Vikings Draft Trends Since 2010
If you examine the very best organizations in the NFL, one thing becomes clear. The best way to build a roster is through the draft.
However, it's not enough to just say you're "building through the draft." You must draft well in order to succeed... and in recent years, the Vikings have done just that.
While you could say that every draft is important for an organization, one can argue that this may be the biggest one since 2010, when the Vikings had Brett Favre at quarterback. That year, the team was a back-breaking overtime-winning kick away in New Orleans from heading to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1977.
Since then, the team has had its share of misses (Chris Cook, Robert Blanton, Christian Ponder), but they've hit more home runs (Everson Griffen, Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr, Stefon Diggs) with their picks, as well. Rick Spielman loves to have at least 10 picks per draft, and coming into this year he has eight so far. "Trader Rick" has worked his magic in getting to that magic number of his, and since he's been named general manager, he's done an excellent job restocking the talent on the defensive side of the ball for coach Mike Zimmer.
As it stands right now, the Vikings sit at #23 for Thursday night's draft. Many mock drafts have them picking a wide receiver, which wouldn't be a bad decision after cutting veteran Mike Wallace in the off-season. Third year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater could certainly use some extra weapons to an offense that ranked 31st in the league in passing. Names like TCU's Josh Doctson, Laquon Treadwell from Ole Miss, and Baylor's Corey Coleman could all be there when the Vikings are on the clock.
Since 2010, the average number of wide receivers taken in the draft has been 29. Of the 183 receivers taken, the Vikings have only drafted 5 of them; many of those after the fourth round with the exception of Cordarrelle Patterson who was taken in the first in 2013. With Patterson inching closer to being a "bust" by the day, and considering what Spielman gave up to trade back into the first round to get him, you would understand the caution he may have in drafting another receiver on the first day.
That's not to say Spielman has hit on more positions the Vikings are in need of this year, like safety or offensive line. In the past six drafts, he's picked 10 offensive lineman and 20 defensive backs. Only first-rounders Anthony Barr, Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith have made the Pro Bowl. So while his track record in finding talent on opening day is fairly good, it's been a rough go in later rounds with the exception of finding talent in Brandon Fusco (6th round in 2011) Audie Cole (7th round 2012) and T.J. Clemmings (4th round 2015).
In closing, the only people who truly know what direction the Vikings are going are the people in the War Room at Winter Park. But that's what makes watching the draft so much fun! You just never know where the chips are going to fall.
So while it's important for teams to employ a quality front office (which the Vikings have) - In order for franchises to be perennial contenders, they must draft well, and they must be smart and not "reach" when making their selections; something we haven't done much the past six years.
That's how to build a championship-quality 53-man roster via the draft, and chase the ultimate dream in winning a Super Bowl.