The Minnesota Vikings have a lot of needs heading into 2011. Drafting players throughout every round to fill holes and be the style of players Leslie Frazier wants is instrumental in the continued success of this franchise.
With no free agency, they will essentially be drafting in the dark. Every year is important when drafting players, but this year it is magnified.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane to see how the Vikings have fared at landing a “Super Draft Class."
Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice, Marcus McCauley, Brian Robison, Aundrae Allison, Rufus Alexander, Tyler Thigpen, Chandler Williams
This is the kind of draft the Vikings need in 2011. A pair of superstars and a solid role player at the very least.
Adrian Peterson was an instant sensation, taking the league by force.
Sidney Rice developed into a star when placed with the right quarterback and healthy.
Brian Robison has been a very nice surprise for the organization.
The rest of the class has long since been gone.
Getting more out of a third-round pick would have been nice, since McCauley flamed out after a year and a half.
Chad Greenway, Cedric Griffin, Ryan Cook, Tavaris Jackson, Ray Edwards, Greg Blue
This draft will be remembered as the great “reach draft”.
The Vikings made nice selections in Chad Greenway (first round) and Cedric Griffin (second round).
Ryan Cook could have been had as late as the sixth round, and Tavaris Jackson could have been picked up as an undrafted free agent—but then-coach Brad Childress traded up to get them both with second-round picks.
Ray Edwards was a steal in round four, if only they could have been as savvy with Cook and Jackson.
Greg Blue was a seventh rounder and flashed promise for a while before going away.
Kevin Williams, E.J. Henderson, Nate Burleson, Onterrio Smith, Eddie Johnson, Michael Nattiel, Keenan Howry
In this draft, the Vikings took advantage of their first two picks.
Kevin Williams, taken in the first round, is a possible future Hall of Fame inductee and has been spectacular.
E.J. Henderson developed into a star on defense after waiting in the wings for a couple years.
Nate Burleson has been an injury plagued journeyman, but when healthy is a solid receiver in any offense.
The rest of the draft was pretty weak.
Onterrio Smith had some good games but humiliated the franchise with his, ummm, lack of prudence.
Percy Harvin, Phil Loadhalt, Asher Allen, Jasper Brinkley, Jamarca Sanford
This draft is fairly recent and perhaps too early to declare.
Percy Harvin is undoubtedly a star, both on offense and special teams.
Phil Loadhalt is at an interesting time in his career. If he is given another chance at right tackle, he had better play with effort. He is most likely going to be moved to the guard position. If he fails there too, he can go down as a bust, considering he was a second-round selection.
Asher Allen is a decent rotational corner, a good tackler.
Jasper Brinkley showed a lot of promise filling in for Henderson in 2009, a good value pick in the fifth round.
Bryant McKinnie, Raonall Smith, Willie Offord, Brian Williams, Ed Ta’amu, Nick Rogers, Chad Beasley
This draft doesn’t deserve to be considered a top-five draft, but the Vikings didn’t have very many good drafts in 2K.
Bryant McKinnie has had his good years and his bad ones.
Brian Williams was supposed to be a star for Jacksonville after a good run in Minnesota but has since disappeared.
The rest of the draft did very little for the team.
Willie Offord was starting at one point but didn't cover very well.
Troy Williamson, Erasmas James, Marcus Johnson, Dustin Fox, Ciatrick Fason, C.J. Mosely, Adrian Ward
You all saw this coming; how can we forget? When a team has two first-round picks, they had better find a future star with at least one of them.
As it stands, the Vikings didn’t find a star with any pick whatsoever.
In Minnesota's defense, Erasmas James put up good numbers in college; how were the Vikings to know he would be a bust?
But Troy Who? Where to begin venting...
Marcus Johnson was huge, and there is no reason he should not have had success, alas! He did very little to keep his job and was replaced by Anthony Herrea.
Dustin Fox and Ciatrick Fason were reaches and did not pan out either.
Easily the worst draft. But not the only really bad one…
Michael Bennett, Willie Howard, Eric Kelly, Shawn Worthen, Cedric James, Patrick Chukwurah, Carey Scott, Brian Crawford
If you know who any of these people are, then at least it’s not as bad as it looks.
Michael Bennett had a 1,000-yard season but never could get going. His main draw was his track-and-field record—who ran this draft?
The rest of the guys chosen either fell out of football early or made practice squads for a few years. None of them started at any time with the team.
Chris Hovan, Fred Robbins, Michael Boireau, Doug Chapman, Antonio Wilson, Tyrone Carter, Troy Walters, Mike Malano, Giles Cole, Lewis Kelly
This draft never yielded any stars for the Vikings, but it wasn’t horrible.
Chris Hovan couldn’t get his career going; he did, however, have a decent stint in Tampa Bay before 2010.
Fred Robbins is the best pick here, from the second round. He didn’t remain in Minnesota though, and the New York Giants have enjoyed his talents.
Doug Chapman did alright while he lasted but was never anything special.
Tyrone Carter started for the Vikings and New York Jets before losing his second chances.
Troy Walters was a special teams star.
Kenechi Udeze, Dontarrious Thomas, Darrion Scott, Nat Dorsey, Mewelde Moore, Rod Davis, Deandre’ Eiland, Jeff Dugan
Kenechi Udeze came to the draft with some injury concerns but with amazing potential and one-year wonder numbers (Da’Quan Bowers?). After putting up a season with zero sacks, despite starting the entire year and having several other opportunities, the Vikings began to search elsewhere.
Dontarrious Thomas was starting to become a solid starter for Minnesota but opted to take more money with another team and hasn’t been heard from since.
Darrion Scott was the leader in sacks one year with 5.5. He began to entertain the idea that he was better than the money offered by the Vikings, but he also hasn’t been heard from in a while.
Mewelde Moore saves this draft. He was a great third-down back for the Vikings and has enjoyed a great run in Pittsburgh backing up Rashard Mendenhall.
These players did well for Minnesota while they accepted a smaller role; it wasn’t a terrible draft.
Tyrell Johnson, John David Booty, Letroy Guion, John Sullivan, Jaymar Johnson
This draft isn’t a bad one, just got thrown under the hooves.
The team's failure to even attempt developing John David Booty was sad (typical Childress negligence).
Tyrell Johnson is still with the team, but he is on his last leg.
Letroy Guion is the steal, a fifth-round draft pick developing into a solid rotational lineman.
John Sullivan could have been the steal, but he has regressed into a liability and will be replaced very soon as the starting center.
Jaymar Johnson has been held onto. The team really likes him, and this is going to be his year if he ever has one.
This draft could be considered one of the better ones. The team traded the first-round pick for Jared Allen. However, since they didn’t actually draft a player, we’ll put it here.
Every team in the NFL has its own sob story about prospects who didn't pan out. The Vikings probably have more than most teams.
Leslie Frazier will be part of his first draft as a head coach, and he needs a really good one to get things going for his ballclub.
There is, unfortunately, no path to follow. In this league it's impossible to learn from the past—you swing, and most of the time you miss.
Good luck out there in the dark!