With two picks in the first round coming into Thursday night, the Vikings were set to make some noise in this year’s draft. But instead of a loud thud, like in year’s past, they came away with a loud roar of applause.
First, the Vikings jumped on defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who fell hard out of his top-five projection and all the way down into their laps at No. 23.
Defensive line. Check.
Two picks later, head coach Leslie Frazier and company found themselves staring down one of the top cornerbacks in this year’s draft. So, they snatched up Xavier Rhodes at No. 25.
Then, just as it seemed they were ready to call it a night, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman surprised everyone with an encore performance. With the Patriots on the clock at No. 29, Spielman struck a deal to sneak back into the first round and steal away wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson from under the noses of the unsuspecting Rams and Cowboys.
Patterson was the No. 1 receiver on many teams’ draft boards and a player that the Cowboys coveted greatly, according to one source. His talent is immeasurable in some standards and, although he might be a project pick, he could even develop into a Julio Jones clone somewhere down the line, which is obviously high praise.
The price to acquire Patterson might have been a little steep, or even considered highway robbery in some circles, but even so, they shined bright on the whole after Day 1.
Even Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio was impressed by the Vikings’ moves.
“They did what they thought was best for their situation,” Caserio said. “I think the unique thing was probably Minnesota doing what they did, picking three players in the first round.”
Three first-round talents is quite a haul for a playoff team. But three potential top-10 talents, and all in the mid-to-late 20s? That’s a coup.
The whole winners and losers argument is vastly overrated, especially mere hours later. Let them get out on the field and play some games before glorifying some and chastising others. But if there was one big winner to point to at this point in the draft, the Vikings would be the most obvious, and correct, choice.
There won’t be much else coming out of Vikings camp the rest of the way after sending away most of their picks. But, even if they only land three players this weekend, they still came away a better team than they went in.