Vikings finding mutual interest in trading down, Rick Spielman says
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Two days before the NFL Draft kicks off, the Minnesota Vikings have narrowed their internal discussions to "six or seven options" with the No. 12 overall pick and also have found mutual interest in trading down, vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said on Tuesday.
The personnel department, scouts and coaches wrapped intensive meetings to set their draft board late last week, then reconvened on Monday to go through mock drafts and hash out a wide variety of situations that could transpire in Round 1 and beyond.
"At the 12th overall pick, I know one thing -- we're going to get a very good football player," Spielman said during his annual pre-draft media conference at the team's Winter Park headquarters.
"What position? I don't know what it's going to be. I know we have six or seven options at that pick, all different positions. There are a couple multiple players at the same position. We've stacked those guys, if both of them were there, how we would take them off accordingly.
"We've also been very active on the phones, trying to trade back. We've had three or four teams (that have) already called us on potentially moving up to the 12th spot. So, we're going to look at all of those options. But a lot of that won't happen until we're actually on the clock."
It's common for trades to be executed during the 10-minute window for teams to make their first-round picks. However, Spielman acknowledged there is more uncertainty and thus more difficulty to project other teams' plans this year, since the NFL lockout has delayed the start of free agency and kept teams from filling holes.
"Now going into it, this is the first opportunity that any team in the NFL is going to have to start filling needs as they prepare for the next season," Spielman said. "I think from a strategic standpoint, you look at it a little differently, because you don't know what's going to happen."
There's no question the Vikings' greatest need is at quarterback. And though Spielman has been careful to play up the chances of going another direction at No. 12 -- "there's some guys middle and there's some guys late that we really think have an opportunity to be some pretty decent quarterbacks in this league," he said -- coach Leslie Frazier reiterated the urgency of filling the most important position.
"We have some ideas about some people that we really, really like, and we'll just have to see how things play out," Frazier said. "Some of what you like depends on what happens ahead of you and sometimes behind you. So, we'll just have to see how things go."
Offensive line, defensive end, cornerback and perhaps receiver also figure to factor in the discussion about options with that top pick. The chances of trading back -- perhaps recouping the third-round pick the Vikings blew in the Randy Moss fiasco -- probably would have as much to do with who's available as the package they could get in return.
Spielman wouldn't rule out trading up either "if we felt that strongly about a player." He wouldn't even rule out trading out of Round 1 completely, although that seems like a long-shot scenario for a team that doesn't see itself in full rebuilding mode.
"If one of those players we have in the top five falls to us at 12, I can tell you right now we're not going to trade out. We're going to take him at 12," Spielman said. "But again, you're just going to have to sit back, you're going to have to be patient and you're going to have to wait and then you're going to have to weigh in, when you're on that clock, look at your options. How many bodies do you have left (on the board)?"