Hat tip to The Vikings Wire for finding this one first.
Since the AFL and NFL stopped having separate drafts in 1967, the Minnesota Vikings have only had the #1 overall selection once. . .and they didn’t even get it because they were bad. They got it because of the trade that sent quarterback Fran Tarkenton to the New York Giants. They had the #1 overall pick in the 1968 NFL Draft, and they used that select offensive tackle Ron Yary.
Yary went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Vikings, being inducted in Canton in 2001. Over at NFL.com, Elliot Harrison has gone through and ranked all of the #1 overall picks based on their careers. Yary found his way to #8 overall on the list.
A Hall of Fame tackle, Ron Yary was as steady a player as there was in the 1970s, a six-time first-team All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler. While you hear so much about the Vikings’ defense from Yary’s era (the “Purple People Eaters”), Yary was the most consistent offensive performer on Minnesota’s four Super Bowl teams.
The seven guys that ranked ahead of Yary? Yeah, they were all pretty good.
- Peyton Manning
- Bruce Smith
- John Elway
- Terry Bradshaw
- Troy Aikman
- O.J. Simpson (football only, mind you)
- Earl Campbell
Yary finds himself as the highest-ranked offensive lineman on the list, just two spots ahead of Orlando Pace.
Hopefully, we won’t have to worry about another member of the Vikings being added to such a list any time soon. . .unless, of course, as in Yary’s case, it comes because the Vikings swung a trade somewhere and wound up with the #1 overall pick courtesy of somebody else.