NEW YORK -- Fresh off selecting two defenders, Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was in a news conference Thursday night with local reporters, believing his night was done. He was wrong.
Spielman was pulled out of the conference, and he sprinted down the hall to make a trade that will be talked about for a long time. The Vikings sent the No. 52, No. 83, No. 102, and No. 229 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft to the New England Patriots in exchange for the right to select former Tennessee wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson. That is a huge haul for a late first-round pick; a lot of picks to give up for a receiver who essentially is a project.
For much of the draft process, Patterson was viewed as the top wide receiver. His skill set is what you look for in a prototypical wide receiver, but reportedly there were concerns about immaturity on and off the field. Patterson still needs to learn route running and offensive concepts after playing only one season at Tennessee. He'll have a nice veteran mentor in Greg Jennings. He'll need it because there will be a lot of pressure after this trade.
This Vikings' draft haul will help define the Spielman era. They stopped Sharrif Floyd's draft free-fall. They picked up former Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes. And they took a big risk giving up four picks for Patterson.
Meanwhile, the Patriots continue to make chicken salad out of thin air. Compare their haul to the Dallas Cowboys' trade with the St. Louis Rams. The Cowboys moved down 13 spots in the first round and picked up the No. 74 overall pick in the process. The Patriots moved down more spots (23), but their pick was less valuable to begin with. And they got a much better return than the Cowboys.
The Patriots entered this draft with only five picks. Now they have two picks in the second round, two picks in the third round, a fourth-rounder and three seventh-rounders. In a deep draft, this approach makes a ton of sense. Now the Patriots just have to make the picks count.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.