We’ve taken a look at the history of the Minnesota Vikings at picks #22 and #25 in the NFL Draft, and now we’re going to move on to some of the players that the team has selected with the picks they currently possess on Day Two of the 2020 NFL Draft. As you can see, we’ve combined the second and third round selections for the Vikings in this one, largely because. . .well, for some of these picks there isn’t a whole lot of history to speak of.
For example, we can sum up the complete history of the Vikings and the 58th overall pick in the draft with one sentence: The Minnesota Vikings have never selected a player at #58 overall in the NFL Draft. Not once in all of team history. They’ve selected at #57 overall four times, most notably adding cornerback Ed Sharockman as part of their first ever draft class in 1961. They’ve also selected at #59 overall twice, including the selection of center Kirk Lowdermilk in 1985. But, according to our complete Minnesota Vikings Draft Pick Database, the Vikings have never made a selection at #58 overall.
That moves us to the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, where the Vikings hold picks #89 and #105, the latter being a Compensatory Pick for the loss of defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. The Vikings have selected at #89 overall twice, though neither selection was terribly notable.
The first time the Vikings picked at #89 overall was 1968, when the team selected Fresno State defensive back Mike Freeman. From what I can see, Freeman didn’t even make the Vikings roster, as Pro Football Reference shows him spending his three-year NFL career from 1968 to 1970 with the Atlanta Falcons. He played in 37 career games for the Falcons, picking up one interception.
The other time happened in 1975 with the selection of Ohio State running back Harold “Champ” Henson. Like Freeman, Henson never played a down for the Vikings, as Minnesota traded him to the Cincinnati Bengals after he was drafted. Henson also didn’t wind up having much of an NFL career. . .he had just 11 carries and one reception for the Bengals in one season with the team.
That brings us to pick #105, a spot that the Vikings selected at in back-to-back years in the early 2000s and actually got a pair of solid contributors. Well, one that wound up being a solid contributor and one that could have been but eventually wound up becoming famous for a completely different reason.
The first pick came in 2002 when the Vikings selected cornerback Brian Williams from North Carolina State. Williams played for the Vikings for four seasons, appearing in 62 of a possible 64 regular season games with 48 starts. As a member of the Vikings, he collected 12 of his 19 career interceptions, including a 42-yard pick-six against the Detroit Lions.
Williams actually carved out a pretty long career for himself in the National Football League. After four years with the Vikings, he played with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Atlanta Falcons, and the New York Giants before leaving the league in 2011.
The Vikings’ other pick at #105 overall came the next year, when the team drafted Oregon running back Onterrio Smith. The self-proclaimed “SOD” (for Steal of the Draft), he was second on the team in rushing yards in 2003 despite only getting three starts. He was then the Vikings’ leading rusher on their 2004 playoff team with 544 yards. Yes, that was enough to lead a Vikings’ team in rushing at that time. It appeared that Smith was on his way to at least being a solid contributor for the future.
That all changed in 2005, when Smith was suspended for the entire season. He had committed his third violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, having been caught at the Minneapolis Airport with dried urine and a device that was revealed to be known as the “Original Whizzinator.” (Accept no substitutes.) This was designed to help defeat a drug test that an individual would have to provide a urine sample for. Smith never played another down in the NFL following his suspension.
So, that’s the brief. . .and strange. . .history of the Vikings with the selections they currently have on Day Two of the 2020 NFL Draft.