With Two Picks in the 20’s This Year, the Minnesota Vikings Look to Improve on List of Picks Taken Between 20 and 29 in the NFL Draft
The NFL Draft is only a couple days away, and football-starved fans can hardly wait to see who their favorite team picks through the weekend festivities. Thanks in part to the Percy Harvin trade with Seattle, the Vikings have two draft picks in the first round: 23 and 25. These picks fall relatively late in the first round, but let’s take a look at how the Vikings have converted these late-round picks into memorable players.
Beside a top 5 pick, the Vikings had done some trading to land a second pick late in the first round. They used this pick, number 29 overall, to select safety Harrison Smith. While Smith has only played one season for the team, his rookie year proved to be a a good start for the former Notre Dame defenseman.
Blessed with blazing speed, soft hands, and returning abilities; the Vikings landed Percy Harvin at 22 overall in the 2009 Draft. While with the team, he provided plenty of highlights, but also had some locker room issues that many suspect is the key behind why he was traded to Seattle this offseason.
In this draft, the Vikings looked to add to their defensive line, and selected Kenechi Udeze at 20 overall. Udeze offered a promising rookie season, then injured his knee and later was diagnosed with leukemia, ending his career early.
Before the era before Adrian Peterson was that of slightly undersized speedster Michael Bennett. Bennett was picked at 27 overall and offered upsides including a Pro Bowl season. On the flipside, Bennett was fumble-prone and had some consistency issues that led to his departure after five seasons.
For a second year in a row (see below), the defensive line was the focus early in the Draft for the Vikings. Chris Hovan was taken at 25th overall to fill a void at defensive tackle. Hovan wasn’t a standout star, but served as a serviceable blue-collar player for the defense before heading to Tampa Bay.
The Vikings used their pick at number 29 overall to fortify the defensive line with Michigan State standout Dimitrius Underwood. After signing a five year deal worth over $5 million, Underwood walked out of training camp saying he “couldn’t resolve the conflict between playing football and serving his Christian faith.” The Vikings released Underwood a short time later. He only played 19 games in the NFL before spending time in a psychiatric care center and in jail after robbery charges.
The Minnesota Vikings saw something in a kid out of Marshall, picking said player (Randy Moss) at 21 overall in the 1998 Draft. Moss would go on to have a stellar rookie season and continue to be a threat for the Vikings offense that made several playoff appearances until he was moved to the Oakland Raiders. Since leaving the Vikings the first time, Moss made five stops with other teams, including another short run with the Vikings in 2010.
Dwayne Rudd was selected by the Vikings at 20 overall to bolster the team’s linebacker core. Rudd’s career offered some bright spots, but three years with Minnesota proved to be enough, and his career stalled a couple of years later.
The Vikings added Korey Stringer to their offensive line, using their 24th overall pick in the 1995 Draft. Stringer offered solid performances at left tackle, including a Pro Bowl season. His career was tragically cut short by complications from heat stroke during training camp in 2001.
Until Adrian Peterson came along, Robert Smith was THE name in the rushing world for the Minnesota Vikings. Smith, picked at 21 overall, was a two-time Pro Bowler for the Vikings and ended his career as the all-time leading rusher for Minnesota.