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3 Minnesota Vikings trade scenarios during 2022 NFL Draft

Andrew Buller-Russ

With just under two weeks to go before the 2022 NFL Draft gets underway, fans hoping for a Minnesota Vikings trade are buzzing about what might happen as they hold the 12th pick in the first round. There are hundreds of variables to keep in mind throughout draft night, but this year there may be more than usual.

Now that Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer are no longer with the organization, there’s no telling exactly what general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s draft approach will be as he looks to fill out the depth chart on Kevin O’Connell’s first roster.

Enthusiasts used to know that Spielman preferred to have roughly 10 lottery selections, hoping to land a few winners each year. He also wasn’t afraid to move around the draft board.

What will the new regime’s mindset be? We know they want to put a winning roster on the field, but we don’t know much else. On April 28, we’ll begin getting some answers. Here are three potential Vikings draft trade outcomes fans could see on draft day.

Related: NFL mock draft 2022: Panthers trade down, 3 QBs land in Round 1

Minnesota Vikings trade Garrett Bradbury

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Appleton Post-Crescent -USA TODAY NETWORK

Trading Garrett Bradbury, their starting center for the past three seasons since entering the league as the 18th overall selection, is a strong possibility. Others might say it’s improbable since O’Connell was quick to go out of his way to compliment the 26-year-old center in his initial press conference with the team.

But what about a scenario where JC Tretter is willing to sign a contract, worth roughly the same amount, or slightly more as Bradbury? Would the Vikings feel compelled to take a chance on the veteran, knowing they can likely send Bradbury and his contract out for maybe a 5th-round pick?

  • Garrett Bradbury contract: $4.1 million in 2022

Or how about if Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum slips down the board, somewhere in the 20s, maybe the front office would already prefer to trade down, and if Linderbaum happens to be available anywhere later than 12th, why not take a flier on improving the trenches? It’s still the weakest point of an otherwise-strong offense.

Other player trades some have mentioned, like sending out Dalvin Cook don’t make sense. Doing so would incur a larger cap hit ($9.3M) than the total savings ($2.5M). When he’s still a dynamic running back who helps fuel a top-10 offense, the Vikings really can’t afford to go with Alexander Mattison, despite him offering many of the same skills as Cook. Mattison is good, not great. Whereas Cook is elite. There’s a big difference.

Related: Minnesota Vikings running it back, a look at how 2022’s roster compares to best teams in franchise history

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah trades up for blue-chip prospect

Sitting at No. 12 could be an ideal spot for a top player to fall down the board, but if the Vikings like where their roster stands, and why shouldn’t they, then a trade up can’t be ruled out. Trading up could solidify a chance to secure LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. to be the new future No. 1 cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson.

To lock in Stingley, they wouldn’t have to move into the top-six, they would likely be looking at a smaller trade, up to somewhere in the 7-10 range, likely not costing a future first-round selection. Aside from moving up for Stingley, Sauce Gardner, or safety Kyle Hamilton (dream trade), I don’t really see another scenario where trading up makes sense. Cornerback would be the move. A shock would be moving up for a quarterback or wide receiver, but crazier things have happened.

Related: Minnesota Vikings mock draft: 2022 NFL Draft projections and analysis

Vikings trade down for more assets

Picture a scenario where Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner and Derek Stingley Jr. are both off the board by the time the Vikes are on the clock. This wouldn’t be ideal, there are still other prospects who could entice, such as cornerback Trent McDuffie, or defensive lineman Jordan Davis who could be worthy selections at 12.

But of course, trading down can help build a stronger overall roster while still getting a player who’s extremely valuable and capable of being a Day One starter. It’s hard to ever argue against trading down as it presents several benefits.

Not only could the Vikings save a very small amount on signing their draft class, they’d get more chances at picking a player in the top-100, in which they currently have just three picks in the top-77. They then will have to wait all the way until pick 155 before making their next selection. That’s gonna be a long nap, but chances are, they won’t stay and make all their scheduled picks, there will be some trades, but when? Count me in for a trade down, but only if Gardner, Stingley, and Hamilton are off the board.

Related: Analyzing 5 different Minnesota Vikings draft scenarios for 2022