The numbers would appear to be against the Vikings if they intend to use their first-round pick (currently No. 22) to take an offensive tackle. Since it's too early to pass judgment on the 2008 draft as to whether the picks late in the first round are successes or not, the past decade (1998-2007) has showed that trying to get an offensive tackle in the latter portions of the first round is not only a crapshoot, but not very likely.
In that span, the only offensive tackle taken at the 22nd pick was Chris McIntosh of the Seattle Seahawks in 2000. He lasted just three years in the league before recurring neck problems forced him to retire in 2003. The bad news doesn't stop there.
From 2001-07, there were only three offensive tackles taken on the first round that were available when the team with the 22nd pick made its selection. The 49ers took Joe Staley with the 27th pick of the 2007 draft as well as Kwame Harris with the 26th pick of the 2003 draft, while Chicago took Marc Colombo with the 29th pick of the 2002 draft. The fact that one team has taken two of the players chosen doesn't bode well for the availability of a top offensive tackle when the Vikings pick.
That isn't to say, however, that talent hasn't come close. In 2005, the St. Louis Rams took Alex Barron with the 19th pick. The year before that, thanks to flip-flopping with the Vikings, the Dolphins took Vernon Carey with the 19th pick of the draft. The Lions also fit in prominently to that mix as well. George Foster, who was recently released by the Lions after being traded from Denver as part of the Dre Bly trade two years ago, was taken by the Broncos in 2003 with the 20th overall pick. In 2001, the Lions took Jeff Backus with the 18th pick. The year before that, Detroit drafted Stockar McDougle with the 20th pick. Shockingly, in 1999 the Lions also drafted Aaron Gibson (No. 27 overall) to be their tackle of the future.
You have to go all the way back to 1998 to find a time when two offensive tackles went in the final 10 picks of the first round – Mo Collins to the Raiders and Victor Riley to Kansas City. Collins played six years in the league in made 64 career starts. Riley played eight years in the league with the Chiefs, Saints and Texans and made 93 career starts.
Although the draft class at offensive tackle looks to be deep and loaded with talent, finding that talent in the final third of the first round has proved to be difficult for NFL teams. If the Vikings want to guarantee a star player, they may have to move up, because history isn't exactly on their side with this one.