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History Of The Vikings First Round Picks

by Dan Gunderson

Hey! Guess what! The Vikings have the eighth pick in the first round of the NFL Draft this year! That's awesome! They are going to pick (insert name here) and win the Super Bowl in 2015, '16 and '17! I mean, look how well they've done the last two seasons with first rounders!

Sure, it would appear there is a ton of potential with the players like Sharrif Floyd, Matt Kalil and Xavier Rhodes. However, I'm going to throw a wet blanket on your excitement and tell you these first round picks rarely work out.

To back this up, I give you my top five players the Vikings picked in the first round that ended up as busts.

5. Christian Ponder - #12 Overall Pick 2011

I mean, he had one good year. Of course, it helped that Adrian Peterson had an insane year and the Minnesota Vikings made the playoffs in 2012. However, in the day and age of "what have you done for me lately" NFL, Ponder has stunk.

This pick is made worse by the fact that quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick were taken in later rounds. Ponder can take solace in the fact that this might be one of the league's worst quarterback drafts. Picked ahead of Ponder were Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker.

Silver lining? Perhaps.

4. Kenechi Udeze - #20 Overall Pick 2004

This one wasn't a bad pick really. It was just bad luck. Udeze had a solid rookie season, starting 15 games and coming up with five sacks. Injuries hindered his progress the next couple years but he came back strong in 2007 with another five sack year. Then, he got sick.

Udeze was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008 and would never play another snap in the NFL. Udeze is now healthy but the Vikings and their fans can only image what could have been had Udeze worked out and if the next guy on the list could have panned out.

3. Erasmus James - #18 Overall Pick 2005

This guy appeared to be the next great pass rusher for the Minnesota Vikings. Looking at his 2004 season with the Wisconsin Badgers, it would have been hard to argue against that thought. Then, the injury bug bit.

After four injury plagued seasons, James was out of the NFL. He didn't do much while he played, ending his Vikings career with 30 tackles and five sacks.

2. Troy Williamson - #7 Overall Pick 2005

There seems to be some major wide receiver busts in first round draft picks in the last few years. Charles Rogers might be the most memorable. Troy Williamson has to be up there. In five pro years, Williamson ended up with 87 receptions, 1,131 yards and five touchdowns. That is like a game for Calvin Johnson.

Williamson's high draft status most likely elevated from his stellar 40-yard dash time at the combine, where he ran a 4.32. It seemed that the people forget to look at the fact that really wasn't that good in college. At least Williamson played some snaps for the Vikings.

1. Dimitrius Underwood - #29 Overall Pick 1999

Dimitrius Underwood never played a snap for the Vikings, hence why he is the biggest bust for the Vikings in the last 18 years. He walked out of training camp the day after signing a contract. The Vikings would later release him and the Miami Dolphins picked him up.

A defensive end at Michigan State, Underwood would go on to write about the apocalypse during team meetings, try to commit suicide and try out for a Canadian football team. He didn't make it. That has to be up there for worst first round picks when the guy doesn't even play a down for you.

Still, the Vikings and their fans can take solace in the fact they didn't draft any of these guys.

You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called The Pinto and White Shadow Show. Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.