Minnesota Vikings, NFL Draft

Should the Vikings package picks to trade up for Tua Tagovailoa?

With two first-round picks, should the Minnesota Vikings be ready to trade up for Tua Tagovailoa?

Depending on what buzz and smoke screens you believe, someone will either trade up for Tua Tagovailoa on Thursday night or there’s a chance he falls due to medical concerns. If not for those injury concerns, and the inability for team doctors to see him coming off last season’s hip injury, he’d likely be made the No. 1 overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Since this is the NFL Draft and not even the people making the decisions know what they’re doing, let’s play with a little hypothetical. If the reality we end up living in is the one where Tua falls, there will be teams that otherwise would have never gotten a chance to think about drafting him suddenly thrust into a situation to take him.

A team not talked about enough as a potential suitor is the Minnesota Vikings.

With what could be called a mass exodus this offseason, the Minnesota Vikings have plenty of needs to address in the 2020 NFL Draft. Kirk Cousins is set to hold down the fort at quarterback for a few more years, for better or worse, but the opportunity to secure a franchise quarterback is rare and can’t be turned away from.

The Vikings traded wide receiver Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills, and got the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft as the most notable part of a solid return. They’ll head into Thursday with 12 picks in the draft, and they are one of four teams with multiple first-round picks (Dolphins, Jaguars and 49ers are the others).

If Tagovailoa winds up falling out of the top-10, and the risk gets lowered some but the reward remains teams picking later in the first round might be falling all over themselves to trade up for him.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman likes to move around in the draft, with some odd affinity for accumulating late-round picks. He went into his typical GM speak this week, suggesting he has fielded calls from teams looking to trade up and down.

Even with this draft class’ depth at some of their needs (wide receiver, cornerback), trading out of No. 22 or more likely No. 25 to move down and add a pick is questionable strategy. Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer have no known job security pass the coming season, and adding future assets does not fit the team’s short-term window with Cousins as the quarterback.

If anything, consolidating picks to move up and get someone should be firmly on the radar for the Vikings. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be in the first round either.

The Vikings, perhaps more than any other NFL franchise, have had a litany of big-name short-term solutions at quarterback (Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Brett Favre). Landing a young potential franchise quarterback (Daunte Culpepper, Teddy Bridgewater) has been as rare as it has been fleeting. The last certified, long-lasting franchise quarterback they had was Fran Tarkenton, who retired after the 1978 season.

If Tagovailoa slips into the range of pick 13-20 on Thursday night, the idea of trading up for him becomes real for a lot of teams. Based on the Jimmy Johnson draft pick value chart, a hypothetical trade up to No. 14 (1,100 points), No. 15 (1,050 points) or No. 16 (1,000 points) would cost the Vikings one of their two first-round picks (780 or 720 points) and their second-round pick (No. 58 overall-320 points).

In that pick range and at that cost, as they’d retain one of their first-round picks, trading up for Tagovailoa becomes incredibly palatable for the Vikings. The percentage chance it happens is low, but never say never on the first night of the draft.

Next: 5 breakout stars to watch for the Vikings in 2020

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