MINNEAPOLIS -- Since he started running the Minnesota Vikings' drafts in 2007, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman hasn't been shy about making moves before and during the draft. Spielman has made 16 trades involving an exchange of draft picks, trading up seven times and moving down in the draft nine times. And when Spielman's had reason to move up, it's usually been because he has his eye on an impact player: his moves up the draft board netted Cordarrelle Patterson, Harrison Smith and Brian Robison, among others.
(The Vikings technically moved down in the 2008 draft, based on the exchange of picks in the Jared Allen trade, but the deal might have been Spielman's boldest with the Vikings, bringing a four-time Pro Bowler to Minnesota in exchange for four picks. Additionally, they got the 187th pick in the trade with the Chiefs, and used it to take center John Sullivan.)
This year, if the Vikings are going to make a trade in the first round of the draft, it seems likely their first step would be a move downward; Spielman typically likes to have 10 picks in a draft, and is currently in possession of eight. He could pick up a couple more if the Vikings move back from the No. 8 overall pick, and that might give Spielman the flexibility to do what he's done each of the last two years, moving back into the first round to take another player.
Spielman said on Tuesday that he'd already received three calls and two text messages about possible trades, adding he'd already had offers for the Vikings' second- and fourth-round picks, among others. "Everybody is just kind of starting to line up their dance partners," he said. "It doesn't usually happen till (you) get on the clock. At least you know on potential teams who may be interested in coming up into your spot."
On Tuesday, Spielman said, the Vikings went through one of the exercises they'd used the last two years, running through a four-hour scenario of how the Vikings would handle a trade down and whom they'd target if they moved back to a certain spot.
"We do that when we're at our second‑round picks (too)," Spielman said. "We go through all different kinds of mocks. To me, people get tired of talking about everything. But the more I hear things, the more we can put ourselves in scenarios, when it comes up on draft day, you've already kind of experienced the worst thing that can happen to you on draft day and how you would react.
"I think that's really helped especially over the last two years of knowing when to move down, when to trade back up, when to go get players that you covet. I think that's been beneficial. I love to be active on draft day."