Vikings Have Muddy History with 4th-Round Picks

Vikings Have Muddy History with 4th-Round Picks
Aug 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Troy Dye. © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans signed his rookie contract on Wednesday and will look to change a little history with the team.

Evans was plucked from the 4th Round of the 2022 NFL Draft after general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah shipped a 2022 5th-Rounder and 2023 4th-Rounder to the Cleveland Browns for the pick that would be used on Evans.

But here’s the weird part. Compared to the rest of the NFL, the Vikings have a muddy history with prospects from Round 4. In the Super Bowl era (since 1966), Minnesota has drafted 63 players from the 4th Round, excluding Evans, and just one eventually reached a Pro Bowl — Everson Griffen.

Overall in the NFL during the same timeframe, 118 4th-Rounders went on to earn at least one Pro Bowl nod. But the Vikings have curiously found just one since 1966.

Dec 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings don’t always draft a bunch of duds in Round 4. Yet, the men selected in that spot of the draft rarely blossom into superstardom. Outside of Griffen, who has been tapped for four Pro Bowls and is a free agent, these are the most impactful Vikings 4th-Rounders from the Super Bowl era:

  • Roy Barker (DE)
  • Ray Edwards (DE)
  • Jim Hough (G)
  • Joe Phillips (NT)
  • Brian Robison (DE)

Not exactly a list to knock your sock off, right? Recently, Minnesota found these players from Round 4:

  • 2022 = Akayleb Evans
  • 2021 = Kene Nwangwu, Camryn Bynum, Janarius Robinson
  • 2020 = D.J. Wonnum, Troy Dye, James Lynch
  • 2019 = Dru Samia
  • 2018 = Jalyn Holmes
  • 2017 = Jaleel Johnson, Ben Gedeon

The prognosis for this stat and Akayleb Evans, the latest 4th-Rounder, can be interpreted a couple of ways a) Someone is overdue to bust out from Round 4, and it just might be Evans b) On the other hand, the Vikings are plagued by underwhelming luck in the 4th Round, so Evans will fall on the ash heap of the 4th-Round mediocrity.

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Missouri defensive back Akayleb Evans. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Some of the top 4th-Rounders in NFL history? Jared Allen, Jahri Evans, Rich Gannon, Steve Largent, Andre Reed, Joe Theismann, etc.

The Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, too, was found in the 4th Round, but that was thanks to the Washington Commanders front office a decade ago.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).