Vikings Worst Draft Picks In The Past Five Years

April 10, 2022

The Minnesota Vikings hold the 12th overall pick in the first round of this year’s NFL draft. Whatever the team does with this selection will be important for new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Here are the Vikings worst draft picks in the past five years.

The Vikings find themselves having to hit a home run with their draft class this season. This year’s draft picks are a total of six and with only three in the top 100. The team has taken a whopping 64 picks in the past six drafts. Let’s take a look at the biggest draft busts of the past five seasons. The class of 2021 will not be included as one season of evaluation is not enough.

Vikings Worst Draft Picks

2016 Laquon Treadwell

The Former Ole Miss Rebel,Treadwell, was taken in 2016 with the 23rd overall pick. His career never took off. However, the emergence of pro bowl wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are undrafted and fifth-round selections respectively. Year one for Laquon included action in only nine games, starting one with an anemic one catch for fifteen yards. Yes, one catch for fifteen yards was all we got out of him in year one. In the next three seasons, he had 104 catches, 682 yards, and two touchdowns. To put those numbers into perspective Justin Jefferson alone this season has more than all those categories. To this day Treadwell’s Career totals aren’t more than Jefferson’s 2021 campaign. What if he played like a first-rounder? Or slightly below expectations? The Vikings’ offenses could have been top five.

2017 Pat Elflein

Elflein was the 70th pick in the 2017 draft out of Ohio State as a center. His college pedigree was very high and included a Remington as the best center of all college football. He was also a National Champion and Big Ten offensive lineman of the year. His first season was better than expected. Elflein helped create huge holes for Latavious Murray and Jerick McKinnon. He required shoulder surgery and ankle surgery at the end of the season.

Elflein never came back with the same players and struggled after missing the first three games. The struggle continued as he changed positions to left guard in 2019. Then right guard in 2020 with the coaching staff hoping to capture that lightning in the bottle once again. He ultimately was cut by mid-November signed with New York Jets and is now with the Carolina Panthers. The injuries may be the cause of the downfall but also the coaching staff. Changing a player’s position isn’t good especially as we know here in Minnesota.

2018 Mike Hughes

After the magical 2017 season, the Vikings franchise found itself at the very bottom of the first round selecting 30th. This pick was projected to be the best player available to pick an offensive line help for newly acquired Kirk Cousins.

The Vikings went for the best player available route taking cornerback Mike Hughes out of Central Florida. Hughes was seen as a top cornerback prospect his only questions were the size and off-the-field questions. His off-field issues came from his time as a North Carolina Tar Heel. He was suspended and charged with misdemeanor assault charges and he later transferred. Those questions never came to fruition as he stayed clean. In his first season, he flashed with a pick-six in week one against, then tore his ACL in week six.

He missed 10 games with the ACL and then suffered a neck injury in week 17 in 2019. The neck was reaggravated in 2020. He missed a total of 24 games in three seasons. The Vikings staff and Spielman saw enough and sent him to Kansas City for a sixth-round pick. At the time it was a shock because he was on his rookie contract. He played fairly well for the Chiefs in 2021 and earned a one-year deal with division rival Lions. Hughes showed flashes of good play but flashes were all the Vikings got. At the time the Vikings had a good cornerback room that had Rhodes, Waynes, Newman, and Alexander.

2019 Garrett Bradbury

The N.C State senior was taken in the first round by the Vikings at number 18. He was was the best center in the draft and the best in the handful of games. He earned instant starter status and was in the lap of Kirk Cousins rather than providing stability up the middle. Bradbury is 6’3 and is listed at 300 pounds which in the NFL is a lightweight. There is hope for the 26-year-old as new Head Coach Kevin O’Connell has spoken highly of him. The Vikings are yet to address the center position. Kevin O’Connell’s last center Brain Allen had an excellent past few seasons. He is also the same size as Bradbury and signed an extension with the Rams for $24 million. Bradbury will get one last chance. He still has a fifth-year option.

2020 Jeff Gladney

Cornerback Jeff Gladney out of T.C.U was a selection made to help fill the hole left by Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes, and Mackenzie Alexander. The Vikings round themselves needing a corner and took Gladney and he was the starter for them all in 2020. He is a feisty corner and is smaller but was grabby at times. Rookie cornerbacks tend to struggle in their first seasons and the Horned Frog was no exception.

During the off-season on April 5, Jeff Gladney turned himself into the police on a felony of assault. The charges were, allegedly, that he struck his girlfriend. Fast forward to March 10 in 2020 his phone not guilty and sign with the cardinal 6 days later. At the time the Vikings did the correct thing and set a high culture on their team. Past drafts have included major Misses on the Vikings’ Picks and a lot of those holes remain. Kwesi and company hope to change that and find foundation pieces in 2022.