NFL releases tentative draft order: Vikings have 5 of first 117 picks
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings are slated to have five of the first 117 picks in April's NFL Draft, according to the tentative draft order released by the league on Thursday.
That number likely will change after the NFL hands out compensatory picks during next month's league meetings in Phoenix. But the extra selection they acquired in a trade with Detroit during last year's draft gives them extra bargaining power in the middle rounds.
"I think we're going to get an excellent football player at 23, if we're there," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. "And I think, through the first four rounds, to have that extra fourth-round pick this year -- that we were able to change a fifth into a fourth this year from Detroit -- that will be valuable as well.
"I think (with) the depth of this draft class, you're going to get some pretty significant players that can come in and help you win ballgames."
The Vikings own their own picks in all seven rounds, plus Detroit's pick in the fourth round and Arizona's pick in the seventh. The only teams with more picks than the Vikings' nine are San Francisco (11) and Seattle (10). Miami also has nine.
The Lions sent the fourth-rounder to the Vikings last April for the fifth-round pick they used to select linebacker Tahir Whitehead. (The teams also flopped 2012 seventh-round picks, with the Vikings using theirs on Trevor Guyton, who didn't make the team.)
The Vikings acquired another sixth-round pick in 2013 from Tennessee for one of their seventh-round picks (acquired from Cleveland) in 2012. But they gave that to Arizona, which flopped them a seventh-rounder for cornerback A.J. Jefferson on cutdown weekend.
The NFL awards compensatory picks at the bottom of rounds three through seven based on free-agent gains and losses. It is highly unlikely the Vikings will receive any comp picks this year.
They own the No. 23 pick in the first round based on their record and a stronger strength of schedule than fellow 10-6 playoff teams Cincinnati and Washington. The teams rotate between the 21st and 23rd picks in subsequent rounds.
1. (23) 23rd overall
2. (22) 52nd overall
3. (21) 83rd overall
4. (4) 98th overall* (from Detroit)
4. (23) 117th overall*
5. (22) 148th overall*
6. (21) 179th overall*
7. (7) 197th overall*
7. (23) 213th overall*
* Subject to change after compensatory picks are awarded