NFL first-round draft picks don’t always pan out as hoped. When it comes to the Minnesota Vikings, who are their biggest first-round busts from each of the last seven decades?
As much as Minnesota Vikings personnel members scout, watch film, and interview pro hopefuls, first-round picks don’t always work out.
Whether it’s injuries, inability to perform against elite competition, poor attitude, or lack of playbook knowledge, each year sees a former “can’t miss” prospect who gets cut from the team that drafted him.
The Vikings have had their fair share of first-round busts, and this is a look at the biggest first-round draft busts during each decade of the franchise’s existence.
Biggest Vikings Draft Bust from the 1960s:
Jerry Shay - DT (1966)
The Vikings had some great first-round selections as the franchise was built from scratch in the 1960s. There was Tommy Mason (1961), Carl Eller (1964), Gene Washington and Alan Page (1967), and Ron Yary (1968). Those players helped establish the core of the team that appeared in Super Bowl IV and maintained dominance through the 1970s.
One pick that didn’t work out was Shay. Taken with the sixth overall selection of the 1966 draft, Shay was an All-American from Purdue University. The defensive tackle was not only drafted by Minnesota but the Denver Broncos in the first round of the AFL Draft.
He would play in Minnesota for just two years after receiving three combined starts. After the 1967 season, Shay played two years in Atlanta followed by two with the New York Giants. He retired from the NFL after the 1971 season.