Graphic exposes how Vikings have severely ignored a vital position in the NFL Draft

Former Minnesota Vikings DE Erasmus James
Former Minnesota Vikings DE Erasmus James / Al Messerschmidt/GettyImages

When former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Erasmus James is ever brought up, he's typically not discussed in a positive light. But that's essentially because James only lasted three seasons with the Vikings despite being selected by the team with the No. 18 pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Apparently, Minnesota was badly scarred by the selection of James in 2005, as he's still the most recent defensive end the franchise has spent a first or second-round pick on, which was recently brought to light with a graphic shared by FantasyPros' Data Scientist Sam Hoppen on Twitter.

Minnesota Vikings likely to extend streak of passing on early-round defensive ends in this year's NFL Draft

It's pretty crazy to think that it's been almost two decades since the Vikings last drafted a defensive end prospect with a first or second-round selection.

Minnesota has still been able to land some very talented defensive ends in the NFL Draft in the recent past, including Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, and Ray Edwards, but they were all added to the team with a third-round draft pick or later.

Despite the success of some of these defensive ends who were drafted in the third round or later, it's no surprise that three of the players who rank among the top five in career sacks in Vikings history were all drafted by the team with a first-round selection (Carl Eller, Alan Page, and Chris Doleman).

Not using a first or second-round draft pick on a defensive end since 2005 doesn't seem like something Minnesota has gone out of their way to accomplish. Maybe they have, but sometimes, it's just how things tend to work out.

This streak likely won't end for the Vikings during this year's NFL Draft, though. Minnesota is already without a second-round selection, and many expect them to use their two first-round picks to trade up in the opening round and land one of the top quarterback prospects.

If Minnesota is unable to find a trade partner to move up in the first round, then perhaps they could use one of their two opening-round selections on a new edge rusher. But the chances of that happening currently seem to be pretty low.

Behind defensive end, the next four position groups with the longest droughts without the Vikings using a first or second-round pick on them are defensive tackle (2013), quarterback (2014), linebacker (2015), and running back (2017).

The quarterback drought will likely be coming to an end for Minnesota in a few weeks, but it's probably going to be at least one more year until we see the team use a selection in the first or second round of the draft on a defensive end prospect.

More Vikings News and Analysis