Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Worst draft pick in Vikings' history? An easy call

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFL draft Updated: April 25, 2012 - 9:48 AM

A few days ago, we provided a top 10 list of the Vikings' best draft day surprises. Today, we give you the flip side. But we'll make it easier to stomach by offering up only half as much misery.

Here's one stab at the five worst draft decisions the team has ever made:

5, Jim Dunaway, DT, Mississippi State, 3rd overall, 1963: This was not a good year for the Vikings and their battle with the rival American Football League. Dunaway went on to become an oustanding player. Only it happened in Buffalo. Dunaway was drafted by the Bills in the AFL draft and never signed with the Vikings. The Vikings' second-round pick -- Gophers defensive lineman Bobby Bell 16th overall) -- also chose the AFL, signing with the Dallas Texans. Bell went on to a Hall of Fame career.

4, Jack Snow, WR, Notre Dame, 8th overall, 1965: Snow never played a down for the Vikings. He was traded to the Los Angeles Rams and went on to have an 11-year career there.

3, Troy Williamson, WR, South Carolina, 7th overall; and Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin, 18th overall, 2005: Trading Randy Moss to the Raiders after the 2004 season was a bad decision magnified by the selection of Williamson with the pick they got in return. Moss had already played seven seasons, but the Vikings were able to get a No. 7 pick as part of the deal. That was 14 spots higher than Moss was drafted in 1998. But then the Vikings picked Williamson, who was a bust. James also flopped, making the Vikings one of two teams that passed on Aaron Rodgers not once, but twice before Rodgers went to Green Bay 24th overall. the other team that passed on him twice, Dallas, can at least say it got DeMarcus Ware 11th overall. The Cowboys also don't have to play Rodgers twice a year.

2, First round picks from 1990-92: If the Herschel Walker trade isn't the worst trade in NFL history, it at least has a seat near the head of the table. For three consecutive years, the Vikings didn't have a first-round pick. The first two years, they didn't have a second-round pick either. And the third year, they gave up their picks in the first three rounds.

1, Dimitrius Underwood, DE, Michigan State, 29th overall, 1999: It's tough to top the Herschel trade, but when a first-round pick leaves training camp after the first day and never returns, well, that's a winner on a list like this.   

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