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A brief history of the Minnesota Vikings and the #12 pick

It’s only happened twice

St. Louis Cardinal v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

With the 2022 NFL Draft nearly upon us, it’s time to take a look at what the Minnesota Vikings have done in the past with the draft slot they have in this year’s selection meeting. The team currently has the 12th overall pick in the Draft, and they’ve been in this position before. . .twice. Those two picks both had widely varying degrees of success, happening nearly four decades apart.

The first time the Vikings selected at #12 overall came in 1973 when they selected Miami (FL) running back Chuck Foreman. Foreman would play seven seasons in Minnesota and pretty much re-wrote the Vikings’ rushing records. He was the leading rusher in team history until he was passed for the mark by Robert Smith in 2000, and was the team leader in rushing touchdowns until Adrian Peterson obliterated the mark. He also set the standards for receiving by a running back. . .not just for the Vikings, but for the entire league.

In his seven years in Minnesota, Foreman carried the ball 1,533 times for 5,887 yards and 52 touchdowns. He also caught 336 passes for 3,057 yards and 23 touchdowns. He’s a member of the Vikings’ Ring of Honor, the team’s 25th Anniversary team, the 40th Anniversary team, and one of the 50 Greatest Vikings of All Time.

The other #12 pick for the Vikings came in 2011, when the team famously. . .or infamously. . .reached for Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder. Yes, I was probably the last Christian Ponder defender on the planet and still think the team could have handled him significantly better than they did (like not wasting half a season on the Donovan McNabb experiment), but in the end it turned out to be a bad pick.

Ponder got thrown into the fire in 2011 and showed some glimpses, but then proceeded to struggle in 2012 despite the all-time great rushing season that Adrian Peterson was putting together behind him. He was part of the game of quarterback musical chairs that the team put together in 2013, and by 2014 was firmly entrenched as the third-string quarterback.

In his Vikings career, Ponder completed 59.8% of his passes, throwing 38 touchdown passes to 36 interceptions.

That’s the entire history of the Minnesota Vikings and the #12 overall pick in the NFL Draft. I’m not sure if the Vikings will stay at #12 in this Thursday’s first round, but whether they do or not, I think we can all agree that we’d like to see more of a Chuck Foreman-esque pick than a Christian Ponder-esque one.