Minnesota Vikings greatest 7-round draft of all-time

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 10: Everson Griffen
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 10: Everson Griffen /
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Fran Tarkenton, QB

Drafted: 3rd round (1961)

Based on his career accomplishments, it’s pretty hard to believe that Tarkenton was not drafted until the third round of the 1961 NFL Draft. Of course, the third round in 1961 was basically the equivalent of the late-first or early-second today, but the quarterback still should have probably been selected much earlier.

Tarkenton was actually drafted by the AFL’s Boston Patriots in 1961 as well, but he opted to play for the Vikings instead. After his first game in which he threw for 250 yards and four touchdowns (and ran for another score) en route to a Minnesota win over the Chicago Bears, the Vikings knew they had drafted someone special.

The quarterback spent his first six years in the NFL with Minnesota before he was traded to the New York Giants in 1967. After five seasons with the Giants, the quarterback was traded back to the Vikings in 1972.

From 1972 to 1978, Tarkenton helped lead Minnesota to six division titles and three appearances in the Super Bowl. During that time period, the quarterback earned three trips to the Pro Bowl and was an All-Pro First-Team selection in 1975.

During his 18-year NFL career, Tarkenton was voted to the Pro Bowl nine times, he was the league MVP in 1975, and he lead the NFL in passing in 1978. His 3,674 career-rushing yards are also the sixth-most by a quarterback in league history.

Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986, the Vikings certainly got the most out of the franchise’s first ever third-round draft pick.