Vikings draft history at pick No. 23: The good, bad, and ugly

Former Minnesota Vikings WR Laquon Treadwell
Former Minnesota Vikings WR Laquon Treadwell / Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

This past March, the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans made a trade, and part of the transaction resulted in the Vikings getting Houston’s 23rd overall selection in this year's NFL Draft. So, for the 2024 draft at the end of the month, Minnesota now owns the 11th and 23rd spots in the opening round. 

A number of NFL analysts believe that Minnesota will bundle both first-round picks in a package to trade up even higher in the draft and take one of the highly coveted quarterbacks.

In the meantime, let's look back at the good, the bad, and the ugly of Minnesota’s history when they've had the No. 23 pick in the NFL Draft

Minnesota Vikings draft history at pick No. 23: The good, bad, and ugly

Good: Jordan Addison - WR (2023)

Before the 2023 NFL Draft, the Vikings had a decent group of wide receivers. Justin Jefferson had already established himself as one of the best pass-catchers in the league, and K.J. Osborn was a solid No. 2 receiver.

But then, Minnesota took Addison with the 23rd overall selection in last year's draft. Addison starred for the Pittsburgh Panthers and the USC Trojans in three seasons at the college level. While playing for Pitt in 2021, he was selected as the Biletnikoff Award winner and was also voted a Consensus All-American.

Addison more than proved worthy of the pick during his rookie year. In 2023, he was one of four high-profile targets for former Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, yet he still came away with 70 catches for 911 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those numbers earned the receiver a spot on the PFWA All-Rookie Team.

Now that Cousins has signed with the Atlanta Falcons and Osborn has joined the New England Patriots, it will be interesting to see what Addison can do in 2024.

Good: Christian Darrisaw - OT (2021)

Darrisaw played three seasons at Virginia Tech and was named First-Team All-ACC in his final year at the school. Minnesota needed a good left tackle to protect Cousins’ blind side, so they selected Darrisaw with the 23rd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Right out of the gate, the young offensive lineman missed the first four games of his rookie year with a nagging groin injury. He then started 10 of 12 games.

In 2022, Darrisaw stayed healthy enough to start 14 times and play 853 snaps, and then this past season, he started 15 games and was on the field for 982 snaps, the most in his career so far.

Bad: Lance Rentzel - WR (1965)

Rentzel himself wasn’t a “bad” choice at pick No. 23. He’s included in this section because the Vikings made a bad decision by trading him too soon.

As a running back for the Oklahoma Sooners, Rentzel was a dynamic athlete with speed, elusiveness, and great hands. His 759 all-purpose yards in 1964 led to a second-team All-Big Eight pick.

Both Minnesota and the Buffalo Bills of the AFL drafted Rentzel in 1965, and he chose to become a Viking. Unfortunately, injuries kept him mostly on the bench in 1965 and 1966, and Rentzel’s primary contributions were on special teams.

His most memorable moment as a Viking came in his rookie year when he took a kickoff 101 yards to the house. That remained a team record until 2007.

Before the 1967 season, Minnesota traded him to the Dallas Cowboys, who converted Rentzel into a receiver. With “Dandy” Don Meredith and Craig Morton throwing him the ball, the receiver caught 58 passes for eight touchdowns that year.

In the 10th game of the 1967 season, Rentzel set a Cowboys single-game record with 13 catches. The record remained until 2007. In the 1967 NFL Championship game (also dubbed the Ice Bowl) Rentzel caught a 50-yard touchdown from running back Dan Reeves. 

After racking up over 1,000 yards receiving in 1968, Rentzel co-led the NFL with 12 receiving touchdowns in 1969. He also led the league with 22.3 yards per reception and was considered one of the best receivers in football.

Between 1967 and 1969, Rentzel led Dallas in receptions and also led the team in receiving yards in 1968 and 1969.

In 1970, a very public off-the-field scandal limited the receiver to 11 games and 28 catches as Rentzel spent part of the season dealing with legal issues and a divorce. The following year, Dallas traded him to the Los Angeles Rams, where he spent the next three years before retiring.

So, after leaving the Vikings, Rentzel had totals of 266 receptions for 4,816 yards and 38 touchdowns. 

Bad: Shariff Floyd - DT (2013)

In the 2013 NFL Draft, the Vikings wanted to add more teeth to the defensive line. The team already had Jared Allen causing havoc at the edge position. But the desire to get Allen more help rushing the passer propelled Minnesota to take the University of Florida’s Floyd.

While playing for the Gators, Floyd started at defensive end and defensive tackle. During his junior year in 2012, Floyd had a team-leading 8.5 tackles for a loss and was voted first-team All-SEC and first-team All-American. He then skipped his senior year to enter the draft.

Floyd started one game as a rookie with the Vikings before starting 11 in 2014 and 12 in 2015. He had 9.5 sacks during his first three seasons in Minnesota. 

Just when it looked like Floyd was going to be a productive pro, he missed nearly all of the 2016 season with a knee injury. The following spring, it was revealed that Floyd had extensive nerve damage in his leg, and he was forced to retire.

Floyd had 95 tackles and 9.5 sacks during his time in the NFL. There was nothing he could do about his injury, but Floyd's short career was unexpected to say the least. 

Ugly: Laquon Treadwell - WR (2016)

Midway through Treadwell’s sophomore season at Ole Miss, he made national news. After catching a short pass against Auburn, the receiver was about to reach the end zone before getting tackled awkwardly at the one-yard line. The result was a dislocated ankle and broken tibia.

Treadwell returned in time for his junior year in 2015 and finished the season with 82 receptions and 11 touchdowns. He then decided to skip his senior year to enter the NFL Draft.

When he participated in the pre-draft process, Treadwell ran the 40-yard dash in over 4.6 seconds, which is considered slow for a top NFL receiver.

That didn't matter to Minnesota who took Treadwell with the 23rd pick in the 2016 draft. He rewarded the Vikings by catching 21 passes in his first two years. Treadwell reached a career-high in 2018 with 35 receptions along with one touchdown.

In 2019, the receiver regressed to nine catches and a touchdown. Minnesota let Treadwell walk in 2020. Since then, he has bounced around the league and was with the Baltimore Ravens last season.

During his four seasons with the Vikings, Treadwell had 16 starts, 65 receptions, 701 yards and only two touchdowns.

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