Minnesota Vikings: Randy Moss Among All-Time Best Draft Picks
The Minnesota Vikings, like any team, have had plenty of hits and misses on draft day. Here is my look at the best draft picks in franchise history, with draft position, what has come after them (at their position or for the franchise as a whole) among the biggest considerations.
1. WR Randy Moss-1998, 1st Rd-#21 Overall
Moss may be the most important draft pick in team history, as prior to his rookie season in 1998 games were routinely not sold out and despite some on-field success there was not great buzz around the franchise. Moss helped usher in the term "Purple Pride" with his impact performance during that 1998 season (69 receptions, 1,313 yards, 17 touchdowns) as he won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. During his seven full seasons with the Vikings, leaving out the ill-advised four game reunion in 2010, Moss had 574 receptions for 9,142 yards and 90 touchdowns. In terms of on-field production and off-field impact, leaving his personality out of it, Moss deservedly sits at the top of this list.
2. QB Fran Tarkenton-1961, 3rd Rd-#29 overall
Obviously the NFL Draft was not as long in 1961 with the AFL having their own draft and there not being as many franchises as there are today, but it's still fairly surprising to know Tarkenton was not selected until the third round during the Vikings' first ever draft. Tarkenton spent 13 of his 18 NFL seasons in Minnesota, leading the Vikings to three Super Bowls after being re-acquired from the New York Giants prior to the 1972 season. He is among the all-time leaders in passing yards (47,003) and passing touchdowns (342) as well as also making an impact as a runner with over 3.600 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns in his career. Tarkenton was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986, and the Vikings have not reached a Super Bowl since he played for them.
3. RB Adrian Peterson-2007-1st Rd-#7 overall
It can be argued running back was not the Vikings' biggest need in the 2007 NFL Draft with Chester Taylor rushing for over 1,200 yards in 2006. but a player with Peterson's talent could not be passed up. The Oklahoma product made an immediate impact, rushing for 1,341 yards (5.6 yards per carry) while earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Peterson has placed himself among the league's best running backs with 6,752 rushing yards and 64 touchdowns over his five seasons, though a late-season ACL injury in 2011 leaves his status for the start of the 2012 season in doubt. That said, Peterson at slightly less than he has been stands to still be among the NFL's elite running backs once he returns to action.