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2012 NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns Trade with Minnesota Vikings for Third Pick

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 09:  Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Louisiana State University Tigers during the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Derek EstesCorrespondent IApril 26, 2012

Sitting at the third pick overall, the Minnesota Vikings could have held teams hostage, milking trade partners through a bidding war for the opportunity of drafting Trent Richardson.

The consensus top running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, Richardson's draft position showed staying power despite the NFL's departure from the single-back run game. And with the Jets, Buccaneers and Browns all reportedly interested in acquiring his services, the Vikings could have spent their entire ten minutes working the phones for a better deal.

Instead, they squared things away with the Browns quickly, gaining a trio of Day 3 picks in exchange, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. With a depleted roster, Minnesota gains the selections necessary if they hope to keep up with their playoff-contending NFC Central rivals.

Cleveland fans come out ahead in this deal, though. The Browns need a serious upgrade at the offensive skill positions and none will have more impact than Richardson. The resurgence of a running game in Cleveland will take pressure off of Colt McCoy. Not only will he draw attention as a runner, but Richardson also works well as a pass blocker and a receiver out of the backfield.

And for only a handful of late round picks, the Browns can continue to reconstruct their offense. With a solid offensive line already in place and two more picks in the first 40 selections, at least one, if not two more players to move the ball downfield should be in Cleveland's future.

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