Ranking all 10 Vikings draft classes during the Rick Spielman era

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Trae Waynes /

Now that the Minnesota Vikings have moved on to Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at GM, let’s take a look at how Rick Spielman’s draft classes stacked up against each other.

In January, the Minnesota Vikings officially announced Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as their next general manager. It marked the beginning of an entirely new era in Minnesota, as Adofo-Mensah will look to bring in his own Head Coach to replace Mike Zimmer.

Adofo-Mensah supplants Rick Spielman, who was the GM for the Vikings since 2012 and had been in Minnesota since 2006.

Spielman made many big moves during his time steering the way for the Vikings, whether that be in free agency, most notably the signing of Kirk Cousins in 2018, via trade, or the draft. While his moves in free agency and trades garner much attention, the latter is truly the reason Spielman finds himself without a job.

Rick Spielman earned himself the nicknames “Slick Rick” and “Trader Rick” over the years largely due to his knack for making deals during the draft. He had a seemingly fond affection for accumulating late-round draft picks and often traded back to gain more. His time in Minnesota watched the Vikings make the most draft-day trades in the NFL.

The constant wheeling and dealing of picks did not always result in a net positive for Minnesota, though. In fact, Spielman’s lack of success in his last few draft classes plays a large part in why he was fired. When your team has a quarterback with a contract taking up a large chunk of the team’s cap, hitting on rookies helps immensely when filling in roster depth.

Over his 10 seasons as GM, Rick Spielman still had a handful of solid draft classes as well. I went through and ranked his 10 draft classes from worst to best. I tried to weigh mostly how productive and impactful each player was only during their time in Minnesota, as some Vikings picks went on to fare better with other teams.