Second-round picks have been a speciality for Rick Spielman

(Photo by Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via Getty Images) Eric Kendricks
(Photo by Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via Getty Images) Eric Kendricks /

During his time as the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings, Rick Spielman has been able to land some great players in the second round of the NFL Draft.

Rick Spielman has been a part of the Minnesota Vikings front office since 2006 when the team named him their new vice president of player personnel. In 2012, the Vikings decided to officially name Spielman as their general manager.

Though he has had some ups and downs (mostly ups), including drafting busts such as Matt Kalil and Laquon Treadwell in the first round, one of his biggest strengths, however, has been making very good selections in the second round of the NFL Draft.

Since becoming the team’s general manager, Spielman has hit on every single second-round draft pick for Minnesota. Interestingly enough, however, he didn’t actually make a second-round selection for the Vikings until 2015 after he used them to trade back into the first round in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

So who are the players Minnesota and Spielman have picked in the second round during the last five years?

Irv Smith Jr. – TE (2019)

In 16 games (seven starts) as a rookie last season, Irv Smith Jr. recorded 36 receptions for 311 yards and two touchdowns. During his time on the field for the Vikings, he also proved to be a decent blocker.

He and Kyle Rudolph were one of the best tight end duos in the NFL last year and Smith looks like he could be a solid piece for Minnesota in the coming years.

Brian O’Neill – OT (2018)

Since 2014, the Vikings have really struggled in pass protection (minus 2017). However, Brian O’Neill has proven to be a great pick. If he stays healthy he could be this team’s right tackle for the next decade.

So far, O’Neill has started in 26 games in his two years with Minnesota. Last season he was tied for being the eighth-best tackle by PFF in terms of pass blocking.

Dalvin Cook – RB (2017)

Dalvin Cook was considered by many to be a first-round talent before he slipped to the Vikings in the second round. Cook has had some injuries in his three seasons with Minnesota. But when healthy, he is a stellar weapon both as a rusher and a receiver.

After missing a total of 17 games in his first two years with the Vikings, Cook only missed two contests in 2019 and he rushed for 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns while also grabbing 53 receptions.

Mackensie Alexander – CB (2016)

Mackensie Alexander is no longer with the Vikings, but he was a good cornerback for the team during his tenure.

Alexander only started in 10 games for Minnesota since 2016. But he developed into one of the best slot corners in the NFL during the last two seasons.

Eric Kendricks – LB (2015)

Eric Kendricks has been one of the Vikings’ best defensive players during every season since he was drafted.

Kendricks has started in 70 games for Minnesota and has led the team in tackles each year since he arrived in 2015. This past season, he made the Pro Bowl in addition to also being named a First-team All-Pro.

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Given this year’s Vikings already have two first-round picks, there is a good chance they will not be moving their second-round selection to make any attempts to move back into the first. But you never know with Spielman. He is called “Trader Rick” for a reason and don’t rule out him acquiring an extra second-round this week either.