Vikings Looking to Trade Up in Draft?
By Dan Zinski
Dec 29, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin (1) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Syracuse Orange at the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Syracuse defeated West Virginia 38-14. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
What does Rick Spielman want to do on draft day? Sit tight with the picks he has or swing some deals and move up? The buzz is building that Spielman wants to trade up. Daniel Jeremiah speculated in a recent NFL.com piece that the Vikings are heavily targeting the receiver position but are concerned that the receiver-needy Rams, who pick twice before the Vikings pick once, will get their guy. So Jeremiah thinks there’s a good chance the Vikes will trade ahead of the Rams to secure their top target. The Rams’ first pick comes at 16 so the Vikes would have to move up at least to 15.
And who might that coveted receiving target be? It could be Tavon Austin. The Rams just lost Danny Amendola to free agency and might be looking at Austin as a quick replacement. The Vikings as we know traded away Percy Harvin and might see Austin as the most Harvin-like receiver in the draft. But there’s only one problem with this line of reasoning. The Vikings have already said they intend using Greg Jennings at flanker, Harvin’s old position. And they have the somewhat Harvin-like Jarius Wright already on the roster.
Look at the Vikings’ receiver corps and the glaring need is not at flanker but split end. Tavon Austin is not a split end. He is small and quick and potentially explosive but not really what the Vikings seem to need. Guys like DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen and Terrance Williams are better fits. On the surface. But we don’t know how Rick Spielman and his staff see things. Maybe they just love Tavon Austin that much. Maybe they’re not as sold on Jarius Wright as we think. Maybe they have some master plan that involves mixing Jennings, Tavon Austin and Jerome Simpson.
Austin would certainly bring a lot of excitement. Whether he would ever replace what Percy Harvin gave you…well that’s another story. Harvin is a unique talent. Austin has some of the same skills but it’s unlikely he will ever be the player Harvin has become. The idea of trading up is intriguing though, whether the target is Austin or someone else. We know how Rick Spielman loves to wheel-and-deal. He traded down one spot with Cleveland last year before taking Matt Kalil and then traded back up into the first to secure Harrison Smith.
The Vikes certainly have enough draft picks to swing some trades. The Harvin deal made sure of that. And more deals may be in the offing.
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