We are now, officially, less than three weeks away from the 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City, and your Minnesota Vikings are currently slated to take the 23rd player off the board. They technically have the 24th pick, but because the Miami Dolphins got caught cheating and forfeited their first-round selection they’ll actually be picking 23rd.
With the draft approaching, we wanted to take a look at exactly how the Vikings have fared with the 23rd pick in the Draft. We’ll probably do a separate one of these for #24 as well since, as mentioned, that’s where the Vikings are selecting if we go by the letter of the NFL law.
The Vikings have made the 23rd pick in the draft four times in franchise history with varying levels of success. The first time they picked the 23rd player came back in 1965, when the 23rd pick actually fell in the second round because there were only 14 picks in each round. That year, the Vikings took Oklahoma wide receiver Lance Rentzel. Rentzel didn’t do much for the Vikings, though it’s worth noting that as a rookie he did set the record for longest kick return in team history at 101 yards, a record that stood until Aundrae Allison broke it in 2007 (which was subsequently broken by Cordarrelle Patterson in 2013).
Rentzel played just two seasons in Minnesota, getting traded to the Dallas Cowboys for a third-round pick during the 1967 offseason. He then proceeded to get into a bunch of legal trouble for things that you can look up when you get an opportunity because, honestly, it’s kind of gross.
The Vikings didn’t pick at #23 again until 2013, when they used the 23rd overall pick to take University of Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. Floyd had a solid career for the Vikings that was, unfortunately, cut short by a botched knee surgery following the 2016 regular season opener. Prior to that, Floyd was well on his way to establishing himself as a solid part of the Vikings’ defense but never saw the field again after that game against the Titans. Damn shame, to be honest. I can’t really categorize this pick as a bust. . .after all, it’s not the Vikings’ fault or Floyd’s fault that the doctor screwed up.
The Vikings had the 23rd overall pick again just three years later in 2016, and went back to the wide receiver well with the selection of Laquon Treadwell from Ole Miss. Speaking of miss, that’s pretty much what this pick was. Treadwell wound up catching just one pass in his entire rookie season and never really found his spot in the Minnesota offense. He’s had a few stops since then and has managed to hang around the league, but it’s pretty impossible to categorize this pick as anything other than a bust.
Most recently, the Vikings picked at #23 in the 2021 NFL Draft, courtesy of a trade down with the New York Jets, using that pick to take Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. While his rookie season was slowed by his recovery from core muscle surgery, he has since established himself as one of the top offensive tackles in the league and a player that could serve as a cornerstone for this franchise for a very long time to come.
The 23rd pick has seen a bit of a mixed bag for the Vikings as far as successes and failures. While I would honestly be surprised to see them stay at that pick in this year’s first round, if they do keep the pick they can hopefully add more to the positive side of the ledger.