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Vikings opt for picks rather than QB

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Vikings' quarterback of the future was sitting right there for the taking as the clock wound down to the 30th pick in the first round of Thursday night's NFL draft.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Vikings' quarterback of the future was sitting right there for the taking as the clock wound down to the 30th pick in the first round of Thursday night's NFL draft.

Jimmy Clausen nearly had fallen out of the first round and now the Vikings had the opportunity to fulfill what had been predicted in so many mock drafts.

Only in real life, the Vikings didn't pull the trigger.

Instead, they dealt their first-round pick to NFC North rival Detroit, along with a fourth-round selection (128th overall), for the Lions' second- (34th overall), fourth- (100th overall) and seventh-round picks (214th overall).

With the Vikings' first-rounder, the Lions took California running back Jahvid Best.

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The Vikings now hold nine picks over the final six rounds of the draft. Rounds 2 and 3 will take place tonight and the final four will be held Saturday.

Interestingly, Clausen still will be on the board as the second round gets underway, with the Vikings holding the second pick. The St. Louis Rams hold the first pick in the second round and, after taking Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford first overall, certainly would not pick Clausen.

"About the 20th pick we started getting a lot of (trade) calls and felt that the Detroit deal was the best deal that we had," said Rick Spielman, Vikings vice president of player personnel. "(We) felt very strongly because of the depth of this draft of potentially picking up an extra pick. The biggest thing out of the whole trade scenario was that you're the second pick in (Friday's) draft, which is huge."

"You look at Saturday and you're going to have the second pick (in the fourth round). So coming from the bottom of those rounds to coming up to the top of those rounds, especially when the day kicks off, we're very excited about that because of the way our draft board is developed we have a lot of options as we go into (Friday) and probably will have a lot going into Saturday as well."

Spielman said the Vikings would be happy to get any one of four players they had identified who remain available after the opening round. The first round finished up with the Colts taking TCU linebacker Jerry Hughes and New Orleans selecting Florida State cornerback Patrick Robinson.

Spielman would not identify those four players but they could be USC safety Taylor Mays, Virginia cornerback Chris Cook, Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle and Clausen. There were indications that Robinson was really the player the Vikings hoped would fall, but that did not happen. Mays very well could end being the pick, assuming the Rams pass on him.

The Vikings did make one attempt to move up but all Spielman would say was "it was around where we were picking, it was a player that was taken."

Logically, that could have been either Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams, who went to Arizona at No. 26; Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty, who went to New England a pick later; or Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson, who was selected 29th by the Jets. Also gone by the time the Vikings picked was Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who had been tied to Minnesota in the days leading up to the draft. Denver got Tebow at No. 25.

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Lions coach Jim Schwartz was happy to land Best. "This was a player that we had a lot of really good feeling for and a guy that we had a plan for exactly how we were going to use him on offense," Schwartz said. "I was hoping for two things in this draft. One was to get him, I'm talking about Jahvid Best, but if we didn't get him, that he didn't go to Green Bay or Minnesota or Chicago and have to defend against a guy like that.

"(The Vikings) helped us out, we helped them out. ... Everybody has different agendas. I think there is a lot of things where trading a player to a division (is bad), but I'm glad that Minnesota and Green Bay and Chicago (didn't get him). I'm glad we don't have to see this guy twice a year."

Spielman doesn't sound as if he's done making deals.

"That's one thing that's a huge advantage because if you're sitting there at the bottom the second and you want to go up and get a player, now you have some ammunition (with nine picks) to do that as well," he said. "It just gives you a lot more flexibility as you finish out this draft, being able to move up or back, which is something we really haven't had since I've been here."

As far as the trade, the phone might not have started ringing with offers until the 20th pick, but Spielman, coach Brad Childress and other Vikings executives envisioned they might never make that 30th pick. In the end, they were right.

"Yes, it was a big part of our scenarios," Spielman said. "A trade was definitely in the mix. We had a player that we would have taken, but we also had a trade, and we decided to do the trade."

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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