A History of the Vikings Picking at No. 23 Overall in the NFL Draft

The History of the Vikings Selecting at No. 23 Overall in the NFL Draft
Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) reacts center Garrett Bradbury (56) and offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Technically, the Minnesota Vikings headed into this offseason with the No. 24 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. However, with the Miami Dolphins being forced to forfeit their first-round pick this year due to tampering allegations surrounding both Tom Brady and Sean Payton, the Vikings now for all intents and purposes hold the 23rd overall pick in this month’s draft.

In their history, the Minnesota Vikings have selected a player 23rd overall four times before this year. Today, we are going to take a look at the history of the Vikings, and their past No. 23 selections.

WR Lance Rentzel (1965)

Unknown date; Unknwon location, USA; FILE PHOTO; Dallas Cowboys reciever Lance Rentzel (19) on the bench duirng a game. Mandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons- USA TODAY Sports

Back when the 23rd overall pick was actually part of the second round of the NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings made their first ever selection at the position by taking WR Lance Rentzel out of Oklahoma. The Sooner product was Minnesota’s third pick of that year’s draft, and ultimately, his Vikings career didn’t amount to much.

Rentzel spent a total of two seasons with the Vikings, and he appeared in a grand total of 20 games but only caught two passes over that time, both coming in 1966. Following that 1966 season, the wide receiver left the team and headed to the Dallas Cowboys where he instantly became one of the better receivers in the league.

In 1967, Rentzel caught 58 passes for 996 yards and 8 touchdowns. In all, he played nine seasons in the NFL, splitting time between the Vikings, Cowboys, and Los Angeles Rams. He ended his career with a total of 268 receptions, 4826 yards, and 38 touchdowns over the course of 115 games.

DT Sharrif Floyd (2013)

Dec 10, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (73) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It took the Vikings nearly 50 years to select another player with the 23rd overall pick, but when they did, they landed a very promising defensive tackle in Sharrif Floyd from the Florida Gators program. Floyd was one of three first-round selections by the Vikings in 2013, joining CB Xavier Rhodes and RB Cordarrelle Patterson.

Floyd’s NFL career got off to a very productive start, and he recorded 95 tackles, 13 TFLs, 9.5 sacks, and a forced fumble over his first three seasons in Minnesota from 2013-15. Unfortunately, his career would come to a rather sad end when he suffered a knee injury in 2016 and only played Week 1. Then, in March 2017, it was revealed that he had suffered nerve damage from the injury and following surgery, and he never suited up in the NFL again.

WR Laquon Treadwell (2016)

Aug 24, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (11) during team introductions prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

After taking a very long hiatus from the 23rd overall pick between their first and second selections at the position, it was only a few years after selecting Floyd that Minnesota once again found themselves drafting at No. 23. This time around, they again took a WR, selecting Laquon Treadwell out of Ole Miss.

Treadwell was one of the more productive wide receivers in college football during his stint with the Rebels, recording 82 receptions, 1153 yards, and 11 TDs in his final season. However, that production never translated to the NFL level.

The wide receiver spent four seasons with the Vikings, recording a grand total of 65 receptions, 701 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns. After leaving for the Atlanta Falcons in 2020, Treadwell has spent the past three years bouncing around the league and is still unsigned in 2023.

LT Christian Darrisaw (2021)

Vikings LT Christian Darrisaw
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings are still reaping the benefits of their most recent 23rd overall pick. In 2021, after losing Riley Reiff in free agency, the Vikings went into the draft with a major need at left tackle. GM Rick Spielman made one of the best trades of his career to move down the draft board to No. 23 and selected Christian Darrisaw out of Virginia Tech.

Darrisaw has gone through a few injury problems over his first two NFL seasons, playing 12 games in 2021 and 14 in 2022, but when he has been on the field, especially this past season, he has been one of the best offensive linemen in all of football.

Now, heading into year three, the Vikings left tackle looks like a cornerstone of the Vikings offense, and to date, he is the best selection Minnesota has made with the 23rd overall pick. Hopefully, if the Vikings stay at No. 23 this year, they continue that positive trend by selecting an immediate impact player.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.