The 2023 NFL Draft is 85 days away, and the Minnesota Vikings, for now, have just four picks. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah traded away 2023 draft capital for players like T.J. Hockenson and Jalen Reagor, so the cupboard is a little barren.
However, Minnesota should receive a 5th-Round compensatory pick, courtesy of Tyler Conklin’s journey to the New York Jets last offseason. Moreover, Adofo-Mensah loves to conduct trades, and Vikings fans should reasonably expect the draft-pick total to climb by the end of the event.
The Vikings Have 3 Draft Droughts
And when Adofo-Mensah is the war room — and fans watch live from Kansas City or on their sofas — these are three Vikings draft droughts to keep in mind.
The EDGE Rusher Drought
The Vikings haven’t selected an EDGE rusher in Rounds 1 or 2 of the NFL Draft since 2005.
Cue Jesse Pinkman — how do they keep getting away with this? Simple. Sign Jared Allen, draft Everson Griffen late-ish, and discover Danielle Hunter in Round 3 eight years ago.
Minnesota has been lucky — and smart — with acquiring EDGE rushers not from the 1st or 2nd Round of the draft. The last time they invested early-round draft capital in an EDGE rusher was in 2005 when the team scooped Erasmus James from Wisconsin in Round 1.
The 2005 NFL Draft was terrible for the Vikings — it was the same event used to draft Troy Williamson — and incidentally, was the final time to date the franchise drafted a pass rusher early.
With the futures of Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith somewhat uncertain as of January 31st, the Vikings could use their 1st-Rounder at this position.
Oh, and they don’t have a 2nd-Rounder (for now).
The WR in Round 2-3 Drought
Minnesota hasn’t used Round 2 or 3 draft capital on a wide receiver since 2007.
These are wideouts drafted by the Vikings since then:
- Jalen Nailor (R6, 2022)
- Ihmir Smith-Marsette (R5, 2021)
- Justin Jefferson (R1, 2020)
- K.J. Osborn (R5, 2020)
- Dillon Mitchell (R7, 2019)
- Olabisi Johnson (R7, 2019)
- Rodney Adams (R5, 2017)
- Stacy Coley (R7, 2017)
- Laquon Treadwell (R1, 2016)
- Moritz Boehringer (R6, 2016)
- Stefon Diggs (R5, 2015)
- Cordarrelle Patterson (R1, 2013)
- Jarius Wright (R4, 2012)
- Greg Childs (R4, 2012)
- Stephen Burton (R7, 2011)
- Joe Webb (R6, 2010)
- Percy Harvin (R1, 2009)
- Jaymar Johnson (R6, 2008)
For whatever reason, Rick Spielman hated spending Round 2-3 draft stock on wide receivers — which is strange because those rounds, especially the 2nd, have been a WR gravy train as of late.
The last Round 2-3 wide receiver chosen by the Vikings was Sidney Rice in 2007.
The QB in Round 1 Drought
Mainly because Kirk Cousins has manned the QB1 duty for five years, the Vikings haven’t used the 1st Round for a quarterback since 2014.
That was, of course, Teddy Bridgewater from Louisville, the current QB2 for the Miami Dolphins. Minnesota had high hopes for Bridgewater, but he suffered a gruesome leg injury just before the start of the 2016 season. No one knew it at the time, but that was basically a wrap on Bridgewater’s Vikings career.
Adofo-Mensah is unlikely to draft a QB in Round 1 this April, chiefly because Cousins is under contract through the end of 2023 with a no-trade clause, but weirder things have happened.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).