Last week, the Minnesota Vikings thought they had acquired a new defensive tackle to come in and compete for a spot on their team when they traded a conditional seventh-round pick to the Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for P.J. Hall. Turns out it was all for naught, as Hall failed his physical with the Vikings and was sent back to the desert.
While it was unfortunate the team was unable to improve their roster through the deal, there are some things we can learn from this ill-fated trade.
Wait for the physical
This one is for the fans and the media. As soon as the news broke, every Vikings’ related media outlet was pushing out content on what the Hall addition means to the Vikings. Fans were also all over Twitter, discussing the player and how he was going to impact the team and their defense this season.
This case is a good reminder for everyone to slow their roll. Players have to pass a physical before many deals and trades get completed. Granted, most times that isn’t an issue and the player passes with flying colors, but occasionally something comes up in the medical check, and the deal falls through. That was the case with Hall and Minnesota, and while the debates about his impact in 2020 were fun to have on social media, they were ultimately a waste of time.
Spielman isn’t afraid to move late picks
“Slick Rick” Spielman loves wheeling and dealing and moved around a lot in the 2020 NFL Draft. By doing that, he acquired plenty of picks for the future and plenty of ammunition to make trades. In the Hall situation, Spielman realized the Raiders were going to cut the big tackle. In order to ensure they get him and not let him hit waivers, Spielman sent a conditional seventh-round choice to the Raiders. This secured Hall’s services and cost little in return. Minnesota has plenty of picks to work with in 2021, and Spielman realizes that. Sending a late choice makes a ton of sense in this case, and it lets the fans know the team is always trying to improve the roster.
The move also makes one wonder what other picks Spielman is willing to trade. The Vikings currently have 12 total picks in the 2021 NFL Draft and surely won’t use them all. There are plenty of other positions Minnesota could look to upgrade, with cornerback and guard potentially being the two biggest issues. They could also look for veteran depth at safety and defensive end, and moving a mid- or late-round pick to acquire a player who could contribute right away would make a lot of sense. They could also look for another defensive tackle since the deal with Hall fell through.
The Vikings aren’t happy with their defensive line situation
The biggest and most important takeaway from the Vikings attempting to trade for Hall is that they clearly aren’t content with the depth and talent at the defensive tackle position. If the Vikings were completely fine with Shamar Stephen or Armon Watts becoming the nose, with players like Jaleel Johnson and James Lynch competing for the three-technique spot, they wouldn’t have made this move. Hall would’ve competed at either position, and the team must’ve figured he had a real chance to not just make the team but register significant snaps this year.
While the deal falling through is disappointing, it is refreshing to know that the Vikings are willing to address a need area and attempt to improve it via trade. Just because this deal fell through doesn’t mean they won’t be scouring other teams’ rosters looking for another player who could be had for a late day three pick. The Vikings front office continues to be aggressive and isn’t afraid to move draft capital to improve the roster as it stands now.
In a recent press conference Vikings defensive coordinator Andre Patterson expressed confidence in the players they currently have at the defensive tackle position and their ability to step in for Michael Pierce. While coaches are going to always say things like this, the fact Spielman brought in another player shows the front office and the coaching staff believes otherwise.