The Minnesota Vikings are looking to trade up in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft in order to secure one of the top wide receivers in the class, according to a report from NFL insider Chad Forbes.
Interesting Draft Season Rumor…. #Vikings looking to trade up in 1st Round for a Wide Receiver. Interested in #Buccaneers slot 14th overall to move ahead of #Broncos. Believed Target? 1 of the consensus top WRs. I’d bet it’s CeeDee Lamb..
— Chad Forbes (@NFLDraftBites) March 30, 2020
He specifically cited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the desired trade partner due to the Buccaneers owning the 14th overall draft slot; the Bucs are just in front of the Denver Broncos, who are widely believed to be targeting the top wideouts in the draft class.
Last month, the Vikings made waves when they traded stud wide receiver Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills for a package of draft picks that included an additional first-rounder in the upcoming draft.
Between the Diggs trade and compensatory picks awarded for the losses of Sheldon Richardson, Tom Compton, and Trevor Siemian last offseason, Minnesota currently owns 12 picks in the 2020 draft. Thus, their willingness to consolidate draft assets by moving up comes as no surprise nor does their desire to target a replacement for Diggs.
The Buccaneers, on the other hand, are potentially facing a different conundrum. They are widely believed to be targeting a new right tackle in a historically deep tackle class, but may not get a shot at one of the consensus top four prospects where they currently sit at No. 14.
A shortage of available cap space has also greatly hindered the team’s ability to plug holes on their roster, creating a considerable list of needs yet to be addressed. While Tampa Bay entered free agency with nearly $90 million in cap space, they spent much of that allotment on re-signing key defenders Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Ndamukong Suh as well as, of course, landing Tom Brady.
While the team has said they continue to monitor free agency, it’s clear they will need the draft to fill out the rest of the roster and may not currently own enough picks to fill all of their needs. Consequently, trading down is sure to be an enticing option especially if the top tackles are already off of the board by the time they are on the clock.
While right tackle is the most glaringly obvious need, the Buccaneers are also widely expected to take a running back fairly early on to pair with Ronald Jones II. They may also be targeting wide receiver relatively early thanks to the loss of Breshad Perriman to the New York Jets in free agency and the lack of available cap space to sign a veteran replacement.
Tampa Bay reportedly pursued Emmanuel Sanders before he signed with the New Orlean Saints for two years and $16 million—a number that was likely out of Tampa Bay’s price range.
The team is also reportedly looking to add another safety to pair with Jordan Whitehead, Mike Edwards, and Andrew Adams. While they like those players, none of them possesses the range to be trusted as a single-high safety forcing the team to play far more Cover 2 than they would presumably prefer.
The losses of Beau Allen (Patriots) and Carl Nassib (Raiders) also need to be addressed, as well. While Tampa Bay is set to return its entire starting front seven from 2019, the group is veteran-laden and expensive and desperately needs to be reinforced with young, affordable depth. A kick or punter returner, reserve center or guard, and quarterback of the future are also on the shopping list.
The Buccaneers and Vikings swapping spots in the first round would make a great deal of sense for both sides. The Vikings likely have more picks than its roster has available spots, while the Buccaneers find themselves in the converse situation. With Minnesota’s need to replace Diggs and the likelihood of the top four tackles being off the board by No. 14, it’s not hard to imagine this trade scenario coming to fruition.