd pick, or they’ll move back and receive draft-pick compensation in return, while still getting a talented player who can help out right away.

Fans, what do you think? Kalil seems to be the natural fit, but do any of you feel Blackmon or Claiborne would be a better choice? And for those of you who want the Vikings to trade back, what’s the furthest you’d want to drop back? Let us know by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below this entry.


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Decompressing After Information Overload On Friday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 25, 2012 – 9:13 am

Today the OL and special teams players will have their on-field workouts, QBs, WRs and RBs will go through more administrative duties and the DL and LBs will arrive. But before we worry about today, let’s go over a few important developments from Friday.

– I once again joined radio voice of the Vikings Paul Allen for his 3-hour morning show on KFAN and we had a rock-star list of guests all day. Dallas Morning News columnist Rick “Goose” Gosselin joined us right out of the gate and was excellent. If you’re not familar with him, Gosselin is known as a heavy hitter in the draft analyst world, specifically as it relates to researching players, speaking with NFL teams and then compiling highly accurate mock drafts. Last year, Gosselin had Tennessee taking Jake Locker and he even had the Redskins taking Christian Ponder at #10. Anyway, we had an NFL-wide type of conversation with Gosselin, but he did say he is optimistic on Ponder for the Vikings and he also thinks this year’s draft features great depth at CB, which is good news for a Vikings team that will need to add CBs in the middle rounds of the draft.

– Leslie Frazier joined us midway through the show and we touched on a variety of topics with him. I’ll refer you to KFAN’s on-demand page so you can listen to the whole interview, but Frazier was great with us and it was fun to catch up with him. One of the most interesting points came right at the end when PA brought up the Chris Cook situation. It’s a sticky issue to speak on, even for me, so I won’t get into it much here. But Frazier said the team basically has to plan as if he won’t be on the team because of the uncertainty that surrounds his off-field issues. That’s not to say Frazier is predicting Cook won’t be with the team, but it is to say that in some cases you have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

– One more interesting takeaway from the Frazier conversation is that he indicated the Vikings may be looking to play some more man coverage in the future, rather than relying on almost exclusively zone coverage. That part of the conversation began when I asked him about the physical characteristics he looks for in a CB. The stigma with Frazier and his defense is that he wants big, physical CBs who jam receivers at the line and then drop back into zone coverage. Frazier responded with his comment about playing more man coverage and about looking for CBs who are just good football players, regardless of size and build.

– NFL Network and CBS analyst Charley Casserly joined us just after Frazier and he provided some great insight as well. On Ponder, Casserly said: “I think he’s going to be fine. I think they reached on him when they drafted him, but most quarterbacks are reached on.” That’s a great point by Casserly, a guy who was a GM in the NFL for 20+ years and who wisely chose DE Mario Williams over RB Reggie Bush – despite consensus that Bush should’ve been the top pick – when he was GM of the Houston Texans.

– We also had other guests on the show, including NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, Rich Gannon, former Vikings S Jack Brewer, MN native and sports agent Blake Baratz. To check all of it out in on-demand format, head to the KFAN audio section of vikings.com by clicking here or you can also go to this page on KFAN.com.


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