With the recent release of Peyton Manning from the Indianapolis Colts, the free agent market and the NFL Draft have changed. The Green Bay Packers chose not to put the franchise tag on backup quarterback Matt Flynn, meaning he will be a free agent. While the Minnesota Vikings are not going to sign Manning or Flynn, they do stand to possibly benefit from these situations.
The Vikings currently hold the third pick in this year's draft and seem fine with staying there and drafting OT Matt Kalil, as the St. Louis Rams appear set on trading the second overall pick so another team can jump up and select Robert Griffin III.
However, now that Manning and Flynn are on the market, their signings could drastically effect the Rams' ability to trade the second pick. There are currently four teams that could be in a position to move up to the second spot to get RG3: Cleveland Browns (#4 pick), Washington Redskins (#6), Miami Dolphins (#8) and Seattle Seahawks (#12).
The Rams would likely not trade with Seattle, as they don't want the Seahawks to get a possible franchise quarterback, so for our purposes, they are out of the running for the second overall pick. That leaves Cleveland, Washington and Miami as the contenders.
Washington and Miami appear to be possible locations for Manning as well. If he were to sign with one of those teams, they would not trade up so another team would be out of the bidding for the Rams' pick.
Former Green Bay Packers backup quarterback, Matt Flynn appears to be getting interest from all four of the teams looking to move up in the draft and will likely sign with whomever doesn't sign Manning.
If this is the case, with both Manning and Flynn signing with one of the teams in the hunt for the #2 spot, then the Rams lose all leverage with their spot. All the teams know that the Rams will not select RG3 as they already have Sam Bradford as their quarterback, and if Seattle doesn't get Flynn, then they have only one team to trade with. At this point, the competition for RG3 could fall into the Vikings' hands with the third pick.
Then, with only Seattle and another team bidding for the spot, the Vikings could demand a bit less than the Rams and therefore be a more attractive trade partner than the Rams. The Vikings, while they appear set on Kalil, certainly have enough holes that adding a couple more draft picks could be very attractive.
If the Vikings were to move back to the 4th or 6th pick, then they would still be in the hunt for Kalil (if he drops past the Rams at #2) or CB Morris Claiborne at #4 or for Claiborne, WRs Justin Blackmon or Michael Floyd, or OT Riley Reiff at #6.
The Vikings haul for the trade would depend on which team they trade with. Per the NFL Trade Value Chart, moving down a spot to #4 would probably net an extra 3rd round pick and another later round pick, or a 2nd if there was a lot of competition. With the Browns having an extra first round pick this year, they could be a little more willing to give up their second rounder this season.
Moving to #6 would demand at least another 2nd round pick plus another later rounder. Miami at #8 and Seattle at #12 would likely have to add their 2013 1st round pick to move up to #3.
Chances are that the Vikings are more than happy to stay at #3, regardless of what happens with the Rams. They like the sure thing Kalil seems to be, but it certainly could get interesting if they keep their cell phones handy.