Today the NFL awarded this year’s compensatory draft picks to 15 different teams, including the Minnesota Vikings. Compensatory draft picks are awarded based on a publicly unreleased formula comparing free agents lost and free agents signed in the previous year’s offseason. In essence, if a free agent signs a bigger contract with a franchise, his former team is awarded a better compensatory pick. This rule is designed to enforce parity around the league, so teams will not step back too much from losing stars to free agency. For example, this year’s highest compensatory draft pick is a third rounder, 96th overall, awarded to the Washington Redskins – presumably due to the fact that they lost Kirk Cousins to a $84 million deal with Minnesota.
The Vikings gained three compensatory picks of their own, one sixth rounder and two seventh rounders. Compensatory draft picks are added to the end of their respective rounds, meaning that a compensatory sixth round pick is selected after a large majority of the sixth round. Here are the draft picks the Vikings have gained:
- 6th round, 209th overall
- 7th round, 247th overall
- 7th round, 250th overall
Overall, these draft picks are not too impactful. Late round picks usually equate to adding depth and second-tier guys who don’t turn into stars. But, it does help make up for the fact that the Vikings were missing picks in the fifth and seventh rounds due to trades for quarterback Trevor Siemian and offensive lineman Brett Jones. Now, the Vikings have eight total draft picks.
The Minnesota Vikings tend to accumulate draft picks. Since Rick Spielman took over as General Manager, the Vikings have selected eight or more players in every single draft. In 2017, the Vikings selected eleven total players, nine of whom were drafted in round four or later. Spielman likes to gather and use draft picks, especially in the later rounds. Staying put with these draft picks and trying to find undervalued players like former fifth-round pick Stefon Diggs would not be out of the ordinary for the franchise.
Still, Minnesota could be aggressive. While sixth and seventh round picks aren’t valued enough to trade up in the first round, Vikings fans could see movement happen on day two of the 2019 NFL Draft. Just two years ago the Vikings used a fourth round pick to trade up in the second round to select running back Dalvin Cook, and a fifth round pick to trade up in the third round for center Pat Elflein. By gaining these extra late-round picks, the Vikings have the flexibility to move up in the draft via trades to grab a player they like.
We won’t know what these extra compensatory picks mean for Minnesota until after the NFL Draft. Still, the Vikings are in better offseason shape today than they were yesterday.