7 Days of Draftsmas: Rehashing 2003


The most memorable moment in recent Vikings draft history, outside of Adrian Peterson‘s selection a couple of years ago, was undoubtedly the infamous 2003 skipped pick episode.  Everyone still gives the Vikings grief over that gaffe, which saw the team failing to use its #7 pick in timely fashion, allowing two teams to pick ahead of them before they themselves selected Kevin Williams.

All these years later, there is still debate over what actually happened:  some believe the Vikings skipped the pick deliberately so they could take Williams at a lower spot without having to trade down, while others think Mike Tice and his staff were merely incompetent.  Evidently, this confusion extends even to the people involved, people like Tice and former owner Red McCombs who are still battling with each other over who deserves blame/credit for the episode.

McCombs, as quoted in a recent Pioneer-Press article, says it was all the fault of Tice and his staff.  “That was because Mike and the guys didn’t have their damn signals straight,” McCombs blasted. “That was like junior high school handling of a situation. We didn’t go up and get our draft pick in. That showed lack of organization.

“Was it the guy up there (in New York) that was supposed to turn it in? Was it us in the draft room? I got very upset about that because we didn’t get it done. As it turned out, the end result was we didn’t get hurt, but we could have.”

Tice, never one to back down from a confrontation, shot back at McCombs via email, saying, “My only response to that is coaches game plan and TEACH and personnel people evaluate and DRAFT. How could the coaching staff have anything to do with the draft pick being turned in late? It was more a product of the persons that are making the final decisions and turning the pick in to N.Y.”

At the center of the confusion is a dispute over the role of McCombs Enterprises employee Gary Woods in the whole debacle.  Tice says Woods ordered the Vikings to trade out of the #7 spot, but McCombs said Woods never had any such role in the process.  Tice claims that whoever gave the order to make the trade gave it too late, leading to a mad scramble and, ultimately, a tardy pick.

And as to the urban myth about the Vikings missing the pick on purpose, McCombs says, “That’s all bulls**t.  That never happened. That was strictly ineptness in the draft room, who was supposed to do what.”

Seems to me there was a whole problem with the chain of communication from McCombs on down.  Thankfully, McCombs elected to sell the team, paving the way for Zygi Wilf to put in place a much more efficient and professional operation.  Now we don’t miss picks…but we do occasionally draft offensive linemen several rounds too soon.

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Tags: Adrian Peterson Kevin Williams Mike Tice Minnesota Vikings Red Mccombs Zygi Wilf

  • Mike

    Let us rehash the success when the Vikings have drafted offensive lineman in round 1:  Tackles Ron Yary in 1968, John Ward in 1970, Steve Riley in 1974, Todd Steussie in 1994, Korey Stringer in 1995 and Bryant McKinnie in 2002.  Then there is Guard Randall McDaniel in 1988.  Now compare that to our recent round 2 failures: Marcus Johnson and Ryan Cook.  The Vikings need a first round pick at right tackle this year.

  • All Day 28

    Mike is always beating that 2nd round lineman drum on every thread. Mike lets maybe take a look at how Cook was chilly’s first year of the draft, not to mention he also drafted Tjoke in that draft as well. Let me bring up my old saying about how the Patriots and Colts always seem to find Olineman in the later rounds that turn into gems. Dont base your assesment on 2nd round Olineman drafted solely on the fact that Johnson and Cook have been bust’s for our organization. Just cause they didnt pan out doesnt mean that a talented NFL Olineman could be sitting there in round 2 or possibly round 3. I am glad that you are finally accepting Percy Harvin if in fact he is there and we draft him. Im just typing away wasting time. Very excited that the draft is finally almost here. Got tons of Wings and Fries and Alcohol if any of my fellow Vikings fans wants to head to my house outisde of Houston and join me for the draft. No matter what we choose hopefully they can contribute right away.

  • Mike

    All Day, it is true that some teams have had luck finding hidden gems for the offensive line in round 2.   But not the Vikings and now is not the time to risk the season on pot head Harvin AND a round 2 guess at RT. 

  • All Day 28

    The draft is a crap shot and we all know that, like i said whoever we draft in round 1 and 2 hopefully can come in and contribute right away. I dont care if its RT round 1 and WR in round 2 or whatever they decide to do, im just hoping for whoever we draft to atleast be able to compete and be sucessful. Im very high on Percy Harvin, just because of his pure game breaking skills, and we desperatly need another weapon to help from them stacking the box. But we also need a line that will allow whoever our QB is the time to make a throw. I know some fans were upset with giving up the picks last year for Jared Allen and because of his alcohol problems, but i was very excited getting him and all that he brought to the table. Im sure after his first season he has ceased any doubts that he can be a force for years to come. I’d love to see them go get Boldin if all Zona wants is a 2nd round choice. Im sure it would prolly be a 2nd and 5 or 6 but he is proven and is a big bodied WR, Come on draft get here