Revisiting the Vikings ‘Tom Brady Draft Class’

Early on Wednesday morning, NFL legend Tom Brady decided to call it a career — again. He says it’s official this time, and while it makes a good deal of sense to believe him, we’ve seen this turned on its head once before. If Brady truly is done, he becomes the last player of the 2000 NFL Draft Class to leave the sport, and looking back on the Vikings group provides some fun.

Throughout his career, Tom Brady played 23 seasons in the NFL, compiling nearly 90,000 passing yards to go with 649 touchdowns. He is a 15-time Pro Bowl selection and grabbed seven Super Bowl rings before calling it quits. None of the 2000 Vikings draft class has that level of production going for them, but there are certainly some names to revisit.

Revisiting the Vikings’ Tom Brady Draft Class’

Coming off of a 10-6 season under Dennis Green, the Vikings took down the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams. With the successful year under their belt, a high draft pick in 2000 wouldn’t be in the cards. The Vikings selected 25th overall that year.

Tom Brady Draft Class
Jan 4, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks with the media after a loss to the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports.

With their first-round pick, Minnesota took defensive tackle, Chris Hovan. As a rookie, Hovan played in all 16 games while drawing 13 starts. He recorded two sacks during his debut season and compiled 17 of them across 77 games with the Vikings. Interestingly enough, Hovan spent the final five years of his career in the same place Brady did, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Taking another defensive tackle with their 55th overall pick and first of the second round, Minnesota grabbed Fred Robbins. His career was much less notable than Hovan’s, and he wound up with just 3.5 sacks across 56 games with the Vikings. Robbins played six years with the New York Giants before spending his final two seasons with the St. Louis Rams.

Minnesota’s first skill position player in 2000 came during the third round when they took Doug Chapman, a running back from Marshall. Not quite the same level of success as fellow alum Randy Moss, Chapman spent just three seasons in the NFL and never recorded a rushing touchdown. He started only three games, and his career was quickly over.

Dec 6, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; ESPN commentator and NFL Hall of Fame member Randy Moss. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

In the 4th round, with the 106th pick, the Vikings went with a hometown kid. Taking Tyronne Carter from the University of Minnesota, they had a new free safety to insert into the lineup. He started seven games in each of his three seasons for Minnesota while generating his first interception and defensive touchdown. Carter played for 11 years in the NFL, and six came for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Arguably the only other pick of note was a wide receiver, Troy Walters. Taken in the 5th round, Walters played just two seasons in Minnesota and had only a single reception. He was used as a return man for the bulk of his career but, unfortunately, never found paydirt that way. He did get more run in four years with the Indianapolis Colts and finished his career with nine receiving touchdowns.

Dennis Green
Dennis Green

If the mark is a Hall of Fame caliber player, a draft class will likely never compare to the greatness of Tom Brady. Minnesota’s 2000 group certainly could have been much better, but three separate players had decade-long careers in the NFL. Robbins lasted the longest, retiring in 2011.

Those that left Minnesota before can now welcome Brady to the group.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.