Around this time every spring, general manager Rick Spielman declares that he wants to pick 10 players in the draft. And he usually pulls it off.
The Vikings drafted 10 players apiece in the 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015 drafts. In 2013, Spielman was only able to select nine players. Slacker.
As a result, since 2012, when Spielman was officially given the final say in the draft room, the Vikings have selected a total of 39 players. Only the 49ers, who picked 40 players, drafted more over that four-year span, according to the fine folks over at Pro Football Reference.
There have been some whiffs among those 39 picks, sure. But for the most part, Spielman has hit a number of home runs while compiling a young core that helped the Vikings go 11-5 and win the NFC North in 2015.
So what trends have emerged for the Vikings since Spielman joined the staff in 2007? Which colleges have they hit up the most? What positions have they stockpiled players at? Which rounds have they picked in the most?
Yup, it’s time for our annual look at Vikings drafts by the numbers, with the help of the invaluable Pro Football Reference draft finder tool. Most of this draft data spans the past nine years, but we will pull out some specific Spielman stats from the past four years with him calling all the shots.
— The Vikings have drafted 75 players since 2007, an average of 8.3 per year. Of those picks, 37 were used for defensive players and 36 were for offensive players. One pick was a kicker and one was a punter. The Vikings have eight draft picks right now, including two seventh-rounders.
— After drafting three offensive linemen last year, the Vikings have now picked a dozen of them since 2007, tying that position with linebacker and the defensive line for the most players selected. However, only two of those offensive linemen were taken in the first three rounds of the draft. On the flip side, they have picked just three running backs because the one they took seventh overall in 2007 turned out to be a pretty good one.
— The Vikings have drafted players from 50 different schools over that span. We know Spielman loves his Golden Domers, selecting four players from Notre Dame since 2007, including safety Harrison Smith and tight end Kyle Rudolph. But UCLA appears to be his new favorite football factory. The Vikings have selected four Bruins since Spielman took over in 2012, including linebacker Eric Kendricks last year. The Vikings have also drafted four players from USC, Oklahoma and Florida State since 2007.
— They have drafted just one player from the University of Minnesota. That was linebacker Nate Triplett in the fifth round of the 2010 draft.
— Spielman has taken a liking to players from the Pac 12 and ACC. Since 2012, the Vikings have drafted nine guys from the Pac 12 and eight from the ACC, including two last year. Overall, since 2007, they have taken more ACC players (14) than any other conference, followed closely by the Pac 12 (13) and the SEC (13). They have drafted eight players from the Big Ten since 2007 and six from the Big 12, four of whom went to Oklahoma.
— The Vikings have selected 11 players in the first round since 2007. Last year, when they took cornerback Trae Waynes with the 11th pick, was the first time that they only made one pick in the first round under Spielman. Last year was also the first time he picked a player in the second round. Since 2007, the Vikings have drafted seven players in the second round, six in the third, eight in the fourth, 12 in the fifth, 14 in the sixth and 17 in the seventh, including two more in the draft’s final round last year.
— Speaking of first-round selections, since 2007 the Vikings have made six of their 11 first-round picks somewhere in the final dozen slots of the first round. They hold the 23rd overall selection this year. Three years ago, they took Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd out of the No. 23 slot.
— The earliest draft pick they have made since 2007 was offensive tackle Matt Kalil at No. 4 overall in 2012. Their latest was the 237th pick in 2010, used on Ryan D’Imperio, a linebacker they drafted to play fullback.
— In the past four years, Spielman has made 13 total trades during the draft, including three of them last year. He has made at least two trades each year and he twice made four deals during a draft (2012 and 2014).
— Their most valuable five draft picks, based on Pro Football Reference’s weighted career approximate value, in order were running back Adrian Peterson, wide receiver Percy Harvin, center John Sullivan, offensive tackle Phil Loadholt and defensive end Brian Robison. Peterson was by far the best of the bunch. His approximate value is double that of Harvin.
— Their longest-tenured draft pick is linebacker Chad Greenway, who was their first-round pick in 2006. He is heading into his 11th season with the Vikings. He is one of eight active Vikings players whom the team drafted before 2012. In all, the Vikings have 35 homegrown picks on the roster.