20 star players the Vikings could have drafted in the last 5 years

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Lamar Jackson
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Lamar Jackson /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Mike Hughes /

2018: Mike Hughes, CB – pick 30 overall

When healthy, Mike Hughes showed potential as an NFL cornerback but multiple injuries kept him from being able to stay on the field. Eventually, he was traded away from the Vikings for a seventh-round pick to the Chiefs where he rebounded a little.

At the time, cornerback wasn’t the obvious need in the first round like during some other drafts but the coaching staff saw something in Hughes that intrigued them enough to select the hard-nosed defender. They could have drafted these players instead…

Lamar Jackson, QB (pick 32 overall)

Finding a franchise quarterback has been tough for the Minnesota Vikings. After missing on Christian Ponder, the Vikings turned to trades and big-money free agents to fill the gap. Heisman winner Lamar Jackson has been a true dual-threat with the Ravens and was the league MVP in 2019. He would have been an interesting fit in Minnesota’s purple and gold.

Nick Chubb, RB (pick 35 overall)

Imagine an NFL backfield with the 1-2 punch of Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb. That would have been an absolute dream scenario for Mike Zimmer, who loved running the ball and controlling the clock. He has been to the Pro Bowl three times and was All-Pro First Team in 2021.

Darius Leonard, LB (pick 36 overall)

Most “star” players in the NFL are the offensive players who put the ball in the end zone, but Darius Leonard has been a game-changer for the Colts. He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2018, led the league in tackles once, led the league in forced fumbles once, and has been All-Pro First Team three times. He makes an impact in every game in which he plays.

Mark Andrews, TE (pick 86 overall)

The Ravens had an excellent draft in 2018 by landing both Lamar Jackson and superstar tight end Mark Andrews. Andrews has been named to the Pro Bowl twice and got an All-Pro First Team nod in 2021. Considering the Vikings’ struggle to find consistency at tight end, this pick would have really been gold for Minnesota.

Orlando Brown Jr., OL (pick 83 overall)

It would feel wrong to put together a list of star players the Vikings missed out on without including at least one offensive lineman. Although Orlando Brown Jr. isn’t a household name, he is a star offensive tackle who has been to the Pro Bowl three times. On a side note, the Ravens absolutely killed this draft!