As we get closer and closer to the 2014 NFL draft, people all over the country like to reminisce about times when their favorite team outsmarted all the other dopes in the NFL and did something good. FOR ONCE. The Vikings are usually the dopes getting outsmarted, but every once in a while they charm their way into pure fortune. Take, for instance, 1998 when the Super Freak Randy Moss dropped into their laps 21st overall, or in 2007 when the Vikings literally didn’t have to do anything but make the right pick for once, and resurrect Purple Jesus.
These were all great picks, and the Vikings website did a little remembering this past week, ranking what they felt were the team’s top draft picks throughout their history. It’s a storied list, certainly, with easily recognizable names like Scott Studwell, Alan Page, Fran Tarkenton, and the other two aforementioned examples. No one is going to argue that. Except me, I guess.
See, when I think “VIKINGS FOOTBALL” I don’t think “AMAZING TEAM WHO FINDS DRAFT STEALS AND DOMINATES THEIR DIVISION YEAR IN AND YEAR OUT ON THEIR WAY TO SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONSHIPS!” Instead, I come from a Vikings football era that’s more like “CHICKS LOVE THE LONG BALL, DUDES GET THEIR HEARTS BROKEN.” While players like Randy Moss and Purple Jesus certainly contributed to some of the latter, it really belonged more to another special group of draftees that helped define the Vikings in recent years.
These draftees are included in this list. I call them my Top 5 Vikings Draft Picks Ever, not because they brought unlimited joy and ecstasy to the fan base, but rather because they are so much fun to laugh about years later. With that in mind, by no means is the list comprehensive! It’s a top 5 list, not a top 500 list. These are my personal favorites. Reminisce with me by sharing your favorites in the comments below.
In no particular order:
1. Christian Ponder, QB R1 (12 Overall), 2011
Well, let’s just get into it, shall we? The selection of Christian Ponder was a stretch even when it happened, but the real stretch was letting the experiment go on for as long as it did. Now, into year four of said experiment, I still can’t help find find entertainment in this. The most NFL ready QB goes to the Vikings, who then proceeds to – two years later – throw for a average of 0.05 more yards then his running back averages on the ground. Also, his shirtless behavior, attractive wife, and general dopey smile makes him a lovable loser. So much so that I’m calling 2014 the year of the #FREEPONDER hashtag. Get on board!
2. Troy Williamson, WR R1 (7 Overall), 2005
Good old clam hands. There was a game late in his career, after everyone had given him a chance in the world, after he had gone to Nike’s eye clinics, after he caught every single ball during training camp, where he was on his final leg, where Troy was running – Nay, STREAKING! – down the middle of the field in a live action game, no defenders around him, and a ball was dropped right into his lap. A beautiful deep pass. I don’t remember who it was, but Troy dropped it. It slipped right through his forearms, again, and he crumpled to the ground in a heap, slammed his fists on the turf, and let out an anguished cry. It was like watching a man die. Super intense. Very entertaining.
3. Onterrio Smith, RB R4 (105 Overall), 2003
The original SOTD (Steal Of The Draft), Smith brought a bit of attitude to the Vikings when he was drafted. He also brought a love of marijuana, a Whizzinator penis, and all sorts of stories and shenanigans that fit right in with all the latter Randy Moss boobery. It’s like Smith was meant to be a Viking.
4. Erasmus James, DE R1 (18 Overall), 2005
2005 was a hell of a draft year, wasn’t it? Aside from Troy Clam Hands, Erasmus James also came across the Wisconsin-Minnesota border to join the team. And things looked like it would go swimmingly! Until he started pouting and crying in training camp because he didn’t like getting picked on as a rookie. Now, in the light of recent allegations about bullying behavior in the NFL over the past year, maybe James had a point. OR! Maybe he was just bad at football and didn’t want to work hard. You pick!
5. John David Booty, QB R5 (137 Overall), 2008
My man. One of the least important athletes in the NFL during his career, Booty nevertheless brought an important amount of charm and known panache to the team, sharing his enjoyment of celebration with his bros. Quickly becoming best friends with Percy Harvin, and would have later bro’ed out with Jerome Simpson no doubt, John David Booty was my first semi-mentally challenged back up QB boyfriend. Ponder took the spot later, but it wasn’t quite the same, since he was actually supposed to be a starter.
Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments.