Well kids, we've come to the end of our all time draft, just in time for free agency to begin in a few hours. I'm sorry I didn't get this out yesterday, but I had a lot of stuff going on after work, and well, I just got behind. So today's poll will stay open until 6 PM CST.
I think this has been a pretty fun little 'what if' exercise, and although it's imperfect to say the least, I think we've got ourselves quite the respectable draft class. So far, our picks have been:
1) Adrian Peterson, RB, 2007
2) Jim Kleinsasser, TE, 2000
3) Fran Tarkenton, QB, 1961
4) Roy Winston, LB, 1962
5) Ed McDaniel, LB, 1992
6) Matt Birk, C, 1998
7) Steve Jordan, TE, 1982
Our last round is an all inclusive round 8 through whenever. The NFL went to it's current draft format of 7 rounds after the 1992 draft, and drafted past 20 rounds in the 1970's, so this will include all draft picks from those previous drafts. I thought about breaking it down into two more rounds, but I want to get this over with now that free agency is upon us, and it's more interesting this way. There were some interesting names as I scanned the list that won't be among the choices, to include Monte Kiffin (1964) and baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield (drafted as a TE in 1973).
But enough of who we're not going to pick. Your last round choices, after the jump.
Dave Osborn, RB, 1965: When Osborn retired, only Bill Brown had more career rushing yards as a Viking, and he is still 6th all time rusher in team history. Most of Osborn's career was before my time, and I have to say that my opinion of him is colored by my Dad, who was a Bill 'Boom Boom' Brown guy through and through. Osborn never hit the hole like Brown did, but when I try and argue with him that Osborn was the outside threat and Brown was the inside guy, he points out (well, used to) that he watched Brown and Osborn play, not me. I like Osborn, but he wasn't as tough as Boom Boom and didn't hit the hole with authority like Boom Boom did. if you vote for him, just be warned that you will have to explain yourself to my father, not me.
Bob Lee, QB, 1968: Lee was arguably the best backup QB in Vikes history, but could never win the starting job when Fran Tarkenton was in exile in New York. When Tark came back, Lee was the odd man out and was traded (at least I think he was traded, not sure) to Atlanta, where he had a lot of success as a starter in 1973. His career highlight was beating his old team (who was undefeated coming into the game) on Monday Night Football in 1973, out playing Tarkenton and leading the Falcons to a come from behind win. I can recall this game so well because it was the first Monday Night Football game I remember the Vikings playing on, and my Dad, who was a hard ass about me going to bed after the halftime highlights with Howard Cosell ended...let me stay up for the WHOLE GAME. It was way cool, even though the Vikes lost. I remember plotting the things I was going to say to try and convince him to stay up, but I remember him saying "well son, I'm going to give you a choice. You can either go to bed now, or you can go get me a beer and stay up for the whole game." What does that have to do with Bob Lee? Nothing. But Bob Lee and I will always be linked, and that's how.
Stu Voigt, TE, 1970: Were it not for Steve Jordan's stellar career, you could make a strong argument that Voigt was the best TE in the team's history. He was really overlooked and under rated, but was a solid option in the 10-20 yard range for a decade. He never got the attention that Chuck Foreman, John Gilliam, and later Sammy White received, but for a guy that was often the 4th and 5th option, he made the most of his opportunities when presented.
Scott Studwell, LB, 1977: I'm not saying that this round is going to be a landslide, but Scott Studwell has probably the most appropriate last name for a guy that ever played LB in the NFL. His stare is legendary, his toughness unquestioned, and he is still some 20 plus years after his retirement as a player the all time leading tackler in team history. More than Page, Marshall, Eller, Doleman, McDaniel, all of them. Studwell's peak years were, unfortunately, in the era just after the Purple People Eaters, and his accomplishments occurred on some of the most underwhelming defenses in team history. But that doesn't take anything away from his ferociousness as a player, and I am of the firm belief that had Studwell played in New York or been on a perennial contender or Super Bowl champion, he would be in the Hall of Fame. Studwell joined the Ring of Honor in 2009, and has been with the Vikings as either a player or front office guy for 35 years. If ever there was a guy that was the epitome of 'Minnesota Viking', it's Scott Studwell.
Wade Wilson, QB, 1981: I am of the opinion that Wade Wilson was always in a tough spot as a Viking. He got drafted just as the team was transitioning away from the glory years, and had to compete with Tommy Kramer. Wilson was always the straight guy to Kramer's comedy routine, and you could argue that Wilson was the better overall QB. He didn't have the gun like Kramer had, but he eventually won the starting job, got the Vikings to within a dropped pass of the Super Bowl in 1987, and went to the Pro Bowl in 1988. But Wilson's problem is that he wasn't Two Minute Tommy, and even after he won the job he never really stepped completely out Kramer's shadow.
Terry Allen, RB, 1990: With the slew of fantastic running backs the Vikings have had since Robert Smith blossomed in the mid '90's, and old time Viking fans looking back at the days of Chuck Foreman, Dave Osborn, and Bill Brown, Allen is really easy to overlook--but he shouldn't be. Allen was a Viking for 6 years, but only played 4, as he had two devastating knee injuries. The Vikings broke him in slowly after his first injury as a rookie, and he only played sparingly, but impressively, in 1991. In 1992, he burst on to the scene with over 1,200 yards rushing, almost 500 receiving, and had 12 rushing TD's. He also broke a long run in overtime against Green Bay in week one to give Denny Green his first win as a Viking. But he blew out his knee again and missed all of 1993. In 1994 he came back strong, rushing for over 1,000 yards again. However, the Vikes were scared off by his injury history, had Robert Smith waiting in the wings, and Allen went to Washington and had a few more solid seasons.
Brad Johnson, QB, 1992: What do you say about Brad Johnson? The guy had a great career, won a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, but what if he hadn't broken his ankle in 1998? Would the Vikings have still gone 15-1 and reached the NFC Championship? I say yes, but that's not the 'what if' I'm thinking of. I'm thinking of the off season after 1998. The Vikings chose to keep Randall Cunningham over Johnson, traded Johnson to Washington, and ended up using Washington's pick to draft Daunte Culpepper. Cunningham was a bust in 1999 and the Vikings had to get Jeff George. But if Johnson doesn't get hurt, maybe the Vikings have their answer at quarterback, Denny Green concentrates on defense in the draft, and the Vikes gear up for a serious Super Bowl run or three. But we'll never know, will we? I'll always maintain the Vikes picked the wrong QB to keep after 1998, and if he had stuck around, it's nice to speculate on what could've been.