TODAY'S LOOK BACK: The 40th overall pick.
Looking back on previous NFL drafts for a better understanding of the crapshoot nature of this business is oh so much easier and more fun to do than pretending to know how the next wave of draft picks will perform. We've already looked back through the past 20 drafts for some perspective on the picks the Vikings hold in the second (40), third (72, 96), fourth (108), fifth (148), sixth (184) and seventh (223) rounds of next week's draft.
Now, we move up to the first round to do the same with the No. 8 pick.
Pro Bowlers picked No. 8 since 1994: Half (10) have made at least one Pro Bowl. The best of the bunch? There hasn't been a great No. 8 pick in the past 20 years. Sam Adams, who went to Seattle in 1994, was a three-time Pro Bowler. Roy Williams, the safety who went to Dallas in 2002, was a five-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro. But with hindsight to guide you, would you rather have had Williams or Ed Reed (No. 24 that year) as your safety?
Have the Vikings picked No. 8 since 1994?: Well, technically, in 2003, they had it for 15 minutes and then lost it to Carolina. That was the year the Vikings started the draft with the seventh pick. They wanted Kevin Williams, but felt they could trade down to get him. They thought they have a trade down to No. 10 with the Ravens. But Baltimore never confirmed the trade with the league. Legend has it that then-owner Red McCombs, whose frugal ways favored moving down to save money, told his personnel people not keep trying to trade the pick as time was expiring. The Jaguars jumped ahead of the Vikings and took Byron Leftwich at No. 7. Then the Panthers jumped over the Vikings to take offensive tackle Jordan Gross. It's a humiliating moment in franchise history, but it also culminated with the Vikings selecting one of the best defensive tackles they've ever had.
Ouch 1: The Panthers had the eighth pick in 1996 and a need for a running back. They chose Tim Biakabutuka instead of Eddie George. George went 14th to the Oilers. Then Marvin Harrison went No. 19 to the Colts. And then, if that weren't bad enough, Ray Lewis went to the Ravens at No. 26.
Ouch 2: Randy Moss never did let the Cowboys forget the mistake they made by passing on him in 1998. The Cowboys never forgave themselves either. Or at least Jerry Jones never did. The Cowboys picked a decent player. Edge rusher Greg Ellis lasted 12 NFL seasons and had 84 career sacks. But Moss was, well, Moss. He went No. 21 to the Vikings.
Ouch 3: In 2007, the Falcons needed help defensively. they took defensive end Jamaal Anderson. He lasted four years with them and six seasons overall. He finished his career with 7 1/2 sacks. In picking Anderson, the Falcons passed up Patrick Willis (No. 11), Marshawn Lynch (No. 12) and Darrelle Revis (No. 14), among others.
Other highlights/lowlights of the No. 8 pick since 1994:
1995: In 1995, Seattle took receiver Joey Galloway. A good pick. But not as good as Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, who went 12th overall. One pick before Sapp, the Vikings also took a defensive lineman: Derrick Alexander.
1997: The Jets took linebacker James Farrior. He became a Pro Bowl player. But Tony Gonzalez (No. 13) became a Hall of Famer.
2000: The Steelers took Plaxico Burress. A good pick. The Bears followed up at No. 9 with Brian Urlacher. A great pick.
2001: The Bears took David Terrell. A bad pick. The Seahawks took Steve Hutchinson at No. 17. A potential Hall of Fame pick.
2004: The Falcons took DeAngelo Hall. Good pick. The Steelers took Ben Roethlisberger. Franchise-changing pick.
2009: The Jaguars took offensive tackle Eugene Monroe. They traded him to the Ravens last fall. The Jags could have had Percy Harvin (No. 22), B.J. Raji (No. 9), Brian Orakpo (No. 13) or Clay Matthews (No. 26).