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Minnesota Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman is getting closer to his oft-stated goal of having 10 draft picks after the NFL awarded compensatory picks for this year’s draft.

The Vikings were awarded two sixth-round compensatory picks – a system that hands out 32 additional draft picks in rounds three through seven by weighing free agent losses and gains from the previous year. They will come at picks 213 and 218 overall, giving the Vikings a total of seven selections as of now.

The Vikings were one of seven teams awarded multiple compensatory picks and the only team with two of them. The Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders were awarded four picks each. The Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans were given three additional picks.

In all, 15 teams were awarded compensatory picks.

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Arizona, Houston, Denver and Cincinnati were given third-round picks while Green Bay, Arizona, the New York Giants, New England and Dallas were given picks in the fourth round. Cincinnati, Dallas (two) and Green Bay (two) were given picks in the fifth round. The other 18 picks fell in the sixth and seventh rounds.

Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula. No club may receive more than four compensatory picks in any one year. If a club qualifies for more than four compensatory picks after offsetting each compensatory free agent (CFA) lost by each CFA gained of an equal or higher value, the four highest remaining selections will be awarded to the club.

The free agents lost that figured into the Vikings formula were Rhett Ellison, Matt Kalil, Captain Munnerlyn, Cordarrelle Patterson, Adrian Peterson and Andre Smith. The free agents the Vikings gained that figured into the formula were Case Keenum, Latavius Murray, Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers.

The Vikings were without picks in the fourth round and seventh rounds because of trades to obtain QB Sam Bradford and CB Tramaine Brock, respectively, over the last two years.

Expect Spielman to trade down at least once during the draft in an attempt to gain a couple more picks and bring the Vikings even closer to his goal of 10 picks.

2018 COMPENSATORY PICKS
Round Round/Overall Selection Team
3 33-97 Arizona
3 34-98 Houston
3 35-99 Denver
3 36-100 Cincinnati

4 33-133 Green Bay
4 34-134 Arizona
4 35-135 New York Giants
4 36-136 New England
4 37-137 Dallas

5 33-170 Cincinnati
5 34-171 Dallas
5 35-172 Green Bay
5 36-173 Dallas
5 37-174 Green Bay

6 33-207 Green Bay
6 34-208 Dallas
6 35-209 Kansas City
6 36-210 Oakland
6 37-211 Houston
6 38-212 Oakland
6 39-213 Minnesota
6 40-214 Houston
6 41-215 Baltimore
6 42-216 Oakland
6 43-217 Oakland
6 44-218 Minnesota

7 33-251 Los Angeles Chargers
7 34-252 Cincinnati
7 35-253 Cincinnati
7 36-254 Arizona
7 37-255 Tampa Bay
7 38-256 Atlanta

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The Minnesota Vikings are 6-2 and deep in the NFC playoff hunt as the team takes a week off during its bye. FOX Sports North looks at several lingering questions as the Vikings gear up for the second half.

USA TODAY Sports Brace Hemmelgarn
Who’s the quarterback?
Who’s the quarterback?
Minnesota has three quarterbacks, all seemingly capable of leading the team to victory when healthy. Call this a good problem to have, unlike, say, the Browns, Broncos and 49ers, who are rotating through QBs trying to find someone — anyone — who can play well. Still, the Vikings and head coach Mike Zimmer will need to decide which horse to ride, especially as the postseason approaches. If Sam Bradford can get healthy, should Minnesota give the reins back to him? After all, the Vikings did trade a first-round pick last year to get Bradford, who completed 71.6 percent of his passes with 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions in 2016. In his brief time in 1 1/2 games in 2017, Bradford is at 74.4 percent, 3 TDs and 0 INT — a 124.4 QB rating. Meanwhile, Case Keenum has filled in more than admirably in Bradford’s stead, completing 63.9 percent of his passes with seven TDs and three picks. Minnesota is 4-2 in Keenum’s six starts. Should they just stick with him? And, of course, there’s Teddy Bridgewater, the past and perhaps future king. Complicating things — beyond Minnesota wanting to win now — is that all three QBs are free agents in 2018.

What about the running game?
What about the running game?
Rookie Dalvin Cook gave Minnesota a burst of energy before he went down with a torn ACL. Cook averaged at least 5.08 yards per carry in three of his four games and in the other he rushed for 92 yards and caught five passes for 72 yards. In Cook’s absence, the Vikings running backs have been … adequate. Latavius Murray had a big game against Baltimore, rushing for 113 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. However in the other three games since Cook’s injury, Murray has 46 carries for 98 yards (2.13 average) with no TDs. Jerick McKinnon had some success running the ball in his first two games after Cook went down — 95 yards on 16 carries at Chicago and 69 yards on 15 carries vs. Green Bay — but in the last two games he has a combined 97 yards on 28 rushes (3.46 average). Like Cook, McKinnon does present some danger as a pass-catcher, with 20 receptions over the last four games. The Vikings did add former Washington running back Mack Brown on a waiver claim last week, however his role is underdetermined and he seems more like a depth addition. Either way, is this team good enough to grind out the yards, especially when the weather turns colder?

Associated Press AP
Will Kai Forbath cost the team a game?
Will Kai Forbath cost the team a game?
This might be a strange one to mention, after all Forbath has been rock solid on his field-goal tries, connecting on 21 of 22 as had made all nine attempts from 40+ yards (including 4 of 4 from 50+). But Forbath has made just 12 of 16 (75 percent) extra-point attempts. Only two players have a worse extra-point percentage in the NFL this season: Philadelphia’s Caleb Sturgis, who was 1 of 2 before heading to injured reserve, and Dallas’ Jeff Heath, a safety who made 2 of 3 in an emergency situation after Dan Bailey was injured and couldn’t kick. Only one other kicker is below 80 percent this season — Nick Folk, who was cut by Tampa Bay a few weeks ago. Forbath’s gaffes haven’t cost Minnesota — yet. But if he can’t get it straightened out, it’s only a matter of time before it does.

USA TODAY Sports Brad Rempel
Is there enough defensive depth?
Is there enough defensive depth?
Minnesota has been able to survive — and thrive — despite injuries to key offensive players quarterback Sam Bradford, running back Dalvin Cook and wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The defense, for the most part, has not had its depth tested. That’s probably a good thing. The backups include a number of untested players, such as defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson, safety Jayron Kearse, defensive end Stephen Weatherly and linebacker Eric Wilson, as well as players who haven’t thrived when given chances previously, such as defensive backs Mackensie Alexander and Anthony Harris.

Associated Press Jim Mone
Can the Vikings be road warriors?
Can the Vikings be road warriors?
Minnesota is not only in the mix for a playoff spot, but also potentially a first-round bye as a 1 or 2 seed. At 6-2, the Vikings enter their bye with the second-best record in the NFC. However, there are three teams at 5-2 who could match Minnesota this weekend — the Rams, Saints and Seahawks. The Vikings path to a bye, the playoffs or even the NFC North title will be carved out on the road. Five of Minnesota’s final eight games are away from home, including a could-be-rough three-game stretch at Detroit, Atlanta and Carolina starting Thanksgiving. The Vikings also play at Washington coming out of the bye and in Green Bay (in which Aaron Rodgers just possibly could play) in the second-to-last game of the year. If Minnesota can win at least two of its three remaining home games (vs. the Rams, Bengals and Bears), that’s eight wins — so figure at the least needing two more wins and 3-4 to get help ensure a bye. How the Vikings do on the road will determine their January plans.

Cheap Authentic NFL Vikings Sam Bradford Jersey

MINNEAPOLIS—The quarterback who had to do everything on fast-forward last year — learn a new offence eight days before the season, deliver the ball in two seconds or less behind a ramshackle line — had the perfect metaphor for his first year with the Vikings.

“(It’s) like the first time you drive a car — you’re freaked out,” Sam Bradford said. “I was comfortable; you have to be comfortable to be out there to go play. But last year, there was still a lot of thinking going on. I just said 15 words in the huddle, but what do those words mean?

“Now, when you get to the line, you can skip steps 1 through 3. You can start at step 4.”

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If what the Vikings have planned for this offence works, it won’t only be Bradford taking giant strides. When Minnesota hosts New Orleans on Monday night, the offence will be calibrated, for the first time in a decade, around something other than a preternaturally talented running back in Adrian Peterson.

The two newest members of the Vikings’ three-man backfield — free-agent addition Latavius Murray and second-round pick Dalvin Cook — will be expected to log frequent shotgun carries, catch passes out of the backfield and pick up blitzes, all while being compensated at prices just above (in Murray’s case) or well below the NFL average.
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The $36.8 million the Vikings guaranteed tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers was meant to shore up the team’s 32nd-ranked running game, yes, but it was done in the hope that a balanced offence would give Bradford more time to throw downfield.

And, at the heart of it all, is Bradford, who has the offensive co-ordinator (Pat Shurmur) who groomed him in both St. Louis and Philadelphia, and perhaps the best supporting cast of his nomadic seven-year career.

“You want to see the desire to constantly improve, to constantly get better, and when they’re adding pieces throughout free agency, throughout the draft, it gets you excited to get back and get to work,” said Bradford, who turns 30 in November.

There’s still the question, of course, of whether it will all pan out.

The first-team offence is coming off a tepid pre-season, having produced only three points in 12 drives. Bradford completed 74.4 per cent of his passes but was sacked five times, as lingering injuries prevented the new starting offensive line — from left, Reiff, Nick Easton, Pat Elflein, Joe Berger and Remmers — from playing together.

Of those five players, only Berger, who got five starts at right guard last year, is in the same place he ended 2016.

If an overhaul was needed, there was no point in being subtle about it.

“We got to a point last year where our passing game was essentially an extension of our running game,” Bradford said. “We were calling pass plays that were essentially designed to be effective run plays. We were calling pass plays to gain five yards, to gain six yards. I think there will still be some of that, but I really think this offence is going to be more balanced this year.”

It was clear well before Feb. 28, when the Vikings announced they wouldn’t exercise Peterson’s $18 million option for 2017. Minnesota, with Shurmur, wanted its running backs to do more than one thing.

“Defences are too good,” Shurmur said. “So if they know there’s a player in the game that can only do one thing, and can’t do another, it kind of tips the scales in their favour.”