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.


Posts about NFL draft

Factoids and trends from recent Vikings drafts

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated: May 5, 2014 - 1:06 PM

Will history repeat itself for the Vikings during this week’s NFL draft? Well, the Vikings have a lot of history -- six decades and counting -- so sure, some things are bound to feel familiar.

But what about the recent history? Which positions have they been picking? Which schools have they scoured? When have they been selecting players? And how many had staying power?

Partially to entertain and inform you but mostly just to educate myself because I’m new here, I decided to look for some trends and factoids from recent Vikings draft classes. I dug through the eight drafts from 2006 to 2013 (GM Rick Spielman came on board after the 2006 draft). Also, if I would have gone the whole way back to 1961, I wouldn’t have finished this by Thursday night.

Here is a quick look at the who, what, whens and wheres of the Vikings’ last eight draft classes (I’ll leave the whys -- or the whys?!?!? -- up to you).

--- The Vikings drafted 61 players from 2006 to 2013. Of those picks, 31 were used for defensive players, 28 were used for offensive players, one was used for a kicker and one for a punter.

--- Which positions have they targeted the most? They have selected nine linebackers, nine wide receivers and nine offensive linemen. They drafted eight cornerbacks, too. Which have they targeted the least? They have drafted just two running backs and not a single fullback (although they took Rutgers linebacker Ryan D'Imperio in the seventh round in 2010 with the idea of converting him to fullback, which they did).

--- They have drafted players from 39 different schools. Spielman and the Vikings have a reputation for coveting Golden Domers, and it’s legitimate as they have drafted four players from Notre Dame since 2006. That is tied for the most with Florida State and USC. They have selected three players apiece from Georgia, Oklahoma, Arkansas and my alma mater, Penn State.

--- They have drafted just one player, linebacker Nate Triplett, from the U of Minnesota.

--- The Vikings have drafted 12 players from the SEC, the most of the major BCS conferences. That should come as no surprise given the SEC’s powerhouse reputation. They have drafted nine players apiece from the Big Ten and the Pac 10, eight from the ACC and five from the Big 12.

--- The Vikings have made 35 trades involving draft picks over the past eight years, and that includes player-for-pick trades during the regular season. They had seven trades involving draft picks in both 2008 and 2012. The 2008 year was the one when they acquired Jared Allen.

--- The Vikings have selected nine players in the first round, including five the past two years. They have drafted nine in the second (but none in the past two drafts), three in the third (and just one in the past four), eight in the fourth, 10 in the fifth, 10 in the sixth and 12 in the seventh.

--- Of their nine first-round picks, only two were in the top 10 and just three were in the top 16.

--- Their earliest pick was USC tackle Matt Kalil at fourth overall in 2012. Their latest was the 237th pick in 2010, used on D'Imperio.

--- The most picks they had in one draft was 10 each in 2011 and 2012. The fewest were five, which they had in both 2008 and 2009. They will enter Thursday’s draft with eight selections.

--- The most valuable five draft picks, based on Pro Football Reference's weighted career approximate value, in order were Adrian Peterson, Chad Greenway, Percy Harvin, John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt. Christian Ponder was the seventh most valuable, for what it is worth.

--- Of their 61 draft picks from 2006 to 2013, 27 are still on the roster (that includes Jasper Brinkley, who left and came back). But just eight Vikings drafted between 2006 and 2010 remain.

Seantrel Henderson reportedly failed drug test at NFL Combine

Posted by: Chris Miller Updated: May 5, 2014 - 10:38 AM

Seantrel Henderson has admitted he tested positive for marijuana while playing at the University of Miami, and now a positive test at the NFL Combine might hurt his draft status.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported today that Henderson, a former standout at Cretin-Derham Hall, failed a drug screening at the Combine. Schefter cited NFL sources in his report.

On April 3, the 6-foot-7, 340-pound Henderson quit during his Pro Day drills at Miami, blaming dehydration.

All that baggage is likely to hurt Henderson, who at times had been projected to be a high draft choice. He's one of the largest and most athletic offensive linemen in the draft.

20-year perspective: Vikings' third round picks

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated: May 5, 2014 - 6:41 AM

TODAY'S LOOK BACK: The 72nd and 96th overall picks.

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 fourth (108), fifth (148), sixth (184) and seventh (223) rounds of next week's draft. Today, we move up to the fourth round to do the same with the 72nd and 96th overall picks. The 96th pick is part of last year's Percy Harvin trade.

Pro Bowlers picked Nos. 72 and 96 since 1994: 1. In 1998, the Eagles selected linebacker Jeremiah Trotter 72nd overall.

Have the Vikings picked Nos. 72 or 96 since 1994?: Yes. In 2007, they selected cornerback Marcus McCauley 72nd overall. That was the first year with Rick Spielman orchestrating the team's draft. McCauley is one of Spielman's biggest misses, although he didn't have final say until 2012. McCauley was a bust that lasted two disappointing seasons in Minnesota and two more years with five other teams before his career ended. Making the pick even worse: The Texans took receiver-returner Jacoby Jones one pick later. Jones, of course, moved on to Baltimore in 2012 and became one of the stars of the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII win. Then the Ravens took three-time All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda 86th overall. 

Ouch 1: In 1996, the Steelers took linebacker Steve Conley 72nd overall. He lasted 21 games over three years. Fourteen picks later, the Patriots selected linebacker Tedy Bruschi. And if that wasn't bad enough, the Eagles took Terrell Owens three picks after that. Bruschi played 13 seasons and was All-Pro twice. T.O. played 15 seasons, scored 153 touchdowns and was All-Pro five times.

Ouch 1a: In 1995, the Eagles took defensive end Greg Jefferson 72nd overall. He played six years and made 41 starts. Two picks later, the Patriots took running back Curtis Martin, a Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Ouch 2: In 2001, the Packers took linebacker Torrance Marshalll 72nd overall. He made two starts over four years. Two picks later, the Panthers grabbed receiver Steve Smith. Smith will enter his 14th season with 12,197 yards receiving and five Pro Bowls.

Ouch 3: In 2012, the Dolphins took defensive end Olivier Vernon 72nd overall. He's a decent player with 14 starts in two seasons. But, unfortunately for the Dolphins, the Seahawks were able to take quarterback Russell Wilson 75th overall. And the Eagles were able to grab quarterback Nick Foles at No. 88.

Other highlights/lowlights of the Nos. 72 and 96 picks since 1994:

1997: With the 72nd pick, the Raiders took center/long snapper Adam Treu, who lasted 10 years and made 44 starts. One pick later, the Dolphins selected Jason Taylor, a four-time All-Pro and the league's defensive player of the year in 2006.

1999: The Dolphins took center Grey Ruegamer 72nd overall. One pick later, the Steelers got four-time All-Pro linebacker Joey Porter.

2002: The Bears took cornerback Roosevelt Williams 72nd overall. Nineteen picks later, the Eagles grabbed running back Brian Westbrook, a two-time All-Pro.

2004: The Packers took defensive tackle Donnell Washington 72nd overall. Nine picks later, the Redskins took tight end Chris Cooley, whose 429 catches are a Redskins franchise record. Nine picks after that, the Falcons selected quarterback Matt Schaub. At No. 96, the Bengals took Purdue linebacker Landon Johnson. He played seven years. Two picks later, the Chargers took Johnson's college teammate, Shaun Phillips, who has one Pro Bowl and is entering his 11th season.

2005: The Lions took cornerback Stanley Wilson 72nd overall. He lasted three years. Two picks later, the Giants grabbed defensive end Justin Tuck, a two-time All-Pro now in his 10th season.

2008: The Bills took defensive end Chris Ellis 72nd overall. One pick later, the Chiefs selected two-time All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles. Ellis played three years and made 13 tackles.

2009: The Jaguars got nose tackle Terrance Knighton 72nd overall. "Pot Roast" signed with Denver before last season and helped the Broncos reach the Super Bowl.

2010: The Bills took defensive end Alex Carrington 72nd overall. He's now with the Rams. Nineteen picks later, the 49ers took three-time All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman. Four picks after that, the Saints picked All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham.

20-year perspective: Vikings fourth round pick

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated: May 4, 2014 - 7:14 AM

TODAY'S LOOK BACK: The 108th 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 fifth (148), sixth (184) and seventh (223) rounds of next week's draft. Today, we move up to the fourth round to do the same with the 108th overall pick.

Pro Bowlers picked No. 108 since 1994: 3. In 2002, the Jaguars picked quarterback David Garrard. In 2006, the Saints hit a grand slam with the massive, powerful guard Jahri Evans, who went from D-II Bloomsberg to five-time All-Pro (and counting). In 2007, the Dolphins took defensive tackle Paul Soliai.

Have the Vikings picked No. 108 since 1994?: No.

Ouch 1: In 2003, the Broncos selected running back Quentin Griffin. He lasted three years and never made a Pro Bowl. Twelve picks later, the Patriots took cornerback Asante Samuel. He has played 11 years, won three All-Pro honors and lead the NFL in interceptions twice.

Ouch 2: In 1999, the Chiefs took receiver Larry Parker. He played two seasons and caught 18 passes. One pick later, the Steelers took defensive end Aaron Smith. He played 13 seasons, made the Pro Bowl and won two Super Bowls.

Ouch 3: In 2010, the Raiders took receiver Jacoby Ford. He has 57 catches in four seasons. Twelve picks later, the Bengals took defensive tackle Geno Atkins. He's already at two first-team All-Pro honors. The Raiders also could have had tight end Aaron Hernandez, who went 113th overall to the Patriots. But there some definite, um, character red flags to consider.

Other highlights/lowlights of the No. 108 pick since 1994:

1997: Marcus Robinson wasn't a bad pick by the Bears at 108 in 1997. He played 10 years, including three with the Vikings, and finished with 325 catches and 43 touchdowns.

2004: This was a solid spring for fourth-round picks. The Jets took receiver Jerricho Cotchery at No. 108. He's still playing down in Carolina and has 437 catches. Meanwhile, at No. 110, the Bears took cornerback Nathan Vasher, a Pro Bowl player with one All-Pro team. And at 126, the Chiefs took a chance on Jared Allen. Allen has made four All-Pro teams, three with the Vikings, and, of course, is still active in Chicago.

20-year perspective: Vikings' fifth round pick

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated: May 3, 2014 - 7:09 AM

TODAY'S LOOK BACK: The 148th 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 sixth (184) and seventh (223) rounds of next week's draft. Today, we move up to the fifth round to so the same with the 148th overall pick. Fans of the Purple might want to shade their eyes when they see 1996.

Pro Bowlers picked No. 148 since 1994: None.

Have the Vikings picked No. 148 since 1994?: Oh, yeah. In 1996, they took North Carolina defensive back Sean Boyd. He certainly looked the part at 6-2, 206. But he never played for the Vikings and his NFL career was limited to two games with the Falcons.

Ouch 1: We'll go right back to that 1996 draft. Six picks after Boyd was selected, the Dolphins took an undersized linebacker named Zach Thomas 154th overall. Twelve picks after that, the Cowboys took an undersized defensive tackle named La'Roi Glover 166th overall. Both players played 13 seasons in the NFL. Both players made the NFL's Team of the Decade for the 2000s. Thomas was an All-Pro five times. Glover was an All-Pro four times. Thomas went to seven Pro Bowls. Glover went to six.

Ouch 2: In 2008, the Broncos took defensive tackle Carlton Powell. He was on the practice squad of five teams over five years. He played three games for the Falcons in 2011. Sixteen picks after Powell was selected, the Saints took guard Carl Nicks. Nicks is a two-time All-Pro, a Super Bowl winner and has 70 NFL starts and counting.

Ouch 3: In 2004, the Bears took Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel. He played one year and completed 59 passes. Six picks after Krenzel was selected, the Chargers took running back Michael Turner. Turner backed up LaDainian Tomlinson for years before becoming one of the league's best rushers in Atlanta. The two-time All-Pro led the NFC in rushing in 2010 and 2011.

Other highlights/lowlights of the No. 148 pick since 1994:

2011: The fifth round was pretty deep in 2011. The Raiders selected receiver Denarius Moore, who now has 17 touchdown catches in three seasons. Six picks later, the Seahawks grabbed a pretty good and pretty outspoken cornerback named Richard Sherman.

1994: The Steelers might want a mulligan for this year. They took offensive tackle Gary Brown one pick before the Packers took running back Dorsey Levens. Not only did Brown not play for the Steelers, he ended up in Green Bay for three seasons. He started five games on Green Bay's 1996 Super Bowl champion. As for Levens, he lasted 11 years and was All-Pro in 1997.

2000: The Ravens took guard Richard Mercier. He never played for them. One pick later, the Packers took defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, who played nine years and made a Pro Bowl. Four picks after that, the Chiefs took receiver/returner Dante Hall, who was two-time All-Pro and a member of the NFL's Team of the Decade for the 2000s.

2003: The Rams took tight end Dan Curley. He played one NFL game with no catches. Twelve picks later, the Giants took offensive tackle David Diehl. He played 160 NFL games and was All-Pro one season.

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