2015: Trae Waynes, Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, and Stephon Diggs will be the only names any non viking football fan will know from the list of draft picks that year. Kendricks was an All-Pro last year, Hunter was the youngest player in NFL history to reach 50 sacks and in my mind is now the best player Minnesota has on their roster, nudging aside Harrison Smith. The Vikings drafted Diggs in the 5th round and were able to get four solid years of productivity and flip him for a first round pick this year. Waynes was a solid corner who has improved every year he’s been in the league, and just signed a big free agent deal with the Bengals. The fact that the other 6 players they drafted that year were never heard from doesn’t matter. When you hit on 4 players like that, in any draft under any scenario, you nailed it in my book.
Grade: A (Mel Kiper Jr’s grade at the time: B)
2016: Laquon Treadwell, Mackensie Alexander, Willie Beavers, Kentrell Brothers, Moritz Bohringer, David Morgan, Stephon Weatherly, Jayron Kearse. Does anyone who’s not a Vikings fan know even one of those names? These are all the draft picks, in order, of the Minnesota Vikings in 2016. As you can see they came back to life from that 2015 draft pretty damn quick. Even though I liked Treadwell, and he still has all the tools to be a top receiver in the league, he dropped a bunch of balls early on and never recovered. He’s a first round pick and a bust, there’s no way around it. Alexander had a moment or two, but he was mostly injured and getting burned. Beavers, Brothers, and Bohringer either never played or didn’t make the team. Morgan, who they just cut this offseason, was a decent backup tight end when he was healthy. Weatherly and Kearse were both 7th round picks. They both played the most out of all the players drafted that year. Weatherly was solid, and I’m guessing will be really good for the Panthers, who signed him in free agency this offseason. The perennial strength of the Vikings defensive line kept him from being a full time starter until last year. I liked him. He always seemed to be where he needed to be. Kearse was a back-up at strong safety, a position the Vikings have needed to step up for years. He wasn’t the answer. Plus I get the vibe he’s a real asshole in his personal life. Was happy to see him go. I can’t imagine a worse draft.
Grade: F (Mel Kiper Jr’s grade at the time: B-)
2017: This was the year the Vikings didn’t have a first round draft pick. They traded it to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford. Dalvin Cook was a round 2 selection. The rest of the names go as follows: Pat Elflein, Jaleel Johnson, Ben Gedeon, Rodney Adams, Danny Isidora, Bucky Hodges, Stacey Coley, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Elijah Lee, Jack Tocho. Awful. Elflein and Gedeon filled starting roles out of absolute necessity with below average results most days. Odenigbo had a great finish to last season and is expected to be a solid contributor next season. Everyone else is trash. Based on simply the fact they were able to get Cook…
Grade C- (Mel Kiper Jr’s grade at the time: B+)
Just goes to show how stupid draft grades are in real time.