Every April gives hope to 32 football teams with dreams of playing deep in the season, ending with the Superbowl in February. The NFL Draft offers up the best young talent in the world and gives organizations the help they may need to put them over the top in a league filled with parity.
The Minnesota Vikings have had their share of successes and busts come draft time in their history. Some players have led them to the playoffs and put together Hall Of Fame credentials, while others have left fans scratching their heads.
Oh, and if there is one thing all Vikings fans have learned, it is that the clock can be your best friend, or your worst enemy.
Here are some of the best and worst moments on draft day history for fans clad in purple and gold.
10. In 1991, the Vikings did not have a first or second round draft choice. But that did not stop them from getting a player that would help the team out for over a decade to come. Jake Reed, out of Grambling State, wasn't the most flashy wide receiver to come out of college, but as a third round pick, he may have been the best bargain.
Reed would combine with Chris Carter to be the first duo to amass 1,000 yards each for four straight years.
9. One of the two first rounders in 1999 ended up having multiple pro bowl seasons. The other never played a down for the team. Defensive end Dimitrius Underwood out of Michigan State was released by the Vikings even before the preseason started that year, as mental problems got in the way of his ability to perform as a football player.
8. DeMarcus Ware, Shawne Merriman and Roddy White all would look good right now wearing purple. But the player the Vikings chose with the seventh overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft isn't even with the team anymore.
Wide receiver Troy Williamson had world class speed, but couldn't hang on to the pigskin if you told him there was his fat rookie contract inside of it. Williamson was traded after the 2007 season for a sixth round pick from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
7. The 1998 draft was potentially one of the best in the history of the team. But that may be only because of two players. Center Matt Birk from Harvard and wide receiver Randy Moss out of Marshall combined for 11 Pro Bowls between the two of them while in a Vikings uniform. Moss was the 21st overall pick and Birk was the 173rd.
6. In 1967, the Vikings had three first round picks. Their last of them may have turned out to be the best player in team history. Alan Page, a defensive end from Notre Dame, was League MVP in 1971, a nine time Pro Bowler and had his number retired.
Oh yeah, he also was inducted in to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1988.
5. Although many consider him to be one of the top defensive tackles in the game today, Kevin Williams from Oklahoma State wasn't exactly brought in to the franchise in the most conventional way.
In 2003, the Vikings had the seventh overall selection. But that doesn't mean that they chose there. Minnesota missed the deadline to make their selection not once, but twice, and ended up taking Williams with the ninth pick. He has since had 42.5 sacks in six seasons.
4. Tommy Mason and Rip Hawkins never made is as household names for Vikings fans, but the man drafted after both of them most certainly did. Quarterback Fran Tarkenton from Georgia was taken with the first pick in the third round in 1961. He played 13 years for the purple and gold and had a 239-194 touchdown to interception ratio for them.
3. With the Vikings recent quarterback woes, one who threw for over 2,600 yards last year and had 18 touchdowns wouldn't be too shabby right now.
Tyler Thigpen was taken by Minnesota in the seventh round of the 2007 draft, and was cut by the team before the season even started. The Kansas City Chiefs claimed Thigpen from waivers and proceeded to turn heads from everyone following football last season.
2. Making seven Probowls, John Randle definitely holds a spot in all of Minnesota Vikings fans hearts. Inducted in to the College Football Hall Of Fame in 2008, Randle went undrafted before joining the Vikings before playing his first game in 1990. Randle accounted for 137.5 sacks in his career.
1. Even though he was taken as the second overall tackle of the 2002 NFL Draft, Bryant McKinnie has definitely been the most productive. Out of Miami (FL) McKinnie has been the cornerstone for the left side of the offensive line.
Quarterbacks have come and go, along with members of the offensive line. But, although many teams thrive for a dominate a star tackle, the Vikings have found one, and gave him the security that will keep him here for years to come.