Compensatory Picks Unlikely to Arrive Following Vikings’ Free Agency

Not too long ago, the Vikings were awarded a 6th-round pick as a result of losing TE Tyler Conklin to the Jets last offseason.

If things proceed as expected, Minnesota won’t be able to add on more picks for 2024. The Vikings’ free agency approach was fairly aggressive, all things considered. At times, things moved slowly for Minnesota.

However, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has brought in four significant free agents: TE Josh Oliver, EDGE Marcus Davenport, CB Byron Murphy, and DE Dean Lowry. True, the losses of Dalvin Tomlinson and Patrick Peterson are notable, but the team has also retained Garrett Bradbury, Andrew DePaola, Greg Joseph, and Alexander Mattison. In so doing, there are less chances of recouping added draft capital.

The Vikings’ Free Agency Approach and Compensatory Selections

Before free agency got going, Over the Cap wrote a piece looking ahead to teams that have a strong chance of landing 2024 compensatory selections. According to OTC, the Vikings had a “High” chance of bringing in the extra draft capital. Take a look:

The Vikings have a very solid contingent of pending UFAs. Garrett Bradbury, Alexander Mattison, and Irv Smith, Jr. are all younger players looking for their first bigger veteran contract. Dalvin Tomlinson continues to play well as he looks for his third contract. Chandon Sullivan was a surprise heavy contributor that might look to take the next step elsewhere, and Patrick Peterson cannot be counted out to continue an outstanding career.

The final line proved prophetic. Peterson has gone to the Steelers to help revitalize their secondary after Cameron Sutton – a top FA for the Vikings – ended up signing with the Lions. Tomlinson will be helping out Kevin Stefanski in Cleveland.

Should the Vikings Bring Back Patrick Peterson in 2023?
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) celebrates his interception during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Now, before getting any further, a brief word on how these picks get sent out.

A piece on the NFL’s website offers some clarity for how these picks are allocated: “To qualify for compensatory picks, teams must end up with more or better qualifying free agents lost than gained in a particular year.” The piece goes on: “Teams are awarded compensatory draft picks between Rounds 3 and 7 based upon a league formula that takes into account a player’s average salary per year (APY), snap count and postseason awards.”

Frankly, the league works in a somewhat mysterious way when it comes to these picks, preferring enigmatic confusion to straightforward clarity. Regardless, we know that when a team loses impact FAs on large deals – assuming they haven’t brought in an equal number of impact FAs – there’s a good chance compensatory picks are coming back.

In essence, the league’s pursuit of parity involves handing out extra draft picks to teams that lose a lot of free agent talent, thus helping to offset the sting of that loss.

Last week, we learned that the 49ers landed a stunning 7 compensatory selections. Brilliant stuff when we consider that they were a powerhouse last year.

Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury (56) and center Mason Cole. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

As the above quote from OTC suggests, the Vikings entered free agency with a lot of notable players available. Irv Smith, Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley, Chandon Sullivan, Alexander Mattison, Garrett Bradbury, and Greg Joseph were the team’s most notable internal free agents.

At present, Shelley stands out as a player who makes a ton of sense to bring back.

The first day of legal tampering was painfully slow at times for Minnesota. TE Josh Oliver was the first addition, a surprising move that caught essentially everyone off guard. On Monday night, word emerged that EDGE Marcus Davenport would be beefing up Minnesota’s pass rushing department. Partnering Oliver with T.J. Hockenson and then Davenport with Danielle Hunter offers the offense and defense with some intriguing upside.

Since then, we’ve seen Murphy enter the fold, thus satisfying the team’s main deficiency: a lack of a true CB1. Last night, we learned that the DL depth was bolstered by bringing Dean Lowry aboard. In total, Minnesota has 4 significant additions in comparison to just 2 departures, meaning things don’t look great for more compensatory selections.

In the end, what matters the most is being able to compete in 2023, not add on late-round picks in 2024 (something that is appealing). Going on a deep playoff run and – we could be so bold – end the SB curse in the upcoming year would make everyone forget about compensatory picks.