The Colleges Responsible for the Most Vikings Draft Selections over the Past 10 Years

NFL: NFL Draft
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The past decade has brought a total of 101 draft selections to the Minnesota Vikings.

These draft prospects have come to the Vikings from a variety of different schools, but some of the pipelines to Minnesota run deeper than others. Here is a look at colleges responsible for the most Vikings draft selections over the past 10 years.

Clemson (3 Players)

Oct 30, 2021; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports.
  • CB Mackensie Alexander (R2, P54; 2016 NFL Draft)
  • S Jayron Kearse (R7, P244; 2016 NFL Draft)
  • CB Andrew Booth (R2, P42; 2022 NFL Draft)

Clemson has provided a couple high potential defensive backs for the Vikings over the years. Mackensie Alexander was a quality slot cornerback for a few years, particularly during Minnesota’s 2019 run to the playoffs. Jayron Kearse was not a huge part of the Vikings defense during four seasons in Minnesota, but since then he has spent stints with the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys as a starting safety.

Iowa (3 Players)

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (15) gains yardage against the Las Vegas Raiders during a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
  • DT Jaleel Johnson (R4, P109; 2017 NFL Draft)
  • QB Nate Stanley (R7, P244; 2020 NFL Draft)
  • WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette (R5, P157; 2021 NFL Draft)

Iowa has not been particularly known for their offense over the years (outside of the tight end position, at least), but two of Minnesota’s three selections from Iowa have come on the offensive side. Nate Stanley spent two years with the Vikings before being waived prior to the 2022 season while Ihmir Smith-Marsette was also waived in 2022 following a promising conclusion to his rookie season. On the defensive side, Jaleel Johnson spent each of his first four seasons with the Vikings and started all 16 games in 2020.

Miami-FL (3 Players)

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) drops a pass against the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
  • IOL Danny Isidora (R5, P180; 2017 NFL Draft)
  • WR Stacey Coley (R7, P219; 2017 NFL Draft)
  • WR K.J. Osborn (R6, P176; 2020 NFL Draft)

The Vikings have not taken a Miami player earlier than the fifth round over the past decade, but K.J. Osborn certainly outlived his fifth-round status. He has been one of the more reliable WR3s in the NFL since taking over the role in 2021. Now, he heads to free agency though, so his future in Minnesota is unknown.

Michigan State (3 Players)

Jalen Nailor Stock Continues to Rise
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Nailor (83) celebrates after making a stop against the New England Patriots during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
  • CB Trae Waynes (R1, P11; 2015 NFL Draft)
  • DE Kenny Willekes (R7, P225; 2020 NFL Draft)
  • WR Jalen Nailor (R6, P191; 2022 NFL Draft)

Trae Waynes was a key part of Minnesota’s defense during both their 2017 and 2019 playoff runs, and he started 53 games over his five years with the Vikings. However, those five years would prove to be the only effective stint of his NFL career. The cornerback has not appeared in an NFL game since the 2021 season. Jalen Nailor is the only Michigan State alum who remains on the Vikings roster.

North Carolina (3 Players)

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Minnesota Vikings
Oct 8, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) runs with the ball after a fake punt against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
  • DB Jabari Price (R7, P225; 2014 NFL Draft)
  • LB Chazz Surratt (R3, P78; 2021 NFL Draft)
  • RB Ty Chandler (R5, P169; 2022 NFL Draft)

Ty Chandler turned into the Vikings RB1 down the stretch of the 2023 season, and he has been the only North Carolina draft product to carve out a consistent role with the Vikings. Both Jabari Price and Chazz Surratt spent just one year with the Vikings before being waived.

Ohio State (3 Players)

Questions Answered: Wyatt Davis to Big Easy, Super Bowl Prediction, Andrew Booth
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings guard Wyatt Davis. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.
  • IOL Pat Elflein (R3, P70; 2017 NFL Draft)
  • DE Jalyn Holmes (R4, P102; 2018 NFL Draft)
  • IOL Wyatt Davis (R3, P86; 2021 NFL Draft)

At one point in time, Wyatt Davis seemed to be the right guard of the future in Minnesota. However, an injury-riddled training camp led to a very disappointing rookie season in 2021, and thus, he was waived by Minnesota prior to the 2022 season. Pat Elflein and Jalyn Holmes each spent multiple seasons with the Vikings as starters, but Elflein’s career was quickly derailed by injuries after leaving the team.

Oklahoma (3 Players)

PFF Tabs Young Vikings Linebacker as a Breakout Candidate in 2023
Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Brian Asamoah II (33) in action against the Detroit Lions during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
  • OT Tyrus Thompson (R6, P185; 2015 NFL Draft)
  • IOL Dru Samia (R4, P114; 2019 NFL Draft)
  • LB Brian Asamoah (R3, P66; 2022 NFL Draft)

Dru Samia is one of the more infamous Vikings starters on their offensive line in recent history, spending four games as a starter during the 2020 season. He has not played since that season. Tyrus Thompson’s Vikings career was unceremonious, and he never saw regular season action with the team while Brian Asamoah has been buried near the bottom of Minnesota’s LB room over the past two years.

USC (3 Players)

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) celebrates his first career touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
  • LB Cameron Smith (R5, P162; 2019 NFL Draft)
  • WR Jordan Addison (R1, P23; 2023 NFL Draft)
  • CB Mekhi Blackmon (R3, P102; 2023 NFL Draft)

USC leapt towards the top of this list because of the 2023 Draft where the Vikings used each of their first two selections on former Trojans. Jordan Addison quickly became one of the best rookie receivers in the league during the 2023 season, and Mekhi Blackmon has shown flashes of strong production at the cornerback spot.

Virginia Tech (3 Players)

Vikings LT Christian Darrisaw
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.
  • DB Antone Exum (R6, P182; 2014 NFL Draft)
  • TE Bucky Hodges (R6, P201; 2017 NFL Draft)
  • OT Christian Darrisaw (R1, P23; 2021 NFL Draft)

One of the most influential Vikings draft picks played his college ball at Virginia Tech. That player, of course, is left tackle Christian Darrisaw. Rick Spielman landed one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL despite trading down in the first round, and Darrisaw looks like he will be a cornerstone of the franchise for years to come.

Pittsburgh (4 Players)

Brian O'Neill
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (75) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports
  • OT T.J. Clemmings (R4, P110; 2015 NFL Draft)
  • OT Brian O’Neill (R2, P62; 2018 NFL Draft)
  • OLB Pat Jones (R3, P90; 2021 NFL Draft)
  • DT Jaylen Twyman (R6, P199; 2021 NFL Draft)

Pittsburgh provided the Vikings with another franchise player in Brian O’Neill, who has been a consistent starter at the right tackle spot since he was drafted. After a shaky first couple seasons, O’Neill has turned into a Pro Bowl offensive tackle while Pat Jones remains a rotational piece for Minnesota’s pass-rush on defense.

LSU (5 Players)

Colleges Responsible
Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates his touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
  • OLB Danielle Hunter (R3, P88; 2015 NFL Draft)
  • WR Justin Jefferson (R1, P22; 2020 NFL Draft)
  • IOL Ed Ingram (R2, P59; 2022 NFL Draft)
  • S Jay Ward (R4, P134; 2023 NFL Draft)
  • DT Jaquelin Roy (R5, P141; 2023 NFL Draft)

No pipeline to the Vikings has been stronger than the one from LSU over the past few years. The Vikings have selected four LSU players in the past four drafts, and all three of Danielle Hunter, Ed Ingram, and Justin Jefferson have been starters with the team. The LSU-Vikings pipeline could continue in 2024 with many top prospects like QB Jayden Daniels, WR Brian Thomas, and DT Maason Smith.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of 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.