Could the Vikings Trade the 12th Overall Pick?

NFL Draft season is in full swing, and with that comes some trade discussion. Sitting at the 12th overall pick, the Minnesota Vikings find themselves right in the middle of a group of picks that get traded on the regular. In each of the last six NFL Drafts, at least one pick between 10-13 has been traded. The last time this didn’t occur was 2015, and even then, No. 15 was traded.

You will recall that the Vikings traded away the No. 14 pick in the 2021 draft and moved down to No. 23. That is where they drafted the player they would have likely taken at 14, Christian Darrisaw. Obviously, a new regime is in place now, so it doesn’t guarantee Minnesota will follow a similar path, but it’s still worth keeping in mind. With that, here are two teams that could call the Vikings about the 12th pick.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Understandably, many people are down on this year’s QB class. There isn’t a true QB1 in this class, and none of them look like they should garner top-end draft capital.

That said, it’s still the QB position. The prospects will likely end up going higher than we think simply because of the value the position holds. One of those teams that value a young QB could be the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are now looking to move on past the Ben Roethlisberger era.

Currently, the Steelers hold the 20th overall pick in the first round. There should be some options at the QB position by the time that pick rolls around, but there are at least 3-4 teams above them that are also eying a first round quarterback. It might take a decent amount of capital to do it, but Pittsburgh could make a move to secure that they have their choice of players.

Carolina Panthers

In my opinion, this move makes more sense for the Vikings than a Steelers trade. Carolina is another team that may be eying a QB after their 2021 experiment of “throw every QB under the sun against a wall and see what sticks”. None of them stuck, and now the Panthers are back to the drawing board.

Carolina has the 6th overall pick, and that is the key part of this trade. If the Vikings are going to compete in 2022, they need to improve on the defensive side of the ball. Eight of my top ten choices for the Vikings first round pick play on the defensive side of the ball.

My number one choice for the Vikings is CB Ahmad Gardner, and a trade up to No. 6 would all but ensure he plays in purple this season. However, this trade also opens up another interesting wrinkle.

There is a growing movement that the Vikings should move on from Harrison Smith; if not this year, then in the near future. There are also others that could be moved. If a couple of the offensive tackles end up breaking into the top five, there’s a chance that star safety (and my personal favorite player in this class) begins falling down the board. If they are at No. 6, Hamilton’s fall could land him right into the Vikings hands. Again, it likely depends on how much capital the Vikings would have to send Carolina’s way, but it would be an aggressive move that sets the tone for the Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s tenure as GM.

For now, there is little indication that the Vikings will move from the 12th overall pick. However, it cannot be overlooked that this is a pick that very often gets passed around. In a wide open draft, a trade could mean the difference between landing a star prospect and just missing out.