Former Minnesota Viking John Randle wasn't drafted and ended his career in the Hall of Fame.
Within the past five years they had one of their own enshrined in the Hall of Fame after going undrafted. That player?
Randle terrorized opposing quarterbacks throughout his 11 seasons in Minnesota and never recorded under 5.5 sacks in three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. In 2010, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
But the NFL didn't think he was its cup of tea when he was eligible for the 1990 draft, until Minnesota took a flier on the undersized kid from Texas A&M-Kingsville as an undrafted free agent.
Twenty-three years later, the Vikings welcome another class of undrafted rookies into their training camp with a chance for them to make their NFL dreams come true.
These five players all could be the next John Randle and turn their NFL dreams into reality after going undrafted.
You may scoff at some of these names, but don't forget, most of the NFL scoffed at Randle 23 years ago. These five players are all long shots to make the roster, but where there's a will, there is a way.
Marquis Jackson (No. 64) has the height (6'5") and length to be a problem-causing defensive end.
Entering last season, defensive end was Minnesota's deepest position.
The position had a bright future with Jared Allen, Brian Robison and Everson Griffen (and it still does). But all three are free agents this upcoming offseason. With so much uncertainty for the future, Marquis Jackson may get an extra look.
Jackson, formerly of Portland State, recorded 7.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss in his senior season.
His height (6'5") combined with his length gives him the body for a prototypical defensive end. At 250 pounds, he needs to bulk up some, but he wouldn't make Minnesota's roster with a shot to play immediately. For 2013, the team is more than OK at the position.
Adding Jackson to the roster would be a move made with the future in mind.
His NFL.com draft profile predicted he would at least be selected in the draft, rather than having to sign as a free agent, because of his "combination of size and athleticism."
That same report applauds his ability to get after the quarterback, but questions his bulk and ability to consistently beat top-end NFL talent.
As mentioned in the previous slide, the defensive end position is in for a big offseason after 2013.
Minnesota has young talent behind its "Big Three" at the position and appears primed to re-sign at least Brian Robison and Everson Griffen.
But the Vikings will want to keep their options open nonetheless.
A player like Nate Williams, who's labeled as "tough" and "instinctive" by NFL.com, has a shot to garner attention. That same NFL.com report compares him to Erik Walden, who signed a four-year, $16 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts this offseason.
The NFL.com report cites major concerns about a left knee injury suffered in 2011, concerns about his true position and his bulk.
Should he just make plays in training camp, concerns about his position, left knee and bulk will vanish.
Anthony McCloud possesses a wide frame that could make him an effective run-stopper.
For years, Minnesota's defense was among the best at stopping the run.
A major reason: the Williams wall, comprised of Pat and Kevin Williams.
Kevin remains, but Pat is two years retired. Since Pat's retirement, the Vikings run defense has dropped from ninth in 2010 to 22nd in 2011 and bumped back up to 11th in 2012.
One of the many reasons was the lack of a run-stuffing defensive tackle.
Anthony McCloud could develop into that type of player.
McCloud, formerly of Florida State, stands 6'2" and 322 pounds, according to the Vikings' website.
He's known for possessing a wide frame, which makes him difficult to move.
His NFL.com draft profile applauds his upper-body strength and ability to control blockers while questioning his ability to get consistent push on offensive linemen.
Should he bolster his lower-body strength and prove able to get consistent push on offensive linemen, he could have a shot with Minnesota—especially given the frequency with which Minnesota's defensive tackles play in the 3-technique (his strength).
At 6'6" and 219 pounds, Rodney Smith is a physical specimen.
Everyone's talking about the new and improved Minnesota wide receiving corps.
With Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson, there is reason for optimism.
But the corps, as a whole, is still highly unproven.
Jerome Simpson was a complete and utter flop last season (26 receptions for 274 yards in 12 games), while Jarius Wright showed glimpses as a rookie.
Meanwhile, Jennings has been injury prone (missing 11 games over the previous two seasons) and Patterson is a rookie who isn't by any means a polished NFL receiver.
There's an opportunity for a physical specimen like Rodney Smith (6'6'" and 219 pounds) to make some noise.
In his final season at Florida State, Smith caught 38 passes for 524 yards with three touchdowns. Those numbers don't jump off the page, but Minnesota isn't looking for a future No. 1 wide receiver. It's looking for a big target it can throw the ball to in the red zone.
His NFL.com draft profile praises his ability to beat defenders with the ball in the air and as a downfield threat, which are both areas where Minnesota needs assistance. It questions his strength and ability to develop into a crisp route-runner.
But the Vikings aren't looking for that at this juncture. They want somebody who can separate from defenders and outjump defensive backs.
Smith has a shot.
At the slot position, Minnesota appears to be in good hands.
Greg Jennings, when healthy, has the track record of a playmaking wide receiver. Jarius Wright, as a rookie, showed the potential to develop into, at the very least, an adequate receiver.
It's on the edge where Minnesota needs help, and Erik Highsmith could be a bottom-of-the-depth-chart solution.
Sadly for Vikings fans, NFL.com compares him to Devin Aromashodu. But his scouting report doesn't read like the Aromashodu I know.
It questions his speed and ability to blow past NFL defenders, which is more of what Aromashodu was known for, while lauding his hands, route running and strength (none of which were Aromashodu specialties). It suggests he could develop into a No. 2 or No. 3 in a receiving corps.
He caught 54 passes for 587 yards and five touchdowns in his final season at North Carolina.