7. Shamar Stephen – DT
Seventh Round, 2014
Pretty rare that a seventh-round pick comes in and starts as a rookie. But that is exactly what the big man from UConn did in 2014 with the Vikings.
Stephen played in all 16 games as a rookie, which included him getting the chance to start in three of them. In a total of four seasons with Minnesota, Stephen started in 20 games, adding solid depth at defensive tackle.
While he was never really a game-changing defensive linemen, he held his own and made some plays as a member of a pretty talented Vikings defensive line. But with guys like Linval Joseph and Tom Johnson ahead of him on the depth chart, Stephen saw his role in Minnesota take a hit.
After 2017, he became a free-agent and looking for a bigger role he was quickly signed by the Seattle Seahawks where he started 14 games and a career-high two sacks this past season.
6. Jerick McKinnon – RB
Third Round, 2014
Jerick “Jet” McKinnon came to the Vikings in round three of the 2014 NFL Draft courtesy of the Percy Harvin trade. McKinnon was brought in to be Adrian Peterson’s sidekick. He was a speedy guy that could be a change of pace back and also catch some balls out of the backfield.
McKinnon was another guy that was a late riser in the draft world as he had a great combine that caught the eye of Minnesota’s coaching staff. The Georgia Southern product didn’t disappoint. In only his rookie season, he led the Vikings running backs with a 4.8 yards per carry average.
He showed so much promise as a lead back that when it came time for him to be a free-agent last offseason, the Vikings just couldn’t afford him. Not only that, but McKinnon wanted a shot to be a true lead back for a team and that is exactly what the San Francisco 49ers offered him.
Unfortunately, he tore his ACL before the 2018 season even began. But something tells me “Jet” will come back next season stronger than ever.