Remembering when a top QB stiff-armed the Vikings in the 1985 NFL Draft

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) Bernie Kosar
(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) Bernie Kosar /

In 1985, Bernie Kosar used a loophole to avoid the Minnesota Vikings in the 1985 NFL Draft and land with the Cleveland Browns.

Before he ultimately wound up with the Cleveland Browns, former Miami quarterback Bernie Kosar was believed to be the target of the Minnesota Vikings when they made a trade with the Houston Oilers a few weeks before the 1985 NFL Draft to acquire the No. 2 overall pick.

The Vikings were coming off an embarrassing 3-13 season in 1984 and they felt that Kosar could help their team get back on track.

There was just one problem. Kosar had absolutely zero desire to play for Minnesota and he did everything he could to make sure he didn’t end up in the Twin Cities.

How Bernie Kosar spurned the Minnesota Vikings in the 1985 NFL Draft and landed with the Cleveland Browns

Kosar spent his college career in Miami, Florida, but he was a native of Ohio. So in the NFL, he wanted to play for his hometown Browns.

Aware of the Vikings’ interest in him, Kosar decided to not fill out the necessary paperwork in order to become eligible for the 1985 NFL Draft. Instead, his plan to avoid Minnesota was to enter the NFL Supplemental Draft.

Cleveland found a way to acquire the No. 1 pick in the Supplemental Draft by trading with the Buffalo Bills, and a few months later in July, they used the selection to choose Kosar.

So Minnesota didn’t end up getting the quarterback they had their heart set on, but as a consolation prize, they did wind up with future Hall-of-Fame pass rusher Chris Doleman in the first round of the 1985 NFL Draft.

Kosar went on to spend nine seasons with the Browns where he posted a 56-55-1 record as a starter (including 3-4 in the playoffs), completed less than 60 percent of his passes, posted a passer rating of 81.9, and earned one Pro Bowl selection.

Who knows how differently his career would have been with the Vikings, but luckily, it’s not like Minnesota lost out on the opportunity to draft one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

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