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Vikings Lead NFL in Draft Pick Retention Under Spielman

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman will celebrate his 10-year anniversary with the team on May 30.

Spielman joined the Vikings as Vice President of Player Personnel in 2006 and took on General Manager duties prior to the 2012 NFL Draft.

Since Spielman's first draft with Minnesota (2007), the Vikings have had 75 draft picks in nine years – and 34 of those players remain on Minnesota's current roster. The Vikings have retained 45.3 percent of their draft picks since 2007, which is the highest retention rate in the league. Cincinnati (42.7) is second, and Green Bay (42.0) is third.

With the 2016 NFL Draft — Spielman's 10th in Minnesota — starting Thursday, here's a rewind of the current Vikings who have been yielded in drafts since Spielman arrived.  

2007 NFL Draft – Adrian's arrival

Spielman may not have anticipated his first draft with the Vikings making such a big splash, but it certainly did when he drafted running back Adrian Peterson seventh overall. A player who no longer requires an introduction, Peterson has been a driving force for the Vikings since he donned the purple and gold. Peterson recorded 1,341 yards and 12 touchdowns as a rookie. Not even a torn ACL suffered at the end of the 2011 season could not slow him down – Peterson won the NFL MVP in 2012 after rushing for 2,097 yards. In 2015, Peterson led the league in rushing yards (1,485) at 30 years old. As he enters his 10th season with the Vikings, Peterson has certainly turned out to be one of Spielman's top draft picks.

In addition to Peterson, Spielman and Co. drafted defensive end Brian Robison 102nd overall, yet another Vikings mainstay on Minnesota's roster. Over nine seasons, Robison has racked up 286 tackles, 63.0 tackles for loss, 48.5 sacks and 243 quarterback hurries.


2008 NFL Draft – Sullivan in the sixth

With the 187th pick in the 2008 draft, the Vikings selected center John Sullivan. Although not taken until the sixth round, Sullivan soon proved he'd been a steal for Minnesota. Over eight years with the Vikings, Sullivan has played 109 games and started 93 of them. The center helped Peterson rush for 1,000-plus yards and 10-plus touchdowns in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013, and a team-record 18 touchdowns in 2009.

*Also notable: *The pick that was used to select Sullivan was acquired in a signature deal. The Vikings traded their No. 5 overall pick to Kansas City for defensive end Jared Allen. The trade was a blockbuster one for Minnesota, as Allen took his career to the next level with the Vikings. Allen started all 96 regular season and four playoff games during six seasons in Minnesota. Allen's 2011 campaign ranks as one of the best seasons by a defensive lineman in NFL history as he recorded a franchise-record and league-best 22 sacks, finishing only a half sack shy of Michael Strahan's single-season record (22.5).

2009 NFL Draft – Loadholt for the line

The Vikings drafted tackle Phil Loadholt 54th overall in 2009, and he proved a mainstay on Minnesota's roster. Loadholt became an immediate difference-maker at the line for the Vikings, starting 15 regular season games and both playoff contests as a rookie. A starter in all 89 games that he's played, Loadholt has helped Adrian Peterson gain over 1,000 rushing yards and 10 rushing TDs in four of his six seasons. In 2012, Loadholt helped pave the way for Peterson's 2,097 rushing yards.

Loadholt missed the entire 2015 season with a torn Achilles tendon.

2010 – Everson a fourth-round find

Minnesota got a bargain in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, snagging defensive end Everson Griffen 100th overall. Griffen showed talent early but first established himself as a full-time starter in 2014. During that season, Griffen led the team with a career-high 12 sacks and received NFC Defensive Player of the Month honors in October.

Griffen played and started 15 games for the Vikings in 2015, recording 49 tackles (27 solo), 17.0 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 76 quarterback hurries and four passes defensed. Griffen received his first career Pro Bowl nod for his 2015 performance.

2011 – Rudolph joins roster

The Vikings drafted Kyle Rudolph 43rd overall in 2011, adding an athletic tight end to their roster. Rudolph has started 53 of 61 games played. He impressed in 2012, ranking No. 2 in the league among tight ends with nine touchdowns on the season and earning a trip to the Pro Bowl, where he was named Pro Bowl MVP.  

After missing eight games and seven games, respectively, in 2013 and 2014 due to injuries, Rudolph started all 16 games last season and recorded 495 yards and five touchdowns. In five seasons with the Vikings, Rudolph has tallied 182 catches for 1,781 yards and 22 touchdowns.

The Vikings also drafted guard Brandon Fusco with the 172nd overall pick. Fusco has played a consistent role in Minnesota's offensive line, starting 50 of 53 games played. In both 2012 and 2015, Fusco was part of an offensive line unit that started all 16 games and paved the way for Adrian Peterson to be the NFL's leading rusher.

2012 – Harrison helps out secondary

The Vikings drafted six players in 2012 who remain on the team's current roster.

Minnesota selected tackle Matt Kalil and safety Harrison Smith in the first round at fourth and 29th overall, respectively. Kalil became a full-time starter as a rookie and had a solid first-year campaign, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2012. Over four seasons with the Vikings, Kalil hasn't missed a single game.

Smith has proven an integral part of the Vikings defense and has started 52 of 53 games played since 2012. Smith contributed to Minnesota's successful 2012 season and became the second rookie in team history (behind Dwayne Washington) with two interception returns for touchdowns. Although Smith missed three games during 2015 with a knee injury, he totaled 87 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3.0 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and two interceptions, one of which he returned for his franchise-record fourth interception return touchdown. Following the season, Smith was named to his first career Pro Bowl.

Other current Vikings drafted in 2012 are wide receiver Jarius Wright (118th), tight end Rhett Ellison (128th), kicker Blair Walsh (175th) and linebacker Audie Cole (210th).

2013 – Trio of first-rounders

After trading back into the first round to get Smith in 2012, Spielman did so not once but twice in 2013. The Vikings managed to land three first-round picks, drafting defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (23rd), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (25th) and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (29th).

In his debut season in 2013, Rhodes broke the team record for most passes defensed by a rookie (23) and went on to start every game in 2014 and 2015. Rhodes recorded a career-high 68 tackles last season and snagged his second career interception against the Packers (Jan. 3, 2016) in the NFC North Division-clinching win.

The third defensive tackle selected in 2013, Floyd became a full-time starter in 2014 and set career-highs in tackles (55), sacks (4.5), tackles for loss (11.0) and quarterback pressures (43) after seeing action in all 16 games as a rookie. During the 2015 season, Floyd recorded 37 tackles (21 solo), 7.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks over 13 games after missing three games due to injury.

Patterson was the Vikings third first-round pick and has played a key role in special teams since joining Minnesota. He has 3,283 career kick return yards, the second most in club history behind Darrin Nelson (3,623). Patterson has 13 career touchdowns: four on kick returns and nine on offense.

The Vikings also selected punter Jeff Locke 155th overall.

2014 – Teddy's time

The Vikings had multiple first-round picks for the third consecutive year, drafting linebacker Anthony Barr and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater at ninth and 32nd overall, respectively.

Bridgewater joined the Vikings after a successful career at Louisville and was thrown into the fire as a rookie when Matt Cassell suffered a season-ending injury on Sept. 21, 2014 against the Saints. Bridgewater set Minnesota's rookie records for completions (259), passing attempts (402), completion percentage (64.4) and passing yards (2,919).

Bridgewater has completed 551 passes for 6,150 yards and 28 touchdowns over two seasons and received his first career Pro Bowl nod following the 2015 season.

As the Vikings first pick with Mike Zimmer as head coach, Barr immediately made an impact on Minnesota's defense and was the team's only rookie starter in the home opener. Barr missed the final four games of 2014 with a knee injury and finished the season with 99 tackles (72 solo) and 4.0 sacks.

During the 2015 season, Barr earned a trip to his first career Pro Bowl after recording 80 tackles (61 solo), 6.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles, seven passes defensed and an interception.

Minnesota also selected defensive end Scott Crichton (72nd), running back Jerick McKinnon (96th), safety Antone Exum (182nd), defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (220th), linebacker Brandon Watts (223rd) and cornerback Jabari Price (225th) in 2014. McKinnon had an early opportunity to establish himself as part of the Vikings offense, playing 331 snaps as a rookie when Adrian Peterson missed 15 games in 2014. Last season, McKinnon played 159 snaps and combined for 444 rushing and receiving yards and three touchdowns.

2015 – Depth throughout

The Vikings drafted 10 players in last year's draft, and all but one remain on their roster. Minnesota selected cornerback Trae Waynes 11th overall, and although he mainly played in a special teams role as a rookie, Waynes offered a few glimpses of defensive prowess while stepping in for injured players. Waynes led the team with 14 special teams tackles and recorded 19 total tackles and five passes defensed in his debut season.

After drafting Barr in 2014, the Vikings brought his UCLA teammate, Eric Kendricks, to Minnesota in 2015 with the 45th overall pick. Kendricks earned 11 starts in 14 games played and led the team with 105 tackles (80 solo), fourth-most by a rookie in Vikings history. The linebacker notched his first career sack against Peyton Manning at Denver on Oct. 4, 2015, and finished the season with 4.0 sacks.

Defensive end Danielle Hunter (88th) was **exactly who the Vikings wanted** in the third round, and he had a strong rookie season that included finishing second on the team in sacks (6.0) behind Everson Griffen. Hunter's breakout game came in Minnesota's second matchup against Chicago – the rookie recorded 1.5 sacks on the day and totaled six tackles (five solo).

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs (146th) made his NFL debut against Denver in Week 4 and recorded six receptions for 87 yards. Diggs started nine of the 13 games he played in 2015 and finished the season with 52 catches for a team-high 720 yards and four touchdowns.

Kendricks, Hunter and Diggs were all named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team following the 2015 campaign.

Tackle T.J. Clemmings (110th) immediately became a full-time starter in place of the injured Loadholt, becoming just the third rookie in Vikings history to start the season opener at right tackle.

Other Vikings 2015 draft picks still on the roster are tight end MyCole Pruitt (143rd), defensive end B.J. Dubose (193rd), tackle Austin Shepherd (228th) and linebacker Edmond Robinson (232nd).

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