Nov 11, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings helmet sits on the bench against the Detroit Lions at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Lions 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
In the first of our series of Minnesota Vikings draft second-guessings, we rewound back to 1961 and used our god-like powers to give the Vikings Mike Ditka.
Continuing now with the decade made famous by Mad Men, we proceed to 1962.
It was the year of Lawrence of Arabia. “Stranger on the Shore” by Acker Bilk was the #1 song of the year. The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson debuted on the airwaves.
The Vikings were entering their second season as a franchise. To speed up the process of stocking the roster, the Vikes traded both their first and their second round picks for established players, including future All Pro defensive end Jim Marshall, who came over from Cleveland as part of a blockbuster deal that sent two picks to the Browns for six players.
They just don’t make NFL trades like they used to.
After all the wheeling and dealing, the Vikings’ highest pick was their third rounder, the 30th selection overall.
Who they picked…
The Vikings used their 30th overall selection to beef up their offense, selecting wide receiver Bill Miller out of Miami. In those days, players were also eligible for the AFL draft and had the choice afterward of signing with either league.
In this case, Miller would elect to sign with the AFL’s Dallas Texans over the Vikes. He would play six years in the AFL with Dallas, Buffalo and finally Oakland, amassing a career mark of 141 receptions, 1871 yards and 10 TDs.
Who they should have picked…
The Vikings made out like bandits in 1962, grabbing Jim Marshall in the trade with Cleveland, and also picking up future offensive line stalwart Mick Tingelhoff as an undrafted player.
Their haul could have been really amazing had they spent their 30th overall selection not on Bill Miller, who did not even sign with them, but on a guy who ended up being taken by the Packers with the 238th overall pick, future Hall of Fame defensive tackle Buck Buchanan.
Of course, as all hardcore Chiefs fans know, Buck Buchanan himself ended up never signing with the NFL team that drafted him, electing instead to go to the AFL team in Kansas City.
Buchanan would spend 13 years with Kansas City, making six AFL All-Star teams in that span, two Pro Bowls and 1 NFL All-Pro Team (after the NFL/AFL merger). He would also win a Super Bowl title with Kansas City, defeating Bud Grant and the Vikings in Super Bowl V.
It’s highly likely that Buchanan would never have signed with the Vikings anyway, since in those days black players from smaller colleges – Buchanan went to Grambling – preferred to sign with the AFL which was seen as a more progressive league.
The Purple People Eaters with Buchanan would have been off the charts.