Found April 12, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
New_england_patriots_a0fc
Today is the start of two weeks of daily Minnesota Vikings coverage leading up to the April 26 beginning of the NFL draft. April 12: Five best first-rounders in the past 25 years April 13: Five worst first-rounders in the past 25 years April 14: Quarterbacks position preview April 15: Running backsfullbacks position preview April 16: Offensive tackles position preview April 17: Guardscenters position preview April 18: Tight ends position preview April 19: Wide receivers position preview April 20: Defensive linemen position preview April 21: Linebackers position preview April 22: Cornerbacks position preview April 23: Safeties position preview April 24: Rick Spielmans's draft strategy April 25: Forecasting the first-round pick Scouts and NFL executives spend months analyzing draft prospects. They watch college games, game film, all-star games. They meet with players for nearly three months heading into the April draft. Prospects are poked, prodded and tested. The big job interview is the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. All of the work is done to define what type of athlete and person each potential draftee is. After breaking down each player, teams are then forced to make their best guess. Still, after all the examination, sometimes the best method to drafting is not over-thinking the selection. And that style has served the Minnesota Vikings well over the years. Some of Minnesota's top first-round picks have landed in purple simply because the Vikings have been willing to take a chance on overly scrutinized players who fell into their lap. A ranking of the top five Vikings first-round picks of the past 25 years puts the no-brainers at the top. 1. RANDY MOSS, WR, 1998, 21st overall On the draft board: Moss is the posterchild for scrutinized players the Vikings were willing to take a chance on. Coming from Marshall, Moss' physical abilities were apparent and limitless. But concerns about drug use caused Moss to tumble down the first round. Minnesota was already set at wide receiver with Cris Carter and Jake Reed, but the Vikings took Moss anyway, and he became an instant sensation and one of the top receivers in the NFL. The Tennessee Titans took wide receiver Kevin Dyson at No. 16 that season. Some might question how Moss can be ahead of the second person on this list, Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel, and it's a legitimate argument. But Moss changed the entire outlook of the Vikings' franchise from the moment he first stepped on the field as a rookie. That's something an offensive lineman can't do. As a rookie: Moss caught two touchdowns in his first career game, had his coming-out party against the Green Bay Packers on a Monday night in October with 190 yards receiving and two touchdowns and finished his first season as a first-team All-Pro after tallying 69 catches and 1,313 yards receiving for an astounding 19.0 yards-per-catch average. He also lead the league with 17 touchdown catches. From there: Always a lightning rod for both praise (amazing ability) and criticism (taking plays off), Moss spent seven highly productive seasons in Minnesota before he was traded to Oakland, where he struggled for two seasons. A fabulous comeback with New England, an ill-fated return to Minnesota in 2010 and a very brief stay with Tennessee preceded a one-year retirement. He announced his return to the NFL this offseason and signed with the San Francisco 49ers. He's a six-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro and is second to Carter in every Vikings major receiving mark, with 587 catches, 9,316 yards and 92 touchdowns for the Vikings. He has the ninth-most catches (954), fifth-most receiving yards (14,858) and second-most receiving touchdowns (153) in NFL history. 2. RANDALL MCDANIEL, LG, 1988, 19th overall On the draft board: The Vikings had a good offensive line in 1987, but it became elite with the addition of McDaniel in 1998. McDaniel, an All-American at Arizona State in 1987, ended up as the second of four Hall of Famers selected in 1988, and none of the first-rounders selected after him ever wound up having much of a career. He was the third guard and fourth offensive lineman selected after Paul Gruber, Dave Cadigan and Eric Moore. As a rookie: McDaniel started 15 games in his rookie season, teaming with another Hall of Famer, left tackle Gary Zimmerman, center Kirk Lowdermilk, right guard Terry Tausch and right tackle Tim Irwin. The Vikings had the league's fourth-ranked offense. From there: In his second season, McDaniel earned the first of 12 straight Pro Bowl invitations, an NFL record. He ended his career as a seven-time All-Pro, having spent 12 years in Minnesota before finishing his career with two years in Tampa Bay. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. 3. ADRIAN PETERSON, RB, 2007, seventh overall On the draft board: Peterson was a Heisman Trophy runner-up after a record-breaking freshman season at Oklahoma, but injuries were a factor the next two seasons and worry over a collarbone injury caused him to drop in the draft despite his obvious talent. The Vikings pounced at No. 7, even though Chester Taylor was coming off a 1,000-yard season. Peterson was remarkably durable during his first four seasons despite a punishing running style, and the collarbone has never been an issue. JaMarcus Russell went No. 1 overall that year and is among the draft's all-time busts. Also selected ahead of Peterson were Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas, Gaines Adams, Levi Brown, and LaRon Landry. As a rookie: Peterson played in 14 games, starting nine, and was the Offensive Rookie of the Year after rushing for 1,340 yards and 12 touchdowns. He earned the first of four straight Pro Bowl selections and made Taylor expendable. From there: Peterson is a two-time All-Pro selection and is just 66 yards away from the franchise's all-time rushing mark. He has 6,752 rushing yards and 67 total touchdowns in his five years. He fell shy of 1,000 rushing yards (970) last season after dealing with a high ankle sprain and having his season end a week early because of a knee injury. He underwent offseason surgery to repair a torn ACL and torn MCL and already has started running. Peterson hopes to be ready to start the 2012 season on time. 4. KEVIN WILLIAMS, DT, 2003, ninth overall On the draft board: This is a pick that will live in infamy for the Vikings but not because of Williams' career. Few will forget how time expired on Minnesota's pick and two teams jumped in quickly with their selections. Minnesota was trying to consummate a trade and didn't get its card in on time. Eventually, two spots later than they were on the clock, the Vikings got Williams at No. 9. They said Williams was the player they wanted all along. Because of Williams' production, there has been no need to look back since. As a rookie: Williams started immediately and was worth the confusion and high pick, tallying 10.5 sacks in his first year. Starting all 16 games, he also had a forced fumble and fumble recovery and showed his athleticism despite his size by intercepting a pass. From there: Williams' sack numbers have dropped off a bit since his career-high 11.5 in his second season, but he has continued to pressure the quarterback and stand up against the run during his nine-year career. The six-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro has missed only four games in his career, two because of suspension, and has 54.5 career sacks. Teaming with Pat Williams, he helped Minnesota's run defense lead the league for three straight seasons, and he will be back as the anchor in the middle in 2012. 5. ROBERT SMITH, RB, 1993, 21st overall On the draft board: The Vikings have had other strong first-round picks, most coming on offense, but the team's current all-time leading rusher has to be on this list. Smith was coming off a solid career at Ohio State and was the third running back selected in 1993 behind Garrison Hearst and Jerome Bettis. Minnesota sought a big-play running back after turning the page on the Herschel Walker experiment a year earlier. The 1993 draft didn't end up producing many top-tier players, and Smith worked out fine for Minnesota. As a rookie: Smith was mainly a backup his first season, starting two of the 10 games in which he played. He finished with 399 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while catching 24 passes for 111 yards. From there: Smith was a late bloomer and then decided to retire after just eight seasons. Injuries certainly played a part in his slow start, but he broke through in 1997 with his first 1,000-yard season. During his final four seasons, he surpassed 1,000 yards each year and was a two-time Pro Bowler. His final season in 2000 was his best. He finished with career-high in rushing yards (1,521), rushing touchdowns (seven), receiving yards (348) and receiving touchdowns (three). He had 36 catches, one off his career-high set in 1997. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Report: Randy Moss Filed Lawsuit Against Hair Salon Owner Who Didn't Pay Back $160,000

Someone owes Randy Moss "straight cash homie." Moss agreed to lend hair salon owner Kelvin Jones $160,000 to open a fancy hair salon in Palm Beach, Fla., back in 2005, according to TMZ. The key word there is "lend." TMZ reports that Jones was supposed to pay Moss back in 96 monthly payments, but never did so, instead electing to play a game of cat and mouse with...

Adam Schefter believes the Vikings will pass on Matt Kalil

ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently took some time to answer some questions from fans about the upcoming NFL draft. One of those questions was whether or not the Buffalo Bills might trade up to draft USC’s Matt Kalil if the Vikings don’t draft him with the third pick. “It could be that Kalil falls and if Buffalo wants to go trade up to No. 5 (Tampa Bay) or No. 6 (St. Louis),...

Vikings reportedly targeting Claiborne, Blackmon and Kalil

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter via Evan Silva, the Minnesota Vikings are looking at possibly drafting either LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon or USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil with the third overall pick. “They’re looking at Morris Claiborne, Justin Blackmon, and Matt Kalil. In a perfect world, (they trade down),” said Schefter...

Vikings preseason schedule announced

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Minnesota Vikings fans can now start planning their tailgating. The team announced the dates and times for their four preseason games on Friday. The preseason kicks off on Friday, August 10 with a road game against former Vikings receiver Randy Moss and the San Francisco 49ers. Game time is at 8 p.m. Central time. Fans get a bit of a break with the second...
STEPPING OUT

Favre hangs out at college game?

What's Brett Favre doing in retirement? Cutting grass? Throwing footballs? Looks like he attends college baseball games.

Philly News Reporter is a dirty old man over Vikings QB Christian Ponder's gilfriend

Mike Jerrick Meets His Dream ‘Fiat Girl’: MyFoxPHILLY.com The unintentional comedy if off the charts when Philadelphia's FOX 29 reporter Mike Jerrick drools over meeting Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder's girlfriend Kacie McDonnell, who is a local Fiat car commercial girl.  Jerrick's colleagues surprised him on the air and brought in Kacie who "...

Adam Schefter: Matt Kalil NOT a lock at #3 in the draft

Throughout the weeks leading up to the draft, a few things have been certain: Either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III would be the first pick in the draft, and whoever was NOT the first pick out of the two would surely go second to the Redskins, and that Matt Kalil would go third to the Minnesota Vikings. Adam Schefter, though, is saying “not so fast” to the seemingly obvious...

Defensive ends headline Vikings' draft busts

Today is the second day of two weeks of Minnesota Vikings coverage leading up to the April 26 beginning of the NFL draft. April 12: Five best first-rounders in the past 25 years Today: Five worst first-rounders in the past 25 years April 14: Quarterbacks position preview April 15: Running backsfullbacks position preview April 16: Offensive tackles position preview April 17: Guardscenters...

Jim Irsay believes Ryan Tannehill is a “hidden gem”

Even though Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and his staff will likely decide to take Stanford’s Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, he indicated on Twitter that he believes that Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M is a “hidden gem.” Tannehill is a hidden gem in this draft,a quiet secret who was always sneaking up to #3..you want him,you better...

Weak TE class has one-dimensional options

The Vikings’ signing of John Carlson may have been in response to an upcoming weak tight end class in the draft. There are some options in the middle and late rounds, but many of them are either one-dimensional or will require patience.

This is Where "Building Through the Draft" Gets You

I was browsing through this article over at Daily Norseman, trying to find something to write about for you nerds, when I finished (on your mom's face!) and left the posting feeling rather miffed. The article explains - through another at ESPN South's blog - that YOUR Minnesota Vikings are best in the league in retaining their draft picks since 2008. You read that right:...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.