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Takeaways from Rick Spielman's pre-draft media session

The Vikings GM touched on Stefon Diggs, Anthony Harris and their plans in the NFL Draft.
Rick Spielman

Speaking to the media for the first time since the NFL Scouting Combine in March, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman touched on many topics during his media availability prior to this week's NFL Draft.

As the Vikings enter the draft with 12 selections, the second-highest number in the league, there were plenty of talking points as the Vikings get ready to embark on what should be an eventful showcase which begins with the first round on Thursday night.

The Vikings did not plan on trading Stefon Diggs

One of the biggest topics was the decision to trade star receiver Stefon Diggs to Buffalo. The Vikings received a haul of draft picks in last month's trade including the 22nd overall pick in the draft, but Spielman reiterated that the team had no intention to trade Diggs when he last spoke to reporters in Indianapolis.

"It was an opportunity that came up and evolved that we felt was good for Stefon and for us," Spielman said. "We decided to go ahead and make the trade, but we’ll always appreciate everything that Stefon has done for us here in Minnesota and wish him nothing but the best."

Spielman was also asked about the statements that Diggs wanted out of Minnesota, but he declined to elaborate.

Vikings already receiving calls for potential trades

With 12 picks, the Vikings will have plenty of flexibility once the draft begins on Thursday night. Spielman said he's already started to receive calls from teams looking to trade up or down in the first round and whether the Vikings pull the trigger depends on how things shake out.

"I think it all depends how the draft board unfolds on Thursday," Spielman said. "For example, I would say if we stay at 22, and we have maybe seven or eight names still up there, to move back from 25 to gain another pick and still get the same quality of player."

Earlier this week there was a report by ESPN's Jeremy Fowler saying the Vikings were "primed to move back" in the first round. ESPN's Courtney Cronin doubled down on the report saying she does not expect the Vikings to make both first-round selections if there's a good opportunity to move.

It sounds like Anthony Harris is staying in Minnesota

When asked about the depth of this draft class, Spielman praised the selection of wide receivers and cornerbacks available. When asked about the cornerbacks specifically, Spielman made it a point to mention his safety combination of Harris and Harrison Smith.

“I know we have some big changes in the secondary," Spielman said. "One of the critical things was not only is Anthony Harris a great football player for us and great for the community but by franchising him, we have our safeties pretty well set knowing a lot of young corners we’ll have to line up and play with.”

Those words do not sound like Harris will be moved on draft weekend, but Viking fans have seen this before (see topic No. 1). With the Vikings needing to find young corners that can contribute right away, it could add merit to the report that the Vikings are trying to finalizing a long-term deal with their star safety.

The Vikings will look for early contributors

With so much turnover on the roster, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Vikings were caught off-guard by the changing of the guard. Spielman revealed that the team has been prepared for this by evaluating their roster two years in advance.

"We've prepared just as hard for other drafts as we have for this draft," Spielman said. "The difference a lot of these guys we are bringing in are probably going to have to contribute and play for us as we fill some of these holes on our roster."

Spielman expressed confidence that the coaching staff can develop some of the young players quickly.

"This is the natural evolution of a roster," Spielman said. "But I know, knowing this draft board and the depth of this draft, especially at some positions of need, that we feel not only in that first round, but throughout the draft, we'll be able to get guys that will contribute right away."

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