With the Vikings on the cusp of possibly taking a 1st round offensive linemann the upcoming NFL Draft, I thought it would tickle peoples fancy to take a look at all the 1st round big man the Vikings have selected since 1980. What I was surprised to see is that the Vikings have selected only 7 …….. 7 offensive lineman over the past 39 years in round 1. Maybe it’s just me but that seems insanely low. But even though it might be a low number, they have done pretty damn well with the guys they have selected.
Below I go through each selection and how each panned out in the long run for the Vikings, and lets hope a big guy falls in the Vikings lap at pick 25 so we can add one more to the list.
Garret Bradbury C, NC State (19th overall, 2019)
The Vikings brand new shiny toy. With only 1 year under his belt Garrett Bradbury is the hope for Vikings fans that he is the first step in a rebuilding a so-so offensive line. The hope with Bradbury is that he will QUICKLY become the anchor of this offensive line. When a team takes a center in round 1, it usually isn’t because there is hope that he will be great, it’s because they know he will be great. Hopefully with the addition of another early round offensive lineman in the 2020 NFL Draft, it will help bring not only Bradbury to another level, but the entire offensive line.
Only time will tell, but after a rocky start to his rookie season, Bradbury appeared to turn the corner and improve over the last 8 games of the season. So check back in 3 years and we’ll be able to give this a better verdict, but things look good.
Matt Kalil OT, USC (4th overall, 2012)
Not many rookies have toyed with our emotions more than Matt Kalil. The USC big man came into the league with a bang, at times dominating veteran defensive lineman. He got himself a trip to the Pro Bowl and helped Adrian Peterson rush for 2,000+ yards, all as a rookie. While it appeared the Vikings had their left tackle for the next 6-8 years, everything went down hill….. quickly.
Kalil quickly became one of the worst graded offensive tackles in all of football, on top of that he was one of the most penalized. He battled injuries that didn’t help his case but after 5 years in purple the Vikings rightfully so moved on.
It was the right pick. He was the best coming out of college and the Vikings desperately needed at left tackle. Nobody could have every predicted his fall. But overall ….. a big ole bust for the Vikings.
Bryant McKinnie (7th Overall, 2002)
I still remember the exact moment, I was sitting at the end of my bed, hoping for Texas safety Roy Williams to be the choice for the Vikings in the 2002 NFL Draft. Luckily I got over it quickly. McKinnie ending up being an anchor for the Vikings along with guys like Steve Hutchinson & Matt Birk which made up one of the best damn lines the Vikings have had in recent memory.
When all is said and done, like it or not, McKinnie was pretty underrated. As every offensive lineman does, specifically left tackle, he had his ups and downs, but he had more ups than downs and was a big reason the Vikings offense was so successful during his tenure.
McKinnie was the right pick. He was the best offensive lineman to come out of the 2002 class, and it’s not even close.
Korey Stringer (24th Overall, 1995)
Stringer was a giant out there at 6’4, 346 lbs and he played like one too. He started 93/97 games during his Vikings career and only seemed to get better each and every year. In his final season he earned a Pro Bowl berth and looked to be reaching his peak. Sadly all Vikings fans know that he passed away due to a head stroke during the 2001 Training Camp. He will go down as one of the most loved Vikings in history. Just google his name and read some of the stories about him and how he helped people, whether it was signing over his Pro Bowl check to youth programs, or helping random people with a flat tire.
Stringer was one of the strongest pieces along the Vikings offensive line during his tenure, and he played with guys like McDaniel, Christy, Steussie, & Dixon. Not bad company.
Todd Steussie (19th Overall, 1994)
Like Stringer above, Steussie was a big part of the Vikings success during the mid to late 90’s. While he might have been a false start machine he was a very solid left tackle, which earned him a few trips to the Pro Bowl (back when it meant something). In only a matter of 2 years (94 & 95) the Vikings were able to shore up both sides of their offensive line.
The Cal product ended up playing with the Vikings from 1994-2000 but ended up having a pretty long career playing until 2007, finishing off with the Panthers, Bucs, & Rams.
The Vikings built one of the best offensive lines in team history in the mid 90’s and Steussie had a lot to do with that. A total of 4 tackles went before Steussie in round 1, and the Vikings lucked out by getting the best of the bunch.
Randall McDaniel (19th Overall, 1988)
I mean really ….. what is there to say? McDaniel is not only the best guard to ever put on a Vikings jersey, but in consideration to be called the best guard to ever put on a uniform period. McDaniel was a 12x Pro Bowler and 9x All-Pro and honestly his accolades could take up half this page. Not only was he one of the best, but he was one of the most durable, starting in 202 straight games, which considering the position he plays is quite the feat.
The only thing that hurts my heart a little with McDaniel is him not being able to finish his career with the Vikings …. but really who even remembers his final 2 years in Tampa?
Getting this guy at pick 19? One of the biggest steals in Vikings draft history.