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Lunchbreak: Vikings Have Found Success Outside of 1st Round

Unless they make a trade Thursday night, the Vikings will have to wait until Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft to bolster their roster.

But that doesn't mean Minnesota can't find an impact player later in the draft.

Michael Rand of the Star Tribune took a look at five key players Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman drafted outside of the first round.

Rand started his list with Vikings defensive end Brian Robison, a fourth-round pick from 2007 who is the longest-tenured Vikings player on the roster.

It's been a nice run for Robison, who became a full-time starter in 2011 and has since started 95 of 96 regular-season games on the defensive line. He has 56 career sacks and 13 career forced fumbles.

Minnesota's two other defensive ends, Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter, were also mentioned.

Griffen was nabbed in the fourth round in 2010.

Griffen has 30.5 combined sacks over the past three seasons playing for Mike Zimmer and has been named to the Pro Bowl each of the past two years. Last season, he had two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries as well.

Hunter was a third-round selection in 2015.

Hunter has a chance to be an elite player, and he's already a steal after being taken in the third round two years ago. Even though he wasn't a starter in 2016, he registered a team-high 12.5 sacks while also scoring a touchdown and a safety.

Rand wrote that Spielman has also hit on offensive players such as wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who was a fifth-round pick in 2015.

Diggs cooled off as the Vikings did in 2016, but the second-year wide receiver still finished the season with 84 catches and continued to emerge as a legitimate offensive threat.

Former Vikings center John Sullivan was the fifth player listed. The 2008 sixth-round pick made 93 career starts in Purple.

Vikings have 5th-best track record over last 10 drafts

Every NFL team will be looking to hit a home run with each of their picks in this weekend's draft.

While that isn't always the case, the Vikings have fared better than others over the last 10 years.

Ben Goessling of recently wrote that one metric shows Minnesota has had a strong 10-year run with the draft.

Goessling wrote:

Using Pro Football Reference's Approximate Value statistic, we compiled the draft scores for all 32 teams over the past 10 years to get a rough idea of how much value each club has derived from its draft picks. The Vikings' picks from 2007-16 accounted for 815 points, which was the fifth-most in the league behind the Green Bay Packers (1,006), Atlanta Falcons (876), Seattle Seahawks (860) and Cincinnati Bengals (836).

And in the last five drafts, after Spielman was officially named GM, the Vikings' picks have been worth 329 points, which trails only the Los Angeles Rams for the most in the league.

Minnesota's 2007 draft class helped propel the Vikings into the top five teams.

The Vikings' highest-scoring class in that time is, not surprisingly, the 2007 draft that produced Adrian Peterson (88 AV points) and Brian Robison (43). The group produced 159 points, which was the fourth-most of any 2007 draft class.

But one of Minnesota's most recent draft classes has the Vikings future looking bright, as* "the outstanding early returns on players Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter and Stefon Diggs have the 2015 class also ranked third with 59 points."*

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