Heading into the draft, we are giving the recent history at each of the Vikings’ seven draft slots.
We continue this series with pick No. 76, the third of the Vikings’ seven selections. Immediate expectations should be high for this pick. In the past four years, two of the 76th picks – Keenan Allen in San Diego and Will Rackley in Jacksonville – have started 14 games as a rookie. Last year’s 76th pick – Detroit center Travis Swanson – started five games and has now officially replaced longtime veteran Dominic Raiola.
Before we look at the good, bad and ugly, here is a list of the last 10 players to go 76th overall:
2014: Travis Swanson, C, Lions
2013: Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
2012: Brandon Brooks, G, Texans
2011: Will Rackley, G, Jaguars
2010: Chad Jones, DB, Giants
2009: DeAndre Levy, LB, Lions
2008: Brad Cottam, TE, Chiefs
2007: Jason Hill, WR, 49ers
2006: Anthony Schlegel, LB, Jets
2005: Karl Paymah, DB, Broncos
The good… There are some choices. Allen helped prove that good receivers can come from beyond the first round when he had eight touchdowns and a 1,000-yard season as a rookie. Brooks has started 30 games the past two years. But the winner is Levy, who has started 82 of 89 games, including 10 as a rookie, and remains a starter for the Lions.
The bad… Again, there are choices. Paymah started only seven games in his six-year career, although two of them came in 2009 while helping the Vikings reach the NFC title game. Cottam started eight games and lasted only two years with Kansas City before his career ended. Hill had only 78 catches in a seven-year career with three teams. But we’ll go with Schlegel, who made it only one year with the Jets. He played just one more year in Cincinnati and was done after five career starts.
The ugly… Not really a choice here. Jones not only didn’t play for the Giants in 2010, he didn’t play for any NFL team. Ever.
Having the Vikings ever picked 76th? Yes. Three times. Neither defensive back Bob Hall (1966) nor receiver Eddie Hackett (1971) ever played for the Vikings or the NFL. Linebacker Mike McGill (1968) played through the 1972 season.
Best 76th pick in NFL history? There isn’t a Hall of Famer or an historically great player who jumps out. In fact, going back to the beginning of the draft in 1936, only two players picked 76th overall have gone on to make first-team All-Pro. And those two guys — Bills defensive end Ron Snidow, drafted in 1963, and Seahawks linebacker Fredd Young, drafted in 1984 – made first-team only once. Other choices are 49ers receiver John Taylor (1986) and quarterback Chris Chandler, who played 18 seasons for multiple teams and (look away, this is going to sting) upset the 15-1 Vikings in the NFC title game during the 1998 season. But our pick is running back Ahman Green. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, who picked him in 1998, Green’s four Pro Bowls and the majority of his 9,205 rushing yards and 60 touchdowns came in Green Bay.
Big thanks to Pro Football Reference and their invaluable Draft Finder for making our work easy.