5 Biggest Draft Mistakes for Vikings from the Last 5 Years

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The Minnesota Vikings have notably added Justin Jefferson, Christian Darrisaw, and Jordan Addison in the last five years from the NFL draft, so the team has done somewhat well during the event.

However, like every franchise, Minnesota has some large misses in late April. And the handful is quite glaring.

5 Biggest Draft Mistakes for Vikings from the Last 5 Years

These are the Vikings’ biggest draft mistakes in the last five years, ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = worst).

5. Drafting a Center in Round 1
2019 Draft

a change coming
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports.

The last time an NFL team drafted a center higher than Garrett Bradbury (the 18th pick in 2019) was 1999 — yes, 25 years ago. It was Damien Woody for the New England Patriots.

When a general manager takes a 1st-Round swing on a center, that man must be great. Otherwise, centers are gettable after Round 1 and perhaps in Round 3 or later.

But former boss Rick Spielman wanted to nail down the middle of the offensive line — an appropriate craving at the time — and it didn’t work out. Bradbury improved with a new coaching staff in 2022 and 2023 and is a decent center. Still, drafting a center in the 1st Round who takes four years to blossom isn’t ideal.

4. Not Stepping on Lions Throat in 2022 Trade
2022 Draft

Choice for the NFC
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

On the first two nights of the 2022 NFL draft, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, through direct compensation with the Lions via trade of the 12th overall pick, added Lewis Cine (S), Andrew Booth (CB), Ed Ingram (OL), and Brian Asamoah (LB). The Lions landed Jameson Williams (WR) and Josh Paschal (EDGE).

In a normal draft, Minnesota could’ve squeezed even more out of the Lions. A 20-spot trade in Round 1 should involve the other team’s 1st-Rounder from the following year. But Adofo-Mensah didn’t step on Detroit’s neck.

In fairness to Minnesota, quarterbacks are usually the magnets for colossal trades up the board, and no QBs were chosen that evening in the Top 12. That reduced the value of the Vikings 12th overall pick.

3. Three Straight Misses in 2021 NFL Draft
2021 Draft

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

In order, the Vikings fired up three humongous misses in Round 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft — Kellen Mond (QB), Chazz Surratt (LB), and Wyatt Davis (G)

A draft travesty.

None of those men play for the Vikings anymore, and they don’t do much for their current teams, either. The 2021 NFL Draft was Spielman’s last as the Vikings GM, and this trio of picks essentially explains why.

Of three 3rd-Rounders, a general manager should connect on at least one. Spielman hit on nil.

2. Passing on Kyle Hamilton in 2022
2022 Draft

Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports.

Absolutely everybody everywhere knew safety Kyle Hamilton would thrive in the NFL. He wasn’t supposed to fall to the Vikings in 2022 with the 12th overall pick. But then he did, the Vikings passed on him, the Ravens drafted him, and unsurprisingly, Hamilton is one of the sport’s premiere safeties.

The Vikings fired up the aforementioned trade for Lewis Cine — which could still turn out to be splendid but doesn’t seem trending that way right now — while Hamilton was a sure thing, a total lock.

If Minnesota wanted a safety so badly, it could’ve stayed put at No. 12 and “settled” for Hamilton instead of trading out of the pick.

1. Very Few Impact Defenders
2019-2023

Adam New’s Win-Loss Prediction for the 2022 Vikings 
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

These are Minnesota’s Rounds 1-3 defensive picks from the last five drafts:

  • Jeff Gladney
  • Cameron Dantzler
  • Chazz Surratt
  • Patrick Jones II
  • Andrew Booth
  • Lewis Cine
  • Brian Asamoah
  • Mekhi Blackmon

Those men have collectively started 50 games since the start of 2019. Or 6.25 games per player. There’s still time for Jones II, Booth, Cine, Asamoah, and Blackmon to emerge. But if they do not, the list above is unholy bad.


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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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