Donald Penn – OT (2006)
This is one that maybe many Vikings fans don’t remember or don’t want to. The truth is Donald Penn was a member of Minnesota’s roster back in 2006.
The Vikings signed him after the draft that year and brought him to training camp. Instead of keeping this mammoth of a man though, they hung onto guys like Artis Hicks and Marcus Johnson. That turned out to be a major mistake.
Penn was quickly snatched up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and during the 2007 season, he started 12 games for them. He continued to start at left tackle for the Bucs during the next six years, becoming one of the better left tackles in the NFL.
After his stint with Tampa, Penn signed with the Oakland Raiders in 2014 and he went on to start 66 games for them.
He’s still going strong and he started 15 games for Washington last season. In his career, Penn has a total of 189 starts. The two players Minnesota kept instead of him in 2006 went on to have a combined 88 starts.
If the Vikings would’ve stuck with Penn, they would have had their left tackle spot secured for over a decade. Instead, they dealt with the Matt Kalil debacle and had to spend major bucks on Riley Reiff, whose play is currently starting to fade. There’s no doubt this is one of the players Minnesota regrets releasing the most from the recent past.