The latest draft crop of Vikings, for the most part, will have only medium-sized shoes to fill.
In case you missed it, the Vikings earlier this week assigned jersey numbers to all 10 of their 2011 draft picks. While players certainly can change numbers during their careers, we thought we would use the opportunity to identify the top Vikings player to wear each of the 10 numbers in the franchise's history. We will first list the drafted player and his number, followed by the best ex-Vikings player (subjective, of course) to wear that number:
• No. 7 Christian Ponder, QB: With apologies to Tarvaris Jackson (OK, not really), we'll give this distinction to Randall Cunningham. It might have been only for one great year, really, but that was a great year (ending not included).
• No. 30 Mistral Raymond, CB: We're going with Bill Brown, who holds the team record for most games played by a running back (182) and was a four-time Pro Bowl pick.
• No. 36 Brandon Burton, CB: The pickings are a little slim here, but John Kirby gets the nod. He was a linebacker with the Vikings during the 1960s and started 30 games.
• No. 57 Ross Homan, LB: Mike Merriweather was a pretty good player on some very good defenses for the Vikings from 1989 to '92. He gets the call here over Dwayne Rudd, who never met a tackle after a 7-yard gain that he couldn't celebrate.
• No. 63 Brandon Fusco, OL: If Fusco has anywhere near the career of another 63, Kirk Lowdermilk, the Vikings will be more than happy. Lowdermilk was a dependable center in the late 1980s and early '90s.
• No. 75 DeMarcus Love, OL: We're going for a technicality here. While Matt Birk primarily wore No. 78 in his career, he did wear 75 very early on. He gets the edge.
• No. 82 Kyle Rudolph, TE: Seventeen players have worn this number previously for the Vikings. None has been particularly lucky with it. We'll take Jim Lash, who had 500-plus yards receiving for two very good Vikings teams back-to-back in 1974-75. What? You'd rather have Qadry Ismail, Andrew Glover or Troy Williamson?
• No. 86 Stephen Burton, WR: The majority of Jake Reed's 6,999 career receiving yards came in four 1,000-plus seasons with the Vikings from 1994 to '97. This one is pretty easy, actually.
• No. 92 D'Aundre Reed, DE: The underrated Roy Barker gets the nod over Duane Clemons.
• No. 99 Christian Ballard, DT: Al Noga had two seasons with at least nine sacks wearing 99. That's good enough to get him the top spot over Chris Hovan, among others.
|Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano||0||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto||4|
|Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi||0||FINAL|
|Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez||3|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Hammel||0||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka||3|
|St. Louis - LP: J. Kelly||1||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta||5|
|NY Mets - WP: D. Gee||5||FINAL|
|Arizona - LP: B. McCarthy||2|
|Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran||1||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - LP: C. Lee||0|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood||0||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda||2|
|Cleveland - WP: Z. McAllister||3||FINAL|
|Detroit - LP: A. Sanchez||2|
|Washington - WP: D. Storen||6||FINAL|
|Miami - LP: M. Dunn||3|
|Seattle - LP: F. Rodney||2||FINAL|
|Texas - WP: P. Figueroa||3|
|Boston - WP: C. Capuano||6||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - LP: L. Garcia||4|
|Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy||6||FINAL|
|Houston - LP: J. Williams||4|
|Oakland - LP: D. Pomeranz||4||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: J. Smith||5|
|Colorado - LP: J. De La Rosa||2||FINAL|
|San Diego - WP: A. Cashner||4|
|Los Angeles - LP: J. Howell||1||FINAL|
|San Francisco - WP: J. Machi||2|
|Red Bull New York||2|
|Aug 9 - vs. Houston||7 pm||X||27-13|
|Aug 16 - at Buffalo||6 pm||X||20-16|
|Aug 25 - at San Francisco||7 pm||X||34-14|
|Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee||7 pm||X||24-23|
|2013 regular season|
|Sep 8 - at Detroit||Noon||X||34-24|
|Sep 15 - at Chicago||Noon||X||31-30|
|Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland||Noon||X||31-27|
|Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London)||Noon||X||34-27|
|Oct 6 - Bye|
|Oct 13 - vs. Carolina||Noon||X||35-10|
|Oct 21 - at. NY Giants||7:40 pm||X||23-7|
|Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay||7:30 pm||X||44-31|
|Nov 3 - at Dallas||Noon||X||27-23|
|Nov 7 - vs. Washington||7:25 pm||X||34-27|
|Nov 17 - at Seattle||3:25 pm||X||41-20|
|Nov. 24 - at Green Bay||Noon||26-26|
|Dec 1 - vs. Chicago||Noon||X||23-20|
|Dec 8 - at Baltimore||Noon||X||29-26|
|Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia||Noon||X||48-30|
|Dec 22 - at Cincinnati||Noon||X||42-14|
|Dec 29 - vs. Detroit||Noon||X||14-13|