Every team has its share of hits and misses in the NFL Draft and the Minnesota Vikings are no exception. Previously, we detailed the best of the best selections by the Vikings since 2000. But, not every choice works out.
Below we're listing the three worst picks from Minnesota's draft picks in the first three rounds since 2000. Why just three rounds? You expect players from Day 1 and 2 of the draft to be contributors. On Day 3, you hope to find someone, but it's hard to say a seventh-round pick was bad, for example. It was a seventh round pick!
All that being said, here's FOX Sports North's choices for the worst Vikings draft picks since 2000 (listed by round and then in alphabetical order):
Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin (2005, 1st round, No. 18)
The second of Minnesota's two first-round picks in 2005, James had an OK rookie season, recording four sacks. But he tore his ACL in 2006 and re-injured it in 2007. In all, he played in 23 games with the Vikings with 37 tackles and five sacks. James would be dealt to Washington for a conditional seventh-round pick; he'd play in five games for the Redskins and not record a tackle. Of the 14 players selected after James in the first round, each played at least 54 games (or nearly double the amount James had in his career), including such notables as Logan Mankins, Heath Miller, Aaron Rodgers and Roddy White.
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Christian Ponder, QB, Florida (2011, 1st round, No. 12)
You could certainly argue there are worse players than Ponder statistically speaking, but this selection set the tone of the franchise for years. The pick was clearly a reach, but being desperate for a quarterback can make teams do strange things in the draft. Ponder was actually the fourth QB selected in 2011 after Cam Newton (No. 1), Jake Locker (8) and Blaine Gabbert (10) -- hey, imagine how Tennessee and Jacksonville eventually felt with those picks, too. Later QBs taken included Andy Dalton (2nd round, No. 35), Colin Kaepernick (2-36) and Tyrod Taylor (6-180). Ponder was force-fed into being the starter, taking over for Donovan McNabb in Minnesota's seventh game as a rookie. He could never become the franchise QB the team wanted, despite the Vikings going 10-6 in his second season (he started all 16 games). Minnesota won just three games with Ponder as its quarterback after that as fans clamored for his departure. The Vikings drafted Teddy Bridgewater (in large part due to the failure of Ponder) in 2014 and Ponder left as a free agent for Oakland in 2015. His final stats with Minnesota: 38 games, 59.8 percent completions for 6,658 yards with 38 TDs and 36 INTs.
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Troy Williamson, WR, South Carolina (2005, 1st round, No. 7)
Minnesota got this pick from Oakland as part of a deal sending Randy Moss to the Raiders. The Vikings thought they were getting Moss' replacement. Not quite. Williamson played three seasons for Minnesota and caught an underwhelming 79 passes for 1,067 yards and three touchdowns (yes, combined), but he was more known for his dropped passes, which stacked up like, well, moss on a rolling stone. He was finally dealt off to Jacksonville for the ignominy of a sixth-round pick. Williamson's weighted career approximate value is the 10th worst among players selected at No. 7 overall since the AFL-NFL merger (although three of those players are active and could eventually exceed Williamson; among the other seven, the most recent to Williamson is Andre Ware in 1990).
Other 1st-round picks: Anthony Barr (2014), Michael Bennett (2001), Teddy Bridgewater (2014(, Sharrif Floyd (2013), Chad Greenway (2006), Percy Harvin (2009), Chris Hovan (2000), Matt Kalil (2012), Bryant McKinnie (2002), Cordarrelle Patterson (2013), Adrian Peterson (2007), Xavier Rhodes (2013), Harrison Smith (2012), Laquon Treadwell (2016), Kenechi Udeze (2004) and Kevin Williams (2003).
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Michael Boireau, DE, Miami (2000, 2nd round)
Boireau was selected after playing two years with the Hurricanes after transferring from a junior college. In October of his rookie season, Boireau was placed on injured reserve after suffering double vision. Later, his right eye would droop. It turned out he had a rare eye disease called myasthenia gravis. He's spend 2001 on the PUP list and was cut by the Vikings before the 2002 season. Boireau would eventually play football -- but in the Canadian Football League. He'd be signed by the Browns, but never play a down in the NFL.
Willie Howard, DE, Stanford (2001, 2nd round)
Unfortunately, Howard makes this list not because of production, effort or apathy, but injury. Eight games into his rookie season, Howard tore his ACL as well as suffered a sprained MCL and fractured fibula. He tried to come back, and even played in preseason games the following summer, but spent 2012 on injured reserve before being cut the following season, never to play again.
Raonall Smith, LB, Washington State (2002, 2nd round)
Smith's career was waylaid by injuries. He missed his rookie season due to a shoulder injury, then played in only seven games in each of the following two years. Smith finally played all 16 games in 2005 -- with six starts -- but wasn't overly productive, recording 35 tackles with a sack. He'd leave for St. Louis via free agency, finishing his Minnesota carrer with 64 tackles and that lone sack in 30 games.
Other 2nd-round picks: Mackensie Alexander (2016), Chris Cook (2010), Ryan Cook (2006), Toby Gerhart (2010), Cedric Griffin (2006), Tavaris Jackson (2005), Marcus Johnson (2005), Tyrell Johnson (2008), Eric Kendricks )2015), Phil Loadholt (2009), Sidney Rice (2007), Fred Robbins (2000), Kyle Rudolph (2011) and Dontarrious Thomas (2004).
Doug Chapman, RB, Marshall (2000, 3rd round)
After not being able to get on the field as a rookie -- inactive for each of Minnesota's 16 games -- Chapman got his chance in 2001 after the sudden retirement of running back Robert Smith. However, the Vikings drafted RB Michael Bennett in the first round in 2001 and while Chapman would play in every game, he'd make just three starts, rushing for 195 yards -- 90 of those coming in a 35-13 win vs. Green Bay -- on 63 carries. Chapman also caught 16 passes for 135 yards and his only NFL touchdown. He lasted two more years in Minnesota, but played only 10 games, compiling 122 yards on 27 carries.
Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State (2014, 3rd round)
There were draft analysts who had Crichton with a first- or second-round grade. However, he couldn't even live up to being a third-round selection. Crichton never could get in the good graces of head coach Mike Zimmer -- barely playing as a rookie. An injury ended Crichton's 2015 season after 13 games and he'd also be placed on injured reserve in 2016. Crichton was waived this past March. Claimed by Buffalo, he failed the physical and was waived.
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Dustin Fox, DB, Ohio State (2005, 3rd round)
A four-year starter with the Buckeyes, Fox never saw a down in the regular season for Minnesota. Hurt in practice, Fox spent his rookie year on injured reserve and was then cut before the start of the 2006 season. He'd play in nine games for Philadelphia and Buffalo from 2006-08.
Other 3rd-round picks: Asher Allen (2009), Nate Burleson, 2003, Danielle Hunter (2015), Eric Kelly (2001), Jerick McKinnon (2014), Marcus McCauley (2007), Willie Offord (2002), Josh Robinson (2012) and Darrion Scott (2004).