Thursday, May 8, 2014

The best drafts in Minnesota Vikings history

The Minnesota Vikings have had more bad drafts than good ones. Looking at some of the players they've selected, it's hard to believe they actually were a contending team during some seasons.

A review of the Vikings' college drafts in past years did show some good ones, that resulted in players who made significant contributions to the team's success.

Here are the best ten drafts:

10) 1976 - This one netted wide receiver Sammy White, who was a key player on offense during the late '70's and early '80's. Also nabbed was guard Wes Hamilton, who was a starter and serviceable player during the same time period.

9) 1964 - Defensive end Carl Eller was selected; he became one of the best Vikings of all time and a Hall of Fame member. Guard Milt Sunde was also picked, and he was a starter during the late '60's and early '70's.

8) 1961 - Quarterback Fran Tarkenton began a Hall of Fame career; running back Tommy Mason was a good player during the team's early years. Cornerback Ed Sharockman was a steady defender in the 1960's and early '70's.

7) 1977 - Quarterback Tommy Kramer and linebacker Scott Studwell played well for years. Center Dennis Swilley and safety Tommy Hannon also contributed during the late '70's and early '80's.

6) 1968 - Offensive tackle Ron Yary became one of the best players in franchise history and a member of the Hall of Fame. Running back Oscar Reed, cornerback Charlie West, and quarterback Bob Lee also made contributions from the late '60's through the mid '70's.

5) 1998 - Wide receiver Randy Moss and center Matt Birk were selected; both became important players and Pro Bowlers.

4) 1983 - Safety Joey Browner and cornerback Carl Lee were drafted, and both were key players and Pro Bowlers on dominant defenses in the late '80's.

3) 1974 - Linebacker Matt Blair became one of the best players in Vikings history, and a perennial Pro Bowler. Offensive tackle Steve Riley started and played well for ten years. Linebacker Fred McNeil was a starter and good defensive player in the late '70's and early '80's.

2) 2012 - So far it looks like a good haul from this draft, with offensive tackle Matt Kalil, safety Harrison Smith and kicker Blair Walsh all becoming instant stars who look like they will be franchise mainstays. Safety Robert Blanton, linebacker Audie Cole, wide receiver Jarius Wright, tight end Rhett Ellison, and cornerback Josh Robinson all made the team and have already made contributions.

1) 1967 - The Vikings were smart in selecting defensive tackle Alan Page, who became a Hall of Famer and one of the best players in NFL history. Cornerback Bobby Bryant also had a great career; he was a key piece on dominant defenses of the late '60's and early '70's. Wide receiver Gene Washington became a Pro Bowler. Running back Clint Jones, wide receiver Bob Grim, and tight end John Beasley also made contributions.


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