There are certain lists you want to see your favorite football team on, and there are lists that you don't. This entry from NFL.com definitely falls into the latter category.
NFL.com went through and ranked the five worst draft classes of the past ten years, and the Minnesota Vikings find themselves in an unfortunately prominent position on the list. The Vikings' draft class of 2005 was ranked as the second-worst draft class of the last ten years, being bested (or worsted, which isn't even a word, really) by the 2007 Oakland Raiders.
Here's what they had to say about the class of 2005.
-Draft class: WR Troy Williamson (Round 1), DE Erasmus James (Round 1), OG Marcus Johnson (Round 2), DB Dustin Fox (Round 3), RB Ciatrick Fason (Round 4), DT C.J. Mosley (Round 6), DB Adrian Ward (Round 7)
-Players who were primary starters: 4
-Total games played: 289
The Vikings had two first-round picks in the 2005 NFL Draft, and probably could have saved the franchise's fans years of grief by drafting Aaron Rodgers and keeping him out of Green Bay. However, quarterback Daunte Culpepper was coming off a career year in 2004 (39 touchdowns and a league-leading 4,717 yards passing). After Randy Moss posted a then-career-low 767 yards receiving in 2004, the franchise decided it had enough of the controversial receiver and traded him to the Oakland Raiders. In return, the Vikings got the Raiders' No. 7 overall pick, which the team used on the player they thought would be Moss' successor, Williamson. That didn't happen. Williamson possessed the speed to be a deep threat, but had a bad case of the dropsies.
James had an injury-riddled career in which he recorded just five sacks. The most productive NFL player from this draft class is Mosley ... the other C.J. Mosley, not the 2014 Pro Bowler for the Baltimore Ravens.
To NFL.com's credit, at least they acknowledge the existence of Daunte Culpepper before trotting out the tired old "Minnesota passed on Aaron Rodgers" tripe. Sure, the Vikings may have missed on Williamson and James, but with a 28-year old quarterback that was coming off of a season that saw him throw 39 touchdown passes and finish second to Peyton Manning in the MVP voting, they weren't drafting a quarterback in the first round anyway.
Again, at least NFL.com acknowledged that. Most people continue to parrot the "Vikings passed on Rodgers" meme because they're terribly ignorant, amazingly stupid, and have no grasp of context or history.
As far as the rest of the Vikings' 2005 draft class, we've had discussions about them before. Back in 2011, when we were running down the list of the Vikings' worst draft picks ever, I decided that I couldn't pick just one part of the 2005 draft class and gave the entire group one spot on the list. Troy Williamson gets most of the heat for how bad this draft class was, which was a bit unfair. . .seriously, people expected him to come in and replace one of the NFL's all-time great receivers. Sure, it didn't happen, which isn't surprising. . .but it's how miserably far off those expectations were that brings the vitriol. Of course, it wasn't Williamson's fault that he was drafted that high, either. Erasmus James couldn't stay healthy long enough to be really bad on the field, but he didn't do a whole lot while he was out there, either. The rest of the class just wasn't good.
There seems to be a pretty solid consensus that the Vikings' draft class of 2005 is the worst in the history of the team. . .honestly, I can't think of another one that's even in the same ballpark. But it's kind of sobering to see it in the context of the rest of the league. Frankly, I think they could have gone back twenty or thirty years, and the Vikings' 2005 draft class should still be on a top five or top ten list like this one.