No. 4 – Orlando Thomas, Free Safety (1995)
Thomas was a second-round pick in the 1995 NFL Draft from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He was an instant starter and replaced free safety Vencie Glenn who had departed for the New York Giants. Fun fact: Orlando Thomas was the net result of a 1993 trade with the Denver Broncos who acquired left tackle Gary Zimmerman from Minnesota. On the Vikings end of the transaction, the team ultimately received cornerback Dewayne Washington and tight end Andrew Jordan as well.
Orlando Thomas‘ first year in the league was outstanding. In his rookie season alone, Thomas grabbed 41 percent of his career interceptions. This is not to imply he was bad following 1995, but he did snatch more interceptions in his first year than any other year of his career. These nine interceptions even led all NFL players in 1995. Thomas also added two touchdowns (second among defenders in the league) and recovered four fumbles.
Thomas would be a Minnesota Vikings lifer and retired from the team and league in 2001 after seven seasons.
Sadly, he died in 2014 of complications stemming from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.