Nov 16, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; UCF Knights quarterback Blake Bortles (5) under center during the second quarter against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Multiple signs in recent days are pointing to a blockbuster trade happening at the top of this year’s NFL draft. And it’s time to wonder if the Vikings may be the team looking to execute this earth shattering deal.
Louis Riddick set tongues wagging on Saturday when he dropped a tantalizing tweet about a major rumor making the rounds ahead of Thursday’s draft.
“Hearing rumblings of a potential draft day trade that could blow the top off of the draft involving the QB position,” Riddick tweeted.
Since then there has been no elaboration from Riddick.
On Sunday, the flames were stoked again when Ian Rapoport reported that the Houston Texans have been talking to three or four teams about trading the #1 overall selection.
The Texans are believed to not be sold on consensus #1 prospect Jadeveon Clowney. Nor are they sold on any of the quarterbacks, at least not with the #1 overall pick.
Where might the Vikings potentially fit into this rumor picture?
If the Vikings were contemplating a trade up to #1 overall, it would likely be with an eye toward drafting a quarterback. In recent days there has been growing buzz about the Vikings preferring UCF QB Blake Bortles over Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater or any of the other available QBs.
There are just as many people who don’t believe the Vikings will go QB in the first round at all. Rick Spielman has given indications that the team would be content to trade down from #8 and take a QB in the second round.
However, if the Vikings have become sold on Bortles? What could that do to their draft day plans?
Right now, it seems unlikely that Bortles will be available at #8. A trade up would then be necessary for the Vikings to get him.
As it happens, there have been fairly substantial rumors in recent weeks about the Vikings looking to trade up for Bortles. Walter Football published a story about a rumored trade scenario weeks ago that has flown under the radar ever since.
In the Walter Football piece, Charlie Campbell said he had sources telling him the Vikings were looking to move up for Bortles, perhaps as high as #2, and were willing to give up a 2015 first round draft pick to make it happen.
But in recent days there has been more buzz about the Rams staying put at #2, so if the Vikings do want to make the trade to get Bortles, they will likely have to deal with Houston.
It seems a little crazy to believe that the Vikings would actually pull the trigger on such a trade, but if they have sold themselves on Bortles as a potential franchise QB, you can argue that they should do everything possible to get him, including trading future picks to move up to #1. If the Texans are indeed amenable to such a trade.
Many will want to believe the trade is possible, given the Vikings’ desperation to land a franchise QB, the lack of good options at #8 and Rick Spielman’s past aggressiveness.
Others will argue that Spielman was burned too badly by the Christian Ponder pick in 2011 to make such a bold move for an unpolished QB like Bortles.
Then again, Spielman may have increased confidence in the team’s ability to develop a QB like Bortles now that Norv Turner is in the house. In fact, Turner may have been hired specifically to develop a QB.
Turner recently made a statement saying he prefers QBs with upside to ones with less talent but more ability to make an immediate impact. Bortles is a QB who would need time to develop, but his upside is considerable.
The Vikings also may feel more sure about drafting a down-the-road QB like Bortles now that they have secured Matt Cassel‘s services for at least one more year and possibly two.
The mistake they made in 2011 was taking a chance on the washed-up Donovan McNabb instead of securing a reliable veteran who could keep Christian Ponder on the bench for his entire first season.
There are enough pieces of circumstantial evidence there if you want to make the case for Spielman pulling off this proposed trade. At this point however, there is little hard proof to suggest such a trade is coming.
It’s pure speculation at this point. And a lot of fun to think about.