6 first-round mistakes that continue to haunt the Vikings

Former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell
Former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell / Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
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Over the past several years, the Minnesota Vikings have made some questionable decisions in the first round of the NFL Draft that continue to haunt them.

The Minnesota Vikings have been a relatively consistent organization over the past decade. While they have not made it to the Super Bowl in that span, they have also not had any downright horrendous seasons that landed them at the top of the draft.

Despite the consistency, they have still found plenty of ways to break our hearts recently. If they could have drafted just a little bit better, the Vikings could possibly be among the NFL's elite heading into the 2024 season.

Whether they found themselves reaching for needs or selecting a player that simply did not pan out, the Vikings were so close to crafting an incredible roster over the past few years.

Before I harp on some of the misses in recent memory, it's only fair to mention the massive hits in the draft for the Vikings. Justin Jefferson has been arguably the best receiver in the NFL since he entered the league in 2020. Jordan Addison (2023) and Christian Darrisaw (2021) both look like absolute studs already.

The draft is never going to be a perfect process for any franchise across the league. In fact, it is relatively easy to find a bust for every team in the first round over the past 5-10 years. But what if the Vikings had a bit more luck and hit on their draft picks?

First-Round Mistake No. 1

The Vikings passed on Lamar Jackson in 2018

Just a little over a month after signing Kirk Cousins, the Vikings had the opportunity to take Lamar Jackson at the end of the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. I completely understand why they signed Cousins and locked in a quarterback early in the offseason, but Jackson is a much better player.

Jackson was selected with the 32nd pick by the Ravens, just a few picks after the Vikings selected Mike Hughes. Hughes had some moments with Minnesota but was not the player they expected him to be.

Meanwhile, Jackson has now won two MVPs and consistently has the Ravens near the top of the AFC. Having a dynamic player like Jackson leading the offense would do wonders for a team with as many playmakers as the Vikings have.

For the most part, Cousins has been a good quarterback but has not been able to get over the hump in the playoffs. It's hard to imagine Jackson would not be the best quarterback in the NFC right now and would give the Vikings a serious advantage in the playoffs.

It is not unfair to wonder what the Vikings would have looked like with Jackson leading the offense with a prime Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs or Justin Jefferson. With how poorly the Vikings have run the ball the past couple of years, having his legs would also be a massive benefit.