Rick Spielman tried, but it didn’t happen
It’s hard to believe that it has already been a month since the 2021 NFL Draft, a draft that saw the Minnesota Vikings trade back in Round 1 to draft a player in Christian Darrisaw that they probably could have taken at their original spot without a lot of people questioning it.
However, the purple did try to move up during the draft, and a video released by another team gives us proof of that.
The Carolina Panthers put out a video detailing their selection of cornerback Jaycee Horn, who they selected at #8 overall. During the time they were on the clock, they did field a call from the Vikings that you can hear being discussed in their War Room.
The Detroit Lions selected offensive tackle Penei Sewell with the pick before Carolina’s, and the video makes it clear the Panthers believe that Horn is their guy. They then discuss what it would take for them to “move off” of Horn, or trade out of the spot. That’s when they get the call from Minnesota.
The Carolina rep on the phone says that the Vikings “won’t do next year’s one” to move up, but they did offer the Panthers a third-round pick (#90) and a fourth-round pick (#143) in order to move up from #14 to #8. Carolina says “no,” after which they say “don’t call us with negative points.” This is, apparently, a reference to the old Jimmy Johnson “trade chart” that assigns point values to draft picks.
According to that chart, the #8 pick is worth 1,400 “points.” The three picks that the Vikings were offering add up to a total of 1,275 points. The Panthers did not think that the Vikings were offering enough to move up and, based solely on the trade chart, they were correct. As we know now, the Panthers held on to their pick and took Horn at #8 overall.
Who were the Vikings going to select at #8 had they moved up? My guess would be Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater, who wound up going to the Los Angeles Chargers at #13. I’m sure that some will speculate that they were trying to move up for Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, but I’m not entirely sure about that, myself.
In any case, we now have documented proof that the Vikings really were trying to move up for someone on draft night. We’re never going to know who it was, but the effort was definitely made.