You have to love the internet. The Vikings' 2005 draft was clearly horrible, and it takes little effort to go back and find out what the "experts" thought about the Vikings' draft at the time.
ESPN's Len Pasquarelli loved the Vikings' draft:
"It was anticipated that the Vikings, who had a pair of first-round choices by virtue of the trade that sent Randy Moss packing, would have a solid draft. But saying a team is going to choose wisely, and then having the club do it, are sometimes polar extremes. And as colleague Chris Mortensen noted on-air Sunday afternoon, credit Minnesota owner Red McCombs, who is on the brink of peddling his franchise, for having the vision to see beyond the "For Sale" sign, hold things together, and conduct business pretty nicely."
Sports Illustrated's Dr. Z gave the Vikes an A. They were the first team he listed, and here's what he had to say:
"Where do we start? Top pick Troy Williamson goes deep and doesn't walk off the field while the game's going on. The other first-rounder, Erasmus James, should have been the first outside rusher selected. Instead the Vikes got lucky and he was the fourth. Marcus Johnson is a serious mauler at either guard or tackle. Dustin Fox -- a cornerback or safety, take your pick -- vertically jumped 43 1/2, which is almost as high as I went when the Redhead presented me with those rugger tix."
Sports Illustrated's Don Banks listed the Vikes #3 for draft winners. Among other things, he writes of Troy Williamson:
"His presence will stretch the field for the Vikings, giving them a reasonable facsimile of Moss, who was traded to Oakland."
Yahoo!'s Charles Robinson didn't have much bad to say about the Vikings, giving them an A+:
"High marks: Minnesota nailed its top three needs with high-quality players. Mississippi's Marcus Johnson can play guard or tackle and should be able to beat out Shannon Snell for a starting guard spot. Troy Williamson can absolutely fly and will give the receiving corps a deep threat immediately. Defensive end Erasmus James has the body and talent to start from Day 1. The Vikings also made three great depth picks with safety Dustin Fox, running back Ciatrick Fason and defensive tackle C.J. Mosely.
"Low marks: Not many mistakes here. A kicker later in the draft would have been a nice pickup."
Football Outsiders provided some links and found more draft graders giving the Vikings a grade in the A range, including NBC Sports' Ron Borges, The Dallas Morning News' Rick Gosselin, CBS Sports' Pete Prisco, Sporting News' Dan Pompei, and NFL Draft Scout's Rob Rang.
Look, it's hard for me to pick on these writers. As the great Dr. Farthing says, "Hindsight is 20/20 my friend." If I were blogging here in 2005, you could probably go to my archives and find me raving about the Vikings' draft (go to the archives now and you'll find all sorts of stupid things written). But I think there are two lessons to take here:
1. The draft is all about potential, and so there is little reason to pay attention to any "grades" for the draft before the players actually play.
2. There seems little reason to consider paid sportswriters "experts" on the game. Why, precisely, do I need to think these writers know more about football than serious fans? What do these writers do that proves their opinions on the game are more meaningful, relevant, and correct, than a blogger's opinion?