Lack of first-round picks has hurt Vikings

The Vikings had one of the older rosters in the league last year, and some of that had to do with a lack of first-round picks over the last three years. Looking at the last three drafts, the Vikings haven't found a lot of starters.

The Vikings haven't had first-round picks in two of the last three years, which has limited their ability to find young starters.

The Vikings have been without a first-round pick in two of the past three drafts, trading away the selection in 2008 in the Jared Allen deal with Kansas City and again in 2010 in a trade with the Detroit Lions.

Both times the Vikings then took a defensive back in the second round. In 2008, they selected safety Tyrell Johnson, who started in 2009 but was a backup last season. Last year, cornerback Chris Cook was the choice. He battled knee injuries throughout his rookie season.

The Vikings' first- and second-round selections in 2009, wide receiver Percy Harvin and right tackle Phil Loadholt, are both key contributors.

Best pick of last three years: Wide receiver Percy Harvin, 2009 (first round, 22nd overall): Several teams passed on Harvin because of concerns about his character, but so far he has proven to be an elite player both as a wide receiver and kickoff return man. The issue is that Harvin continues to battle migraine headaches and has missed countless practices and three games because of the issue.

Worst pick: Linebacker Nate Triplett, 2010 (fifth round, 167th overall): Taken with a compensatory pick out of the University of Minnesota, Triplett was cut before last season and wasn't even brought back to the practice squad. The Vikings had thought he could contribute on special teams.

Here is how the Vikings have fared in the last three drafts:

Totals picks: 18

2010 starters: 3

2010 backup: 10

On other teams: 1

Out of NFL: 3

Injured Reserve/PUP: 1

NOTES

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson's five-year stay with the Vikings almost certainly came to an end when the team did not place a restricted free-agent tender on him.

Jackson, a second-round pick in 2006 by then first-year coach Brad Childress, had various opportunities to become the Vikings starter but was never able to hold onto the job.

By the end of this past season, Jackson and the Vikings both seemed to know it would be a wise idea for the sides to part. The Vikings' failure to extend a tender to Jackson means the team is prepared to let him walk regardless of what happens in the CBA talks.

Meanwhile, wide receiver Sidney Rice and defensive end Ray Edwards both had first-round tenders placed on them, although it's not clear if those tenders will hold up under the new collective bargaining agreement that is yet to be completed.

  • Vikings linebacker Ben Leber was among a large group of NFL players in attendance last week at a meeting with owners for a four-hour negotiating session at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service office of George Cohen in Washington D.C.

  • LB Chad Greenway signed his franchise tag with the team and will return under a one-year deal for around $10 million, assuming the franchise tag holds up under the yet-to-be negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement.

  • Vikings officials are busy attending various Pro Days and getting a look at prospects. The fact that free agency hasn't started yet enables the Vikings personnel department to put even more of their focus on the draft.

  • The Vikings did not place restricted free-agent tenders on defensive tackle Fred Evans, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, or fullback Naufahu Tahi.


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