Which Minnesota Vikings players had the best seasons in franchise history?
The Minnesota Vikings have been rather fortuitous in selecting offensive skill position players in the last four-plus decades. Six offensive players in the team’s 59-year existence have been given Pro Bowl nods in their rookie seasons. Contrarily, no Vikings rookie player on the defensive side of the ball has been awarded the honor.
Needless to say, Pro Bowls are not the supreme litmus test for greatness, but they do look impressive on a resumé. In 1985, Vikings wideout Anthony Carter blossomed for 821 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Recently-departed Stefon Diggs also had an impressive debut season in 2015 with 720 receiving yards. And then six years ago, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater excited Vikings faithful with a nifty debut.
Like most teams, Minnesota has selected some players that floundered in their maiden seasons; most never went on to thrive in the league. Some of these picks include wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, quarterback Christian Ponder, cornerback Chris Cook, wideout Troy Williamson, and to a degree, offensive lineman Marcus Johnson, among others. Outside of these exceptions, the first two rounds of the NFL draft have gone rather favorably for the Vikings in the last 15 years.
And then there are the best of the best. To get to a top-five, the pool of candidates was plentiful and heavy on the offense side of things. These are the top five rookie Vikings seasons, ranked from good to great.
It should also be noted–nearly all of the famed Purple People Eaters of the late-1960s and 1970s took time to mature and develop. Decades ago, defensive players seldom set the world on fire during their rookie seasons.