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 Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) Danielle Hunter /

No. 1

2015 Draft Class

There was never any debate about what class was going to rank No. 1 here. The Vikings’ 2015 draft class is an all-time class, one of the best in the NFL in recent memory.

At pick No. 11 came Trae Waynes, a solid but unspectacular cornerback during his time in Minnesota. He was never a lockdown defender, but he never had to be with Xavier Rhodes opposite from him.

Waynes left Minnesota after the 2019 season to a solid payday with Cincinnati. In his five seasons in purple, he never had a PFF grade lower than 63.4 or higher than 69.1, which would be a welcome sign to the Vikings’ secondary these past two seasons.

After Waynes came the real prizes, starting with Eric Kendricks in round two. Kendricks has developed into one of the most important players in Minnesota and one of the best linebackers in football, earning first-team All-Pro in 2019.

Then came Danielle Hunter in round three, drafted due to being a physical specimen despite a lack of production in college. He rewarded Spielman and Minnesota by developing into one of the best edge rushers in the league.

This draft was not over, as the fifth round brought the Vikings Stefon Diggs. Diggs jumped onto the main stage as a rookie and quickly was regarded as one of the best route runners in the NFL.

He got rightfully upset when Minnesota’s offense did not feature him as much as it should have, and has been one of the best receivers in football in Buffalo the last two years. He will always be a legend in purple after the Minneapolis Miracle, though.

MyCole Pruitt has even been a decent tight end, although most of it has come with Tennessee. This draft class could have been even more impressive without the selection of tackle T.J. Clemmings in round four. Clemmings was forced into action in years one and two and was the dictionary definition of a liability.

Drafting three separate players who can each be discussed among the top players at their position is unheard of in NFL Draft classes, especially when none of them were first-round picks.

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This draft is the biggest reason the 2017 season went the way it did, with each of these main contributors on their rookie contracts. You can also see why the Vikings have fallen off recently, without having any drafts coming close to the magical one that 2015 was.