Vikings Compensatory Pick Mystery Solved

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Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings comp pick situation is a messy one, given how many players they had come and go during free agency. For those who don’t know, compensatory draft picks can be awarded to teams for a few different reasons.

But the most common comp picks are awarded to teams who lose more talent in free agency than they are able to bring in. Free agency compensatory picks are awarded from rounds 3 through 7. The better the free agent, the higher the comp pick.

For example, Kirk Cousins is worth the highest value comp pick available (3rd round) so that’s what he counts TOWARD the Minnesota Vikings comp pick formula. For the Falcons, Kirk counts the same thing AGAINST their formula.

How many compensatory draft picks will the Minnesota Vikings receive?

But each player lost and gained gets thrown into each team’s compensatory pick formula, which is why (as previously mentioned) Minnesota’s is so jumbled. There are 11 players who count either for or against their 2025 formula.

Player OutCompPlayer InComp
Kirk Cousins3rd RdSam Darnold5th Rd
Danielle Hunter3rd RdBlake Cashman6th Rd
DJ Wonnum6th RdShaquill Griffin6th Rd
Marcus Davenport6th RdJonathan Greenard4th Rd
Jordan Hicks6th RdAndrew Van Ginkel5th Rd
KJ Osborn7th Rd
Final Count(1) 3rd Rd ’25 Comp Pick
via Nick Korte (OTC)

Essentially, it’s a cancel-out system. If you bring in a free agent with a 3rd round comp grade and lose a free agent with the same grade, they get cancelled out. Of course, as you can see above, that system isn’t always a one-for-one cancellation process, which leads to some gray area in calculations.

Related: Watch Vikings UDFA Fight a Teammate

That brings us to Shaq Griffen, who the Vikings signed this offseason. There have been some questions raised surrounding why exactly Minnesota pulled the trigger on Griffen, when it’s quite possible that his addition may have cost them a comp pick in 2025, possibly even a 3rd rounder.

The Vikings were expected to possibly see two players, Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter, leave the team for top tier deals elsewhere, and that is what happened. The Vikings also lost several other CFAs, but were also aggressive in signing CFAs of their own to offset some of those departures. Nonetheless, they had at least balanced this to where the 3rd rounders for both Cousins and Hunter leaving were on the board...until they signed Shaquill Griffin to a one year, $4.55 million contract, leaving the Vikings with a net loss of only 1 CFA, giving the formula no choice but to cancel out Hunter’s contract with Griffin’s.

Now, it’s fine for a team to conclude that signing a player now is better than getting a comp pick later, but adding to the intrigue are multiple reports that say the Vikings expect multiple comp picks to offset the tradeups they made in the draft.

Nick Korte –

So… did the Minnesota Vikings really give up a 3rd round comp pick for Shaq Griffin, who is not expected to start ahead of Akayleb Evans Mechi Blackmon? That doesn’t seem like a very smart acquisition, does it? Well, it’s important to remember that future draft picks do not guarantee future successful draft picks, especially at the back end of rounds 3-7.

Minnesota Vikings chose free agents now over comp picks later

So… choosing Griffen over even the highest comp pick possible, isn’t a big deal. Also, it’s possible, because Griffen was claimed off waivers, that he may not count against the formula at all. But in this case, it appears the Vikings made a conscious decision to choose free agent talent now over possible draft talent in the future.

Related: Did Vikings’ History with Jim Harbaugh Get in the Way of Draft Day Trade Talks?

According to what sources with the Minnesota Vikings are telling Alec Lewis (The Athletic), their front office came to the realization, when they decided to sign Jonathan Greenard, that they’d probably only end up with one 3rd round comp pick, not two… though it seems they are holding out hope for one more later on.

So, from what they are telling Lewis, they haven’t been expecting multiple 3rd round comp picks since free agency got going. OTC notes that they could still luck into more, possibly even a 3rd rounder, if Oli Udoh (Falcons) or Josh Dobbs (49ers) start the entire 2024 season, both of which are extremely unlikely.

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