We're getting close to the end, but before we move on, a recap to who we've picked up to this point:
1) Adrian Peterson, RB
2) Jim Kleinsasser, TE
3) Fran Tarkenton, QB
4) Roy Winston, LB
5) Ed McDaniel, LB
6) Matt Birk, C
Our seventh pick is going to be interesting, or at least I hope it will. The more recent players have received the benefit of the doubt so far in our draft, and we might end up with that in the seventh round. That said, there is at least one 'old school' guy that
should needs to better get a lot of consideration, and two newer guys that might cancel each other out. We don't have a lot of guys to choose from, but three of the guys we do have are arguably the best players at their respective position that Vikings have ever had.
Our seventh round candidates, after the jump.
Bobby Bryant, CB, 1967: From 1968 to 1980, Bobby Bryant was a mainstay on one of the greatest defenses in NFL history. He was one of the most under rated, ball hawking cornerbacks that the Vikings have ever had on their roster, and I would argue that he is the best CB in team history, with him and Nate Wright comprising the best CB tandem the team has ever had. Bryant is second all time on the Vikings with 51 interceptions, trailing only Hall of Famer Paul Krause. Bryant was a really overlooked guy with players like Alan Page and Carl Eller, but Bryant was a playmaker, pure and simple. He only made the Pro Bowl twice, in 1975 and 1976, but he should've been at least three more times. He intercepted 7 or more passes in 1968, '73, and '78, making first team all-NFL or all conference in those seasons. But my lasting memory of Bryant is the 1976 NFC Championship game against the Rams. It was early in the game and the Rams were driving. The defense held and the Rams came out to try a chip shot FG and take an early lead. Tom Dempsey's kick was blocked, it was scooped up by Bryant, and he ran 90 yards untouched for a TD. It was a typical Bryant play that changed the tempo and momentum of the game, which saw the Vikings win and go to Super Bowl XI.
Oscar Reed, RB, 1968: Reed was always a guy that was a complimentary role player, but a good one. He split time with Dave Osborn and Bill 'Boom Boom' Brown in the first part of his career, started one year, and then the Vikings drafted Chuck Foreman in 1973 and he became a role player again for the remainder of his career. Reed was good change of pace guy, but never really developed much past that role. But my Dad used to like him, so that counts for something in my book.
Steve Jordan, TE, 1982: Steve Jordan is hands down the best tight end in Vikings history, and I think you could make an argument that he's one of the better TE's in league history, if one of the most overlooked. Jordan went to 5 straight Pro Bowls from 1986-1991, fell only two receptions short of 500 for his career, and only Cris Carter and Randy Moss have more career receptions as a Viking than Jordan. Even though Jordan put up some ridiculous numbers for a tight end in his era, you always wonder what he would've done if he had some really elite quarterback play. Remember he had guys like Wade Wilson at the end of his career and Rich Gannon at the beginning of his, and not a lot of continuity at the position as Tommy Kramer and Sean Salisbury shuttled in and out of the lineup as well. Jordan was one of the best 'move the chains' guys ever, and was the prefect compliment to big time receivers like Anthony Carter, Jake Reed, and Cris Carter. He was durable, had sure hands, and was a devastating blocking TE as well.
Carl Lee, CB, 1983: If you want to argue that Bobby Bryant isn't the best cornerback in team history, one of your first counter arguments to that is that Carl Lee is. Lee is 6th all time in team history with 29 interceptions, but his career was a couple years shorter, and he played in an era that was vastly different than the one Bryant played in. Lee was a true shutdown corner, one of the few the team has ever had, and was just as sure a tackler as he was a pass defender. Lee went to three straight Pro Bowls from 1988-1990, getting a career best 8 interceptions in '88, with two of those picks returned for a TD. Like Bryant, Lee was one of the more overlooked players on a defense that had guys like Keith Millard, Chris Doleman, and later on John Randle, but he was just as vital to the success of those early Tony Dungy defenses as any of those guys were.
So, who are you going to take? We've already selected a tight end in the second round...but Jordan is etter than The People's Champion. We don't have any cornerbacks in our draft class yet, but if you're going to take one, is it going to be Bryant or Lee? Will Jordan and Lee cancel each other out as modern era guys, or will Bryant and Lee cancel each other out as top notch cornerbacks? Or will everyone think Steve Jordan is head and shoulders above everyone else and we end up with another landslide?