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 Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports) Xavier Rhodes /

No. 5

2013 Draft Class

The first pre-Mike Zimmer draft class makes its appearance here with the 2013 class. While recent years have given Rick Spielman the label of obsessed with trading back and hoarding late-round picks, we often forget how often Spielman used to trade back up into the first round.

2013 brought the Vikings three first-round picks in Sharrif Floyd (their own pick), Xavier Rhodes (from Seattle for Percy Harvin), and Cordarrelle Patterson (traded up with New England).

Floyd falls under a similar umbrella as Mike Hughes, as he, unfortunately, did not get a fair shake due to injury. His career seemed to be off to a good start, including a great PFF grade of 84.2 in 2014. However, a botched knee surgery in 2016 resulted in Floyd no longer being able to play in the NFL.

Rhodes was very much worth his selection, garnering the “Rhodes Closed” nickname as a dominant shutdown corner. He earned three Pro Bowl selections while in Minnesota and was a first-team All-Pro cornerback in 2017. While his play fell off his final few seasons as a Viking, at his peak Rhodes was vital to Mike Zimmer’s defense.

Spielman desperately wanted his Percy Harvin replacement and targeted Patterson as the one, trading a haul to move up for him. Patterson may never have emerged as the top wide receiver the team hoped for, but he was a two-time first-team All-Pro kick returner in Minnesota.

A team would never draft a return specialist in the first round, but Patterson was always electric with the ball in his hands. It took him almost a decade in the league for a team to truly figure out how to use him, as 2021 brought an amazing breakout for Patterson in Atlanta.

Rarely will you ever see a player breakout in their ninth season in the league, but that is exactly what 2021 brought. Is it a knock on the Vikings for being able to figure out how to use Patterson as a hybrid RB/WR? Maybe?

Minnesota did not have another pick until the fourth round, so most of the contributions from this class came from the top three. The Vikings got a few years out of Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti at LB and Jeff Locke as a punter, but nothing else.