6 biggest Vikings draft steals during the Mike Zimmer era

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Stefon Diggs
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Stefon Diggs /
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Minnesota Vikings
Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /

4. Dalvin Cook – RB

Drafted: Second Round (2017)

With no first-round pick in 2017 after making a trade in 2016 with the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire quarterback Sam Bradford, the Vikings were still hopeful that they could add someone from the second round who could make a significant impact.

With their selection of Dalvin Cook, that’s certainly what they got. Cook’s rookie season got off to a blazing fast start before an unfortunate knee injury cut it short. After dealing with some additional injuries in his second year with Minnesota, the talented running back has emerged as one of the best rushers in the NFL during the last two seasons.

Since 2019, Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans is the only running back in the league to score more touchdowns than Cook and he is the first Vikings rusher not named Adrian Peterson to accumulate at least 1,600 yards from scrimmage in back-to-back seasons since Chuck Foreman did it in 1976.

3. Eric Kendricks – LB

Drafted: Second Round (2015)

Plenty of teams around the NFL have been able to get talent in the second round of the draft over the years. But most don’t expect there to be any All-Pro-caliber players left to pick once the first round of the draft is completed.

When the Vikings decided to use their 2015 second-round selection on former UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks, they were likely hoping that he would just turn out to be someone who could be a starter for multiple seasons. Instead, Kendricks has developed into one of the best linebackers to ever play in a Minnesota uniform. 

The talented Vikings linebacker has led the team in tackles in five of his six years with the franchise and in 2019, he was rewarded for his excellence on the field with a First-Team All-Pro selection.