Minnesota Vikings better than average at drafting players

The Minnesota Vikings have the #23 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but they should get a better player than expected according to a recent draft value study.

Finding value in the NFL Draft can be difficult. Buying into the hype of lesser prospects or reaching for a player at a position of need happen all the time in the league, and the Minnesota Vikings are no exception when it comes to falling victim to that kind of thinking. However, when looking at the overall picture, the Vikings are a team that drafts players well.

According to a study on the Washington Post website powered by Pro Football Reference, over the past 20 drafts, the Minnesota Vikings have had an average draft position of #17 overall. When the numbers were crunched, the Vikings averaged obtaining a player with a value of being selected with approximately the #13 overall pick. This value of drafting puts the team as the #14 best drafting team over the last 20 years.

The numbers show that the Vikings best selection over the last 20 years was defensive tackle Kevin Williams in 2003 and the biggest bust during that time frame was Erasmus James in 2005.

Sep 28, 2013; London, UNITED KINGDOM; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams (93) at the NFL on Regent Street block party in advance of the NFL International Series game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Vikings. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 28, 2013; London, UNITED KINGDOM; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams (93) at the NFL on Regent Street block party in advance of the NFL International Series game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Vikings. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While every team experiences hits and misses the Vikings results seemed to vary wildly until recently, when it appears the drafting got more stable.

Much of this can be attributed to the change in the draft process. When Rick Spielman was promoted from vice president of player personnel to general manager in 2012, the Vikings have seen a significant improvement in their draft value. Before Spielman had final say, it was a group effort between Spielman, the coaches, and the scouts to determine a majority on who the Minnesota Vikings should select.

Sadly, none of this data means that the Minnesota Vikings will make a smart decision on their player selection during the 2016 NFL Draft. Still, it is reassuring to see that the franchise is in the top half of the NFL when it comes to finding value in the draft, and with the young, hungry team already in place under head coach Mike Zimmer, finding another piece of the championship puzzle could be just what the doctor ordered.