Monday, April 16, 2012

The worst first round draft picks in Minnesota Viking history

The Minnesota Vikings have wasted a number of first round draft picks in their 51 year history on players who never lived up expectations or contributed next to nothing to the team. Here are the ten most wasted picks that, in some cases, set the franchise back years. It's hard to believe that scouts and coaches spend so much time and energy on the draft, yet can make such bad decisions when selecting players.

10) Mark Mullaney, DE, 1975: Although he played in 151 games and started 97 in his 12 years with the team, Mullaney didn't seem to learn much from playing behind great ends Carl Eller and Jim Marshall. He never came close to being even an average pass rusher, let alone one that was worth a first round selection. A symbol of the Vikes' mediocrity from 1979 through the mid-1980's.

9) James White, DT, 1976: Didn't exactly turn out to be the next Alan Page. Started 61 games for Bud Grant during his eight years with the team. Not sure why Grant cut Page, thus making White the regular RDT; Bud must have been an optimist. White didn't even make Les Steckel's 1984 mess of team, being waived at the end of training camp.

8) Randy Holloway, DE, 1978: Another end, like Mullaney, who never amounted to much as a pass rusher or even as an average defensive lineman. Started only 31 games in his 7 years with the team and was unceremoniously dumped by Les Steckel (which isn't saying much) in the middle of the 3-13 fiasco that was the 1984 season.

7) Derrick Alexander, DE, 1995: Dennis Green was never much of a talent evaluator, and Alexander was one of his mistakes. Played only four seasons and made zero impact. Hardly worth being the 14th selection in the draft overall.

6) Gerald Robinson, DE, 1986: One of those hybrid DE/OLB types that rarely seem to pan out, Robinson, like Alexander, was the 14th overall pick in the first round. He didn't even make it through two years with the team, dumped by the Vikings after the fourth game in his second season in 1987. Not one the Vikes' scouting staff can be proud of.

5) D.J. Dozier, RB, 1987: The team hasn't had a lot of luck picking 14th in the first round. Dozier barely played in his four years with the team. His career high in rushing yardage was 257 yards in his first season, which apparently didn't impress Jerry Burns and the front office...the Vikes thought so highly of Dozier that they went out and traded away a ton of draft picks in 1989 - for RB Herschel Walker.

4) Erasmus James, DE, 2004: James started 12 games in his three seasons with the team, contributing nothing. An example of how so-called draft experts can build up a player based solely on potential - James didn't produce much in college and was often injured. Way too much of a risk to be taken in the first round. Whoever wanted to pick James should have been fired.

3) Troy Williamson, WR, 2005: Another player picked because of potential, Williamson sums up the mediocrity of the mid-2000's Vikings teams. Didn't do much in college, but was a player scouts thought could be "coached up," which almost never works. Was on the team for only three seasons, but dropped so many easy passes when he did play it's a wonder how he was drafted at all, let alone in the first round.

2) Leo Hayden, RB, 1971: Hayden's career with the team lasted one season. He appeared in seven games, with zero rushing attempts. Yikes. Was on the Cardinals' roster the next two years but barely played. Hard to believe there's a worse first round pick than this one.

1) Dimitrius Underwood, DE, 2000: Didn't even make it out of training camp. Left the team after one day and then was cut before the season started due to psychological issues. Since the Vikings had two first round picks that year, Dennis Green tried to sweep his mistake under the rug, saying it was just a "bonus pick." Uh-huh. Typical doubletalk by Green, who was a lousy evaluator of talent. Underwood had red flags coming out of college, but Green chose to ignore them. Let's hope the Vikings don't have any more misses as big as this one.

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