The time was April of 2005. Gwen Stefani was informing us that she was, indeed, not a "hollaback girl," the television show Lost had not yet turned into the non-sensical, pretentious pile of junk that it would become five years later, and video gamers everywhere were wrapped up in the incredibly violent exploits of a man called Kratos in Sony's God of War for the PlayStation 2.
And the Minnesota Vikings were in the midst of compiling what may have been the single worst draft class in the history of the franchise, and quite possibly in the modern era of the National Football League.
You know, I wanted to make a couple of these players separate posts. I wanted to highlight how Erasmus James couldn't stay healthy. . .I wanted to remind everyone of just how bad Troy Williamson's hands were. . .but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this entire draft class was such an overwhelming vortex of suck that there was no way I could really separate all of them. So, since this entire class was so egregiously bad, I want to highlight them all in this particular post.
We'll start with the man pictured at the top, one Troy Williamson. Now, I'll be the first to admit that Williamson had absolutely ridiculous expectations on him when he was selected, as he was "expected" to replace Randy Moss after Red McCombs decided to give one last middle finger to the fans of Minnesota on his way out the door by trading Moss to the Oakland Raiders for the seventh overall pick in the draft, the pick the Vikings used on Williamson.
But expectations or not, Williamson spent three years in Minnesota, and never once appeared to "get it." Sure, Williamson was fast, which is nice and all, but his hands were bad. Really, really bad. How bad? Well, this gives me this excuse to post this video clip of one of the most infamous plays of recent Vikings' history. . .it came in Williamson's last game as a member of the Vikings, and regardless of how many times I see it, I still don't believe that it actually happened.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. . .this guy couldn't catch gonhorrhea in a Vietnamese whorehouse. The Vikings thought that this was worth the seventh overall pick in the draft. The Vikings eventually unloaded him on the Jacksonville Jaguars for a sixth-round draft choice, after which he said he wanted to fight then-Vikings coach Brad Childress.
As bad as Williamson was, at least he was bad on the field, which is more than we can say for the guy that the Vikings took with their own first round pick, the eighteenth overall selection. They took Wisconsin defensive end Erasmus James, and he turned out to be a complete flop as well. Well, maybe not a complete flop. . .in his first season, he played in 15 games and notched four sacks. However, he managed to play only eight games combined in the 2006 and 2007 seasons, and was shipped to the Washington Redskins for a seventh-round pick after that.
The Vikings' second-round pick that year was Marcus Johnson, a guard out of Ole Miss. He actually had the longest tenure of any member of the Vikings' 2005 draft class. . .not that that means he was any good, because he wasn't. The fact that he stuck in Minnesota as long as he did was more of a testament to the Vikings' offensive line at the time than any of Johnson's contributions.
In the third round, Minnesota took Ohio State safety Dustin Fox. Fox broke his arm during training camp in 2005, and was placed on injured reserve. He was cut during training camp in 2006, having never played a game for Minnesota.
Minnesota's fourth-round pick was Florida running back Ciatrick Fason, who Mike Tice installed as Minnesota's goal line back. Did I mention that when he played for the Vikings that Fason weighed about 195 pounds? Who the heck thinks a sub-200 pound goal line back is a good idea? Mike Tice does, but I think that's just about all.
The Vikings had no fifth-round pick. . .which is probably for the best. . .and in the sixth round selected Missouri defensive tackle C.J. Mosley, who was probably the most successful member of this class, having shown some promise in a rotation on the Vikings' defensive line. What did he get for his success? A trip to New York, as he was traded to the Jets for future UFL MVP Brooks Bollinger.
With their last pick, the other pick the Vikings acquired from the Raiders for Moss, the Vikings took Texas El-Paso defensive back Adrian Ward. Yes, if you're wondering, "Who?" is, indeed, the appropriate response.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the Minnesota Vikings draft class of 2005. I'm not sure how many other teams can boast a draft class this awful, and I think it's hands down the worst draft in the 50-year history of the Minnesota Vikings' franchise.
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