The Vikings made a huge splash last year in free agency, adding quarterback Kirk Cousins to a then-record-setting contract. And even though Minnesota also scooped up defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson in free agency, the Vikings still emerged from the process with three compensatory draft picks.
According to the NFL, the Vikings picked up a sixth-round pick and a pair of seventh-rounders.
The analysis ultimately isn’t driven by value of contract but by net gains and losses in unrestricted free agency. Outweighing the arrival of Cousins and Richardson were the losses of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback Case Keenum, running back Jerick McKinnon, defensive tackle Shamar Stephen, and cornerback Tramaine Brock.
The Vikings could have gotten even more if the Cardinals had kept quarterback Sam Bradford longer, or if the Seahawks had retained defensive tackle Tom Johnson (who returned to Minnesota after he was released).
The specific picks come from a convoluted formula that takes into account many factors. The primary factor is total number of players signed, and total number of players lost. Also, the process encompasses only those players who became unrestricted free agents via the expiration of their contracts, and it applies only to signings made before May 11.