The Vikings’ draft process has come a long way since the “OK, calm down” debacle of 2003 (which, it should be noted, still netted one of the best players in team history, Kevin Williams).
That said, every year in recent memory has involved a pretty hefty amount of intrigue and anticipation — either in the months leading up to the draft, the draft itself or both — when it comes to the Vikings.
This year? It feels like it could be the most low-key Vikings draft in a long time. Part of that is their draft position (No. 23) and the real possibility they could (which the should) take an offensive lineman with that pick in the first round. But part of it is that the drafts of the past decade have been pretty spectacular by comparison. A quick recap of the intrigue:
2005: Took Troy Williamson No. 7 overall with the pick they got for Randy Moss. They were hoping to replace Moss with a one-for-one move. They most certainly did not. (Later on, Minnesota took Erasmus James with the No. 18 pick).
2006: Nabbed Chad Greenway in the first round, but the real fireworks came in the second round when Minnesota — in need of a QB after Daunte Culpepper’s devastating knee injury and offseason turmoil with new coach Brad Childress led to a trade — traded up to take Tarvaris Jackson in the second round.
2007: Though Chester Taylor had a fine year in 2006, the Vikings took Adrian Peterson No. 7 overall.
2008: Blockbuster trade of picks for Jared Allen.
2009: Went for high-risk, high-reward by taking Percy Harvin in the first round with the 22nd pick.
2010: Ended up trading out of the first round, but not until a bunch of us (OK, maybe just me and a couple others) were swept up in Tebowmania, thinking the Vikings (in need of a QB in the event that Brett Favre ever actually retired) would make a run at the former Florida QB. He instead went to the Broncos at No. 25 overall.
2011: QB! QB! QB! Ponder! Ponder? Ponder.
2012: Took Matt Kalil 4th overall, but not before nabbing extra picks from Cleveland. Then traded back into the first round to get Harrison Smith, the type of move that would become a trend.
2013: The early offseason was consumed by the Percy Harvin saga. He was eventually traded to the Seahawks, a deal that netted a first-round pick in 2013. That became one of the three first-rounders the Vikings had that year — Xavier Rhodes, Sharrif Floyd and Cordarrelle Patterson, the last of which the Vikings traded up to get in a memorable draft.
2014: QB! QB! QB! Would it be Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater at No. 8? It turned out to be neither, as the Vikings traded back to No. 9 and took Anthony Barr … and then traded up to get Bridgewater with the final pick of the first round after Manziel went No. 22 to Cleveland.
2015: Only one first-round pick, but it was No. 11 overall (Trae Waynes).
So yeah, it’s been quite a run. That’s not to say it won’t continue in 2016, but with a low pick and a real need on the offensive line, it could be a boring, predictable, safe draft.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just not like the Vikings.