What Trading Up in the First-Round in 2020 Would Actually Take

We recently launched our internal community/social media arm, VikeGeist, and one of the larger topics that have come up again and again in the days after the Vikings traded Stefon Diggs for four draft picks (three net) is whether or not the team should trade up in this year’s draft.

Many people have come up with different scenarios for moving up from the two first-round picks the team will have, with picks at 22 (thanks to the Diggs trade) and 25 (thanks to their 10-6 season). So, I thought it might be helpful to post something that points out how the logic behind those moves work, to at least ensure that we’re all operating with the best information when… typing in all caps about the Vikings at 3 a.m…

As mentioned above, the Vikings’ 10-6 2019 record landed them the 25th overall pick in the first round of the 2020 draft. Fans aren’t the only group making predictions about the draft and the 2020 season, with different sites in the ever-expanding realm of sports betting also making predictions.

As of the writing of this article, there are sites that are predicting their 2020-21 record, with the projection this season is of 9 winning according to SBD, although sites like that do admit that things could change depending on what the Vikings do this off-season (free agency/the draft).

If you’ve read any of my admitted reactionary posts from the last week, you’ll know that I’d take the under on those nine wins, as the team has essentially dismantled itself in every way possible (letting free agents walk, letting players opt-out of contracts, trading superstars that are in their peak a la Stefon Diggs, and more).

That dismantling has, though, given the Vikings a tremendous amount of draft and financial capital, so it is worth looking at exactly what they could do in the remainder of the off-season to rebuild the defense, offensive line, and receiver core.

One of the main ways people have pointed to is by bundling some of the draft picks they’ve received via the Diggs trade and the recently announced compensatory draft picks to land a better first-round pick. Or combining both first-round picks to move up in that round.

Most people don’t pay attention to the point system each draft attaches to each pick. So, let’s take a look at how many points each pick is worth, at least according to WalterFootball.com, to see what trading up to the top 10, top 15 (etc.) would take.

Spielman’s love for 7th round picks finally makes sense! All we need is 1,500 ‘Mr. Irrelevent’ picks to get that number 1 pick!

As you can see, the first overall pick is worth 3,000 points. The 22 and 25 picks that the Vikings have are worth 780 and 720 points, respectively. Those two picks combined, then, are worth exactly half the number one overall pick. That 1,500 points, then, would arguably get the Vikes a pick somewhere around the 6th, 7th or 8th pick.

The question then is whether or not it’d make sense for the Vikings to trade up to the top ten, or whether they should sit pat at 22 and 25.

I think that it’s fairly obvious that the team has so many needs that it makes more sense to have more picks in the first round than less, as they’re not one top ten player away from really doing anything of consequence.

Instead, they should look at their own recent history under general manager Rick Spielman. The Vikings have had a couple of seasons where they had multiple first-round picks, those seasons being the 2012 NFL Draft (where they had two first-round picks), and 2013 (where they had three). 2014 (where they had two). The team also had two first-round picks in 2005 after trading Randy Moss to the Oakland Raiders.

In those drafts the team netted:

  • Matt Kalil
  • Harrison Smith
  • Sharrif Floyd
  • Xavier Rhodes
  • Cordarrelle Patterson
  • Anthony Barr
  • Teddy Bridgewater
  • Erasmus James (2005)
  • Troy Williamson (2005)

Those drafts were long looked at as what built the core of this team, the core that had (even with its faults) kept the championship window open in Minnesota longer than we’re used to. Sure, that may have been all false hope or rather, rooted in an unrealistic view of the team’s potential, but it was still based on something tangible enough for us to believe that this team had an opportunity to win.

Considering the fact that we’re suddenly looking at a team that has a tremendous need at corner (both outside and nickel), safety, defensive tackle(s) and ends, most of the offensive line (left guard, right guard, left tackle), wide receiver and more… It just makes more sense for this team to stand pat (or even trade down) whenever the draft comes, as they are more than one player away from doing anything of substance in 2020 and beyond.

While I believe the moves made by this team has shown that they understand that, it’s looking like a lot of fans believe that the team can trade up and find player X come draft day. At least now they know what it’d take.