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The Vikings Have 3 Draft Droughts


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Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

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 Have 3 Draft
AMERICAN FOOTBALL 2007-2008 NFL Minnesota Vikings Erasmus James. Image credit: Imago. The Vikings drafted James in the 1st Round of the 2005 NFL Draft.

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

Enough for the Vikings
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) warms up wearing a shirt honoring Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin (3) before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

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

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Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (right) celebrates after the NFC Divisional Playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.


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