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 Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /

No. 8

2017 Draft Class

The biggest thing that sets the 2017 class apart from the previous two is the Vikings got themselves a star in Dalvin Cook. Without a first-round pick due to trading for Sam Bradford, Minnesota selected Cook with their second-round pick.

Cook has been one of the best running backs in the NFL when healthy over his first five seasons. “When healthy” is a big qualifier there, however. Cook has missed at least two games in every season of his career thus far.

The value of taking a running back at pick No. 41 can be debated, but it’s better than taking one even earlier. The rest of this draft class is why the 2017 class ranks so low.

Pat Elflein had a solid rookie campaign at center, only to see his play drop off and result in him not even seeing the end of his rookie contract in Minnesota.

Jaleel Johnson was the Vikings’ first pick in the fourth round, and he saw his PFF grades continuously decrease as his snaps increased during his career at defensive tackle.

Ben Gedeon was a solid third linebacker for a while, and Ifeadi Odenigbo has made himself a solid career as a seventh-round pick. Outside of those two, though, Spielman and Minnesota got absolutely nothing out of the rest of the class.

The Vikings went running back, center, defensive tackle, and linebacker with their first four selections in 2017, once again throwing dirt in the face of positional value. See a common theme here? It’s one thing to prioritize positions that don’t bring high value to the team. It is another thing to whiff on the majority of those picks altogether.

2017 will always be synonymous with miraculous for Vikings fans. A 13-3 record and a run to the NFC Championship game is the last time Minnesota felt true joy outside of one weekend in New Orleans a few years later. One cannot help but imagine if the 2017 class had given the team a stronger contribution if that could have been enough to push the team over the top.