Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Stocking the Cupboard

Championship teams build through the draft. Acquiring veterans through free agency or trade can definitely help a championship team: players like Marshall Faulk, Rodney Harrison, and Corey Dillon have been essential players on championship teams. Still, look at any championship team in recent years (or go as far back as you'd like) and you'll see a team built with blue-chip players acquired through the draft. One of the Steeler teams that won a title in the 70s actually had an entire team of players that had never played for another franchise. New England built the talent base for its run of success primarily by drafting good players.

So let's look at the Viking roster and match it up with the Vikings' draft history. Below are listed the current Vikings who were also drafted by the Vikings. An asterisk denotes a player drafted by the Vikes but who has not spent his entire career on the team, and IR indicates a player on injuried reserve. Listed in parentheses is the round and year the player was drafted. (note: I compiled this manually and may have forgotten someone; only after looking it over did I realize I left Cedric Griffin out)

Matt Birk (6-1998)
Greg Blue (5-2006)
Ryan Cook (2-2006)
Jeff Dugan (7-2004)
Rod Davis (5-2004)*
Ray Edwards (4-2006)
Ciatrick Fason (4-2005)
E.J. Henderson (2-2003)
Cedric Griffin (2-2006)
Tarvaris Jackson (2-3006)
Brad Johnson (9-1992)*
Marcus Johnson (2-2005)
Jim Kleinsasser (2-1999)
Bryant McKinnie (1-2002)
Mewelde Moore (4-2004)
Darrion Scott (3-2004)
Dontarrious Thomas (3-2004)
Kenechi Udeze (1-2004)
Kevin Williams (1-2003)
Troy Williamson (1-2005)
Chad Greenway (1-2006) IR
Erasmus James (1-2005) IR

A few observations:
--There's not an elite player on this list. I believe the Vikings have three players that could be considered elite: Pat Williams, Antoine Winfield, and Steve Hutchinson. Each of these players was acquired through free agency. Other prominent contributors to the Vikings like Chester Taylor and Darren Sharper (very good players that I wouldn't call elite) were also acquired through free agency. Matt Birk, I believe, has been an elite player for the Vikings in the past, so there's one possible very good player on the roster that was drafted by the Vikes (though Birk hasn't stuck out to me this year as much as in past--perhaps the Vikes just don't pull him as much as they used to).

--I wonder if there's another team in the league that can say it has no players on its roster that it drafted in 2000 or 2001. Note that there is one player on the roster that was drafted by the team in 1998, 1999, and 2002. Two players drafted in 2003 are still on the roster.

--Not one first-round pick of the Vikings is currently doing much to help the Vikings. Greenway and James are on IR, Troy Williamson stinks, Bryant McKinnie is having a bad year, I believe Kenechi Udeze is the only starting DE in the league with ZERO SACKS making him a COMPLETE NON-FACTOR, and Kevin Williams has been a relative non-factor (I credit the tough run defense to Pat Williams; KW is supposed to be able to provide a pass rush, and he's not doing it).

--If the Vikes are going to have success in the future, we have to hope that the drafting improves. We also have to hope that players drafted in recent years can achieve an elite level. Chad Greenway and Erasmus James are on IR; perhaps in the future they will be elite Vikings. Ryan Cook has finally gotten some PT and has performed fairly well. We all have high hopes for Tarvaris Jackson. There's reason to think that Cedric Griffin can be an elite CB in the future. There are other players on this list that either are good players (E.J. Henderson) or could be good in the future.

--Overall, it's a disappointing, lackluster list.


  1. I guess we can thank Red McCombs for this one. Childress and company look like they did a decent job on the draft this year (Griffen has played well, Tarvaris is going to be starting at QB next year, Cook is starting to get playing time and if Greenway comes back 100%, he should be a monster). 2 drafts isn't going to be enough to stock the team up, but they should be able to bring in some more guys to help in this years draft, and the Vikings still have cap room to target someone proven to fill their biggest needs.

  2. Anonymous3:46 PM

    You read it all?