Even if it wasn’t the Minnesota Vikings who used the pick, they definitely got the rewards of his play.
Players join the NFL in many ways. Sometimes they are selected in the NFL Draft, other times they are signed as free agents. However, one of the most uncommon ways to make a professional football roaster is through the Supplemental Draft.
For those unaware, the Supplemental Draft is held annually (except 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns) where players who weren’t eligible to be part of the NFL Draft have an opportunity for teams to bid future draft packs in a blind auction for their services.
In the history of the Supplemental Draft, 46 players have ever been selected. Of those, only one was selected by the Minnesota Vikings, wide receiver Ryan Bethea in 1988, who missed the NFL Draft due to a suspension from his NCAA team as a result of drug-related arrests.
However, it was 1987 when a team struck gold in the Supplemental Draft. That year found the Philadelphia Eagles landed future Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter with a fourth-round pick.
Carter only lasted three seasons with the Eagles before he was let go because of concerns of drug and alcohol abuse, but was able to clean up his act when he was claimed on waivers by the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 4, 1990.
After that, it’s all greatness. Carter would go on to set franchise records for the Vikings in receptions (1,004), receiving yards (12,383), receiving touchdowns (110), and most 100-yard receiving games (40).
Recently, Chris Trapasso at CBS Sports assembled a list of the greatest players ever to be selected in the Supplemental Draft and the choice was an obvious one. There was only one player ever to join the NFL in this manner and end up wearing a gold jacket in Canton, Ohio: Cris Carter.
There are seven other individuals taken in the Supplemental Draft who were named to the Pro Bowl, but none matched the greatness of Carter, who stands alone as the best player ever to join the NFL in this unlikely method.