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Ranking the Vikings' 1st-round picks since the Herschel Walker trade

Randy Moss or Adrian Peterson at No. 1? Troy Williamson dead last? You tell us.
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In 1988, the Vikings took future Hall of Fame guard Randall McDaniel with the 19th pick in the NFL Draft.

A year later the Herschel Walker trade happened, wiping out Minnesota's first-round picks for the next four years. Since then, the Vikings have taken 30 players in the first round. So we (and by "we" I mean "I, Joe Nelson") decided to rank them all, 1 through 30. Here's my list:

  1. Randy Moss, WR, 1998
  2. Adrian Peterson, RB, 2007
  3. Kevin Williams, DT, 2003
  4. Harrison Smith, S, 2012
  5. Daunte Culpepper, QB, 1999
  6. Chad Greenway, LB, 2006
  7. Bryant McKinnie, LT, 2002
  8. Korey Stringer, RT, 1995
  9. Robert Smith, RB, 1993
  10. Xavier Rhodes, CB, 2013
  11. Percy Harvin, WR, 2009
  12. Todd Steussie, LT, 1994
  13. Anthony Barr, LB, 2015
  14. Dewayne Washington, CB, 1994
  15. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, 2015
  16. Duane Clemens, DE, 1995
  17. Chris Hovan, DT, 2000
  18. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR/KR, 2013
  19. Trae Waynes, CB, 2015
  20. Dwayne Rudd, LB, 1997
  21. Michael Bennett, RB, 2001
  22. Matt Kalil, LT, 2012
  23. Sharrif Floyd, DT, 2013
  24. Laquon Treadwell, WR, 2016
  25. Kenechi Udeze, DE, 2004
  26. Christian Ponder, QB, 2011
  27. Derrick Alexander, DE, 1995
  28. Erasmus James, DE, 2005
  29. Dimitrius Underwood, DE, 1999
  30. Troy Williamson, WR, 2005

Explaining the rankings

Players are ranked by how much value they brought to the Vikings, regardless of how long they played. Basically, two years of solid quarterback play from Bridgewater was more valuable than the 19.5 sacks Clemons gave the Vikings in four years.

Moss ahead of Peterson? That's more like 1a and 1b. They're clearly the two best first-round picks since the Walker trade.

Had Stringer's career not been cut short by his death, he likely would've been as good if not better than McKinnie, who we ranked seventh overall because he started every game for the Vikings at left tackle from 2003-2010. Yes he was accused of hitting a bouncer with a pole (though he pleaded not guilty), and he was a key player on the Love Boat, but he was a pretty good left tackle on the field.

Guys like Rhodes, Barr, Waynes, Treadwell and Bridgewater still have plenty of time to track up the list (or down) as their careers advance.

Floyd actually looks like a worse pick now than he did when the Vikings took him 23rd overall in 2013. He was considered a top-five talent but slid because of injury concerns. Now his career appears to be in jeopardy because of injuries.

Udeze could've blossomed into something special but leukemia ended his career. He's currently the defensive line coach at USC.

Christian Ponder is not dead last on the list. He sucked, but it's not like he sucked as much as Alexander, James, Underwood and Williamson.

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