Jan 29, 2012; Honolulu, HI, USA; Minnesota Vikings cheerleader Peyton Wight during the 2012 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. The AFC defeated the NFC 59-41. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Vikings Hold Key To NFL Draft’s Round 1 Trades


The latest rumors around the NFL is that the Cleveland Browns are once again enamored with QB Ryan Tannehill as well as the Dolphins now fearing they will never get their shot at the QB interested in moving up to the number 3 slot to make sure they do. It’s the crazy days before start of the NFL Draft and between now and this Thursday, it’s going to get crazier.

The center of this as I stated is the Minnesota Vikings who hold the number 3 pick. The Vikings have been openly saying they want to trade out for quite some time now and while the interest is still somewhat lukewarm, that will likely change in less than a week. The Vikings are said to be interested in USC LT Matt Kalil or CB Morris Claiborne. Both of which can be had at the four spot if a trade with Cleveland occurs. Neither would likely be available at pick 8 should they swing a trade with the Dolphins.

Conversely, a trade with the Dolphins would net the Vikings far more than a trade with the Browns and to be honest, it’s unlikely that Dolphins’ GM Jeff Ireland would toss a boatload of picks to the Vikings to move up. Consider that the Rams hauled in the equivalent of three number 1 picks for the 2 spot and RGIII from the Redskins who selected in the 6th spot. What would the cost of moving up from eight be? Too much if you ask me.

Of course at this stage of the game, it’s common to get other teams believing that you are interested in one player while really targeting another. It’s why it makes complete sense for the Dolphins to show interest in moving up to draft Ryan Tannehill. Frankly it could also say that the Dolphins really are not interested in Tannehill at all and in fact may be looking at someone else entirely.

Consider the Cleveland Browns who suddenly are interested in swapping picks with the Vikings. The truth is Cleveland likely has no interest in moving up to three to draft Tannehill. Why would they when they can easily take him at four? By showing the interest in moving up, they could simply be saying, “we want Tannehill and that’s who we are going to take” thus forcing a team like the Dolphins who may actually have real interest in him to move up and secure that player allowing the Browns to take who they truly covet.

For example, if the Browns wanted Claiborne, unlikely but as an example it works. The Vikings do have interest in the CB and without the Vikings in front of them, the Browns have no one else to take him. The same could be said about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who are rumored to have interest in RB Trent Richardson. For the Browns who seem to be a very likely candidate for Richardson, having another team other than the Buccaneers in front of them makes sense. By showing interest in moving up the Browns could force a team like the Dolphins to move up instead, thus making sure that the Bucs can’t. Confused yet?

For the Dolphins it’s similar. If they truly want to move up to get Tannehill, doing so before the draft could prove cheaper. If two teams are showing serious interest in the three spot a bargaining war could break out and the price of that slot will rise. Still, to me, the Dolphins don’t appear to be a team seriously interested in moving up. I believe they have more than enough options with the eighth pick regardless of whether Tannehill is there or not.

When Jeff Ireland recently spoke with the media he praised Tannehill as a person but offered the tidbit that he would not be forced into selecting the QB out of pressure. He also made it clear that he already knows who he wants with that pick and has a second runner up in the case that person is already gone. So why float the idea that you are interested in moving up? Simple, to throw off other teams.

If the Dolphins show they are interested in Tannehill, to the point of giving the impression they want to move up, then possibly their real target say, Fletcher Cox is off the radar for a team behind them. Thus teams interested in Cox will either A: talk to Miami about making a trade assuming they want Tannehill or B: start working the phone lines with the team holding the 9th selection. The Carolina Panthers. Either way, the illusion is all part of the game.

After all is said and done and the NFL Draft begins on Thursday, the key to the draft is really held by the Vikings if a trade has not be completed prior to the start. The Vikings will eat up their allotted time and you can bet that the ESPN and NFL Network hosts will be telling you that the Dolphins and Browns and likely one other team are talking with them about making a deal for Tannehill.

The Browns will likely keep their pick so after the third pick is made, expect more talk of trades from the Bucs if Richardson is gone, the Rams, and the Jaguars. Then, we will get to see what this grand plan of Jeff Ireland’s really is.

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Tags: Cleveland Browns Jeff Ireland Miami Dolphins Minnesota Vikings NFL Draft Ryan Tannehill Trent Richardson