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Defense Highlights Recent History of 12th Overall Draft Pick

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings hold the 12th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, which opens tonight.

Minnesota has drafted at No. 12 overall twice in team history, doing so in 1973 and 2011.

Running back Chuck Foreman, a member of the Vikings Ring of Honor, was the first player selected there by Minnesota. More recently, the Vikings tabbed quarterback Christian Ponder in that spot.

But, if the Vikings do end up picking at No. 12 again, what kind of talent has been selected in that spot in the past decade? And how about throughout NFL history?

Here's a look at the history of the 12th overall pick in the NFL Draft with a special focus on the past decade that has been heavily populated by defensive players:

2021 — Micah Parsons, LB, Cowboys

Parsons made an impact right away in his rookie season, never stopping on the way to earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors from The Associated Press. He recorded 84 tackles and 13 sacks, which was two shy of the NFL rookie record, while also notching three forced fumbles and three passes defensed in 16 regular-season games.

2020 — Henry Ruggs III, WR, Raiders

Ruggs is currently out of football after he was involved in a deadly car crash that killed a 23-year-old woman and her dog in Las Vegas last November. Ruggs is charged with felony driving under the influence and reckless driving.

2019 — Rashan Gary, LB, Packers

Gary was decent in his first two seasons before posting a breakout season in 2021. He registered 9.5 sacks and forced a pair of fumbles to help Green Bay win the division for the third season in a row.

2018 — Vita Vea, DT, Buccaneers

Vea is the most recent pick of multiple defensive tackles on this list and is one of the best at his position across the league. He's a mammoth man at 6-foot-4 and roughly 350 pounds, and helps clog up the interior of any offensive line the Buccaneers face. Vea recently helped Tampa Bay win a Super Bowl and followed that up with his first Pro Bowl nod in 2021.

2017 — Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans

Watson is no longer with the team that drafted him, as he was traded from Houston to Cleveland for a bevy of draft picks last month. The quarterback is talented, having made the Pro Bowl every year from 2018-20, but he did not play at all in 2021 due to legal issues.

2016 — Sheldon Rankins, DT, Saints

Rankins spent the first five seasons of his career with the Saints before going to the Jets in 2021. He's posted 20.5 sacks, including a career-best 8.0 in 2018 with New Orleans.

2015 — Danny Shelton, NT, Browns

Shelton has bounced around a bit since being a first-round selection. He spent three seasons with the Browns before landing with the Patriots for the next two seasons. Shelton was with the Lions in 2020 and the Giants in 2021. He is currently a free agent.

View every Vikings first round draft pick through the years.

2014 — Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, Giants

Beckham burst onto the NFL scene with at least 1,300 receiving yards and double-digit touchdowns in his first three seasons in the league. He then dealt with injuries in 2017, but returned to post two more 1,000-yard seasons (his last in New York and first in Cleveland). Beckham was traded to the Browns in March of 2019, but less than three years later, his whirlwind journey took him to Los Angeles in 2021., He helped the Rams reach (and win) Super Bowl LVI despite tearing his ACL in the game and is currently a free agent.

2013 — D.J. Hayden, CB, Raiders

Hayden is another journeyman on this list, playing for three other teams — Detroit, Jacksonville and Washington — than the one that drafted him. The cornerback has four career interceptions in 92 games, including 41 starts. He is currently on Washington's roster.

2012 — Fletcher Cox, DT, Eagles

Cox has helped set the standard at his position over his 10 seasons in the league. A six-time Pro Bowler and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's NFL All-Decade Team for the 2010s, Cox also has four total All-Pro accolades and a Super Bowl ring on his résumé. Cox, who has 58 career sacks, recently chose to return to Philadelphia, where he's spent his entire career.

Others of Note: Ponder, RB Marshawn Lynch (Bills, 2007), DT Haloti Ngata (Ravens, 2006), LB Shawne Merriman (Chargers, 2005), LB Jonathan Vilma (Jets, 2004), RB Warrick Dunn (Buccaneers, 1997), DT Warren Sapp (Buccaneers, 1995), DE Trace Armstrong (Bears, 1989), LB Clay Matthews (Browns, 1978), Foreman, QB Joe Namath (Jets, 1965 AFL Draft), DB Herb Adderley (Packers, 1961), LB Rip Hawkins (Patriots, 1961 AFL Draft) — Hawkins signed with the Vikings, who selected him with the 15th pick of the NFL Draft.

This group features a trio of Hall of Famers in Sapp, Namath and Adderley, players that helped define their respective positions in various decades.

And while a pair of great running backs in Lynch and Dunn are also included, there are a handful of strong defenders, too. Armstrong is new Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell's agent.


2022 Miller Lite Vikings Draft Party

Vikings Draft Party is making its return to in-person festivities at U.S. Bank Stadium! The party will kick off at 6 p.m. (CT) Thursday, April 28.