EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — General manager Rick Spielman and the Minnesota Vikings worked overtime on the first night of the NFL Draft, securing three first-round picks and even making an under-the-radar move in free agency Thursday to pick up backup defensive end Lawrence Jackson.
Friday might end up going down as a day of rest.
The Vikings drafted Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (No. 23) and Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes (No. 25) with their scheduled picks. Then Minnesota made the bold move to get into the first round for the third time, dealing picks in the second (No. 52 overall), third (No. 83), fourth (No. 102) and seventh rounds (No. 229) to the New England Patriots to pick Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
Yet the trade left the Vikings without a pick on the second day of the draft with the second and third rounds scheduled for Friday.
“We go off the point charts and stuff,” Spielman said Thursday night. “But to get another pick in the first round and to get a player of that caliber that was still there. … We felt that he could be that big of a difference-maker for us to go ahead and get it done.”
Minnesota still owns a fourth-round pick (No. 120), a fifth-rounder (No. 155), a sixth-rounder (189) and two picks in the seventh (Nos. 213 and 214) to add to a team that surprised many by making the playoffs last year. The Vikings selected three players in the first round for the first time since 1967 and have now picked five players in the first round in the past two drafts.
“I’m very excited,” Spielman said. “I don’t know if it could have worked out any better, the caliber of player we got with all three of those kids coming into our program.”
Minnesota had two fourth-round picks and three in the seventh, giving Spielman the ammunition and the willingness to make the aggressive move for Patterson. The trade was telling for Spielman, who values his draft picks, especially the mid-rounders, for their ability to produce hidden gems late and offer flexibility to move around in the draft.
“I understand (it was a lot to give up),” Spielman said. “I also know that basically you gave up a third- and a fourth-rounder and we had an extra fourth to give, and then we had three sevenths, so we still have two sevenths left as well.”
The Vikings enter Friday without any picks, and still have a hole at middle linebacker. But as Spielman and coach Leslie Frazier point out, they don’t believe they’re done remaking the roster.
“We’ve got some guys on our roster, but the draft is not over,” Frazier said. “Probably can answer (who is the starter at middle linebacker) a little bit better on Sunday or Monday. But we have some guys on our roster that will compete for the position and we still have some times to maybe bring in a young guy as well.”
Added Spielman: “I think we’re still going to continue to look at linebackers. We’ll look through this draft because we think there’s some value as we go through on that third day. Also we’ll continue to monitor what’s out there. Our roster’s not going to be done on Sunday.”