Cautionary tales from Vikings drafts past

  • Updated: April 30, 2012 - 3:17 PM

As much as Vikings fans and executives want to believe the crop of 2012 draftees will all pan out, the truth is we don't really know how all this potential will translate into the NFL.


Wide receiver Troy Williamson, the Vikings' first-round draft choice in 2005, caught 79 passes in three seasons with the team, but dropped what seemed like an equal amount.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune file

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Vikings drafts in recent years have featured plenty of proven success stories in the first round (Kevin Williams, Chad Greenway, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, etc.) and other later gems as well (Sidney Rice, Ray Edwards and John Sullivan, among others). In many cases, these contributors matched almost perfectly what was said about them when they were drafted. That said, there are countless other examples of drafted players who didn't end up matching the positive things written about them upon their selections. Point being: As much as Vikings fans and executives want to believe the crop of 2012 draftees will all pan out, the truth is we don't really know how all this potential will translate into the NFL. To illuminate this point, we will take a look back at every Vikings draft from 2000-2008 -- all of which are fair to evaluate now:

• Doug Chapman, RB, third round, 2000: Was described as a strong pass catcher who could be a third-down back. In reality: Rushed for 317 yards and caught 17 passes in his career.

• Eric Kelly, DB, third round, 2001: Coach Dennis Green said the Vikings had him ranked in their top 30 players available in the entire draft. In reality: Started 23 games in three seasons before being released.

• Raonall Smith, LB, second round, 2002: Was described as a workout warrior who would benefit from the Vikings' defensive system. In reality: Was somewhat limited by injuries but played in only 30 games for the Vikings, making 64 tackles.

• Onterrio Smith, RB, fourth round, 2003: Described himself as the "Steal of the Draft." In reality: Ran for more than 500 yards in both 2003 and 2004 ... but then introduced us all to the Whizzinator and never played in the NFL again.

• Dontarrious Thomas, LB, second round, 2004: Regarded as a hard hitter and a sure tackler who played with good discipline. In reality: Started 10 games and made 105 tackles in his Vikings career.

• Troy Williamson, WR, first round, 2005: "He was a guy that our coaches and scouts all had as the No. 1 receiver on our board," Mike Tice said when Williamson was drafted. In reality: Caught 79 passes in three seasons with the Vikings, dropping what seemed like an equal amount.

• Tarvaris Jackson, QB, second round, 2006: Described by Brad Childress as "a piece of clay" who "has all the skills." In reality: Started 20 games with the Vikings and never established himself as the franchise QB.

• Marcus McCauley, DB, third round, 2007: Touted as a physical cornerback who could compete for a spot in the nickel defense and play on special teams. In reality: Played 26 games (10 starts) with the Vikings without recording an interception.

• Tyrell Johnson, DB, second round, 2008: Described by Rick Spielman as a "complete safety" who was good near the line of scrimmage or in coverage. In reality: He did not succeed in either area, and the Vikings' continued search for a safety led them to take Harrison Smith on Thursday.


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Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 1 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 5
Cincinnati - WP: T. Cingrani 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: B. Cumpton 1
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Quintana 4 FINAL
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 7
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NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 4
Minnesota - WP: R. Nolasco 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: E. Bedard 7
Arizona - WP: M. Bolsinger 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 2
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Washington - LP: C. Stammen 3
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Toronto - LP: B. Cecil 4
NY Yankees - WP: C. Sabathia 14 FINAL
Boston - LP: F. Doubront 5
Oakland - WP: S. Kazmir 10 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 1
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Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 3
Indiana 85 FINAL
Atlanta 98
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Golden State 96
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Detroit 2
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Los Angeles 6
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
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