Each NFL team tries to hit a home run with each pick they make in the draft.
While it doesn't always work out that way, teams are often graded by the success of their annual draft class.
Brian Burke and Doug Clawson of ESPN.com recently took a look at the best draft classes in each franchise's history and ranked the Vikings 1967 draft class 13th in league history.
How did Burke and Clawson compile the list?
To find each team's best draft class ever, first we had to define "best." Fortunately, there's *Pro Football Reference's Approximate Value (AV) metric. AV is a composite measure of a player's value to his team, based roughly on game appearances, game starts and awards such as Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections. Meaningful individual stats also help determine a player's AV, and the metric is boosted for players who are members of winning teams.*
Minnesota's 1967 draft class helped build a winning culture in the Twin Cities, yielding four Super Bowl appearances in an eight-year span.
The draft was longer in 1967. The Vikings made 18 total picks across 17 rounds that year. A few players were integral for Minnesota's success for years to come.
Hall of Fame defensive tackle and NFL MVP Alan Page, selected with the 15th overall pick in '67, anchored the "Purple People Eaters" defense that led Minnesota to four NFC championships. Two-time Pro Bowl defensive back Bobby Bryant (seventh round) was another key part of the Vikings' legendary defense, and two-time Pro Bowl wide receivers Gene Washington (first round) and Bob Grim (second round) were also selected that year.
Page, the headliner of the group, recorded 148.5 career sacks and 1,120 total tackles. He was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor in 1998.
Coller: Potential free agent additions for Vikings
The main portion of free agency has come and gone, but there are still handfuls of players who are looking for NFL jobs.
Matthew Coller of 1500ESPN.com took a look at five free agents who are still on the market and could help the Vikings.
Coller's first two players listed were center Nick Mangold and guard Jahri Evans.
Mangold has made 164 career starts, all with the New York Jets.
While he might not be the dominant player he once was, Mangold is still capable of providing average-level play in the middle. Pro Football Focus ranked him 25th of 38 qualifying centers last season.
Adding the 33-year-old lineman would allow the Vikings to move Joe Berger to right guard, where he was strong in limited duty last year. That would allow backup center Nick Easton and G/T Jeremiah Sirles to be used as depth rather than asking either to compete for a starting job. The Vikings will still need to draft linemen, but asking a second or third-round pick to step into a full-time gig is risky.
Evans, an 11-year veteran, made 169 career starts with New Orleans.
Assuming the Vikings draft a guard somewhere between the second and fourth round, Evans could act as reliable one-year placeholder. If said draft pick beat him out, Evans would act as high quality depth.
Coller also mentioned wide receiver Anquan Boldin, defensive tackle Tony McDaniel and defensive back Corey Graham as potential options for the Vikings.