In the last 25 NFL Drafts, the Minnesota Vikings have not held a pick higher than the seventh overall selection. They have held the seventh overall pick three times during that stretch. In 2002, they selected University of Miami offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, and in 2005 (thanks to a pick that was acquired from the Oakland Raiders in the Randy Moss trade), they selected South Carolina "wide receiver" Troy Williamson. Then, in 2007, they used the seventh overall pick on some running back out of Oklahoma named Adrian Peterson who, from all accounts, has panned out alright.
Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints, however, guarantees that the Vikings will have the highest pick they have had since selecting Chris Doleman at #4 overall in the 1985 NFL Draft. The Vikings dropped to 2-12 on Sunday, ensuring that they can win no more than four games this season. With 26 other NFL teams having at least five victories already, that means that the Vikings' pick will be one of the first six selections of the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Vikings are still in the race for the top overall selection, thanks to the Indianapolis Colts getting their first victory of 2011 on Sunday. In their history, the Vikings have had the top overall selection in the draft twice, but in both of those cases it had nothing to do with their play on the field. Minnesota selected Tulane running back Tommy Mason with the top pick in the 1961 Draft, but that came before they had ever played an NFL game. They selected USC offensive tackle Ron Yary #1 overall in 1968, but that pick was not theirs. . .it was a selection they acquired from the New York Giants as part of the trade that sent quarterback Fran Tarkenton to New York.
Will the Vikings "earn" the right to select first overall in 2012? As a Vikings fan, I hope not, but it certainly is a distinct possibility.