The Minnesota Vikings joined the National Football League (NFL) in 1961. The Vikings' first draft selection as an NFL team was Tommy Mason, a running back from Tulane University. The team's most recent first-round selections were Justin Jefferson, a wide receiver from LSU, and Jeff Gladney, a cornerback from TCU.
Every April, each NFL franchise seeks to add new players to its roster through a collegiate draft known as the "NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting", more commonly known as the NFL Draft. Teams are ranked in reverse order based on the previous season's record, with team with the worst record picking first, the team with the second-worst record picking second, and so on. The two exceptions to this order are made for teams that appeared in the previous Super Bowl; the Super Bowl champion always picks last and the Super Bowl loser always picks second-last. Teams have the option of trading away their picks to other teams for different picks, players, cash, or a combination thereof. Thus, it is not uncommon for a team's actual draft pick to differ from their assigned draft pick, or for a team to have extra or no draft picks in any round due to these trades.
The Vikings have selected number one overall twice. The Vikings received the first pick in 1961 as an expansion franchise and then again in 1968 when the franchise chose Ron Yary, an offensive tackle from the University of Southern California. The Vikings have used first-round selections on players from the University of Southern California five times, Michigan State University four times, and from the University of Notre Dame, Oklahoma State University, Ohio State University, Florida State University and North Carolina State University three times. The Vikings have drafted 10 running backs, the most common position drafted by the franchise, followed by defensive end (9), defensive tackle (8), defensive back (8) and wide receiver (8). Six eventual Hall of Famers have been selected by the Vikings in the first-round: Carl Eller, Alan Page, Chris Doleman, Randall McDaniel, Ron Yary and Randy Moss.
|^||Indicates the player was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.|
|§||Enshrined in the Minnesota Vikings Ring of Honor|
|†||Indicates the player was selected for the Pro Bowl at any time in their career.|
|*||Selected number one overall|
|—||The Vikings did not draft a player in the first round that year.|
|Year||Each year links to an article about that particular NFL Draft.|
|Pick||Indicates the number of the pick within the first round|
|Position||The player's position|
|College||The player's college football team|
- "Hall of Famers by Franchise - Hall of Famers - Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site". www.profootballhof.com. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
- The Vikings first-round pick in 1962 was acquired by the Los Angeles Rams from the New York Giants. The Vikings had traded their first-round pick in 1962 to the Giants for quarterback George Shaw.
- Jim Dunaway opted to sign with the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League (AFL).
- The Vikings traded Jack Snow to the Los Angeles Rams before the start of the 1965 NFL season.
- The Vikings acquired the New York Giants 2nd and 28th (second-round) overall picks from the 1967 draft, the 1st overall pick from the 1968 draft and the 39th (second-round) pick from the 1969 draft in exchange for quarterback Fran Tarkenton.
- The fifteenth pick in 1967 was acquired from the Los Angeles Rams.
- The Vikings first-round pick in 1969 was acquired by the New Orleans Saints.
- The Vikings traded quarterback Joe Kapp to the Boston Patriots in 1970 in exchange for the Patriots' 10th overall pick in 1972.
- The Vikings traded quarterback Bob Lee and linebacker Lonnie Warwick to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for the Falcons' quarterback Bob Berry and the 17th overall pick.
- The Vikings traded their first-round pick (18th overall) to the Baltimore Colts in exchange for Colts' two second-round and one fifth-round draft picks.
- In 1984, The NFL held a three-round supplemental draft for college seniors who had already signed with a USFL or CFL team. The Vikings drafted Allanda Smith who had already signed the Los Angeles Express of the USFL.
- The Vikings traded their second overall pick to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for Falcons' fourth overall pick and a third-round pick (60th overall).
- The Vikings traded their eighth overall and 67th overall (third-round) to the San Diego Chargers in exchange for the Chargers' 14th and 44th (second-round) overall picks.
- The Vikings traded their 16th overall and a fifth-round pick to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the Dolphins' 14th overall pick.
- The Vikings 24th overall pick was acquired by the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for LB Mike Merriweather .
- The Vikings traded linebackers Jesse Solomon, David Howard, cornerback Issiac Holt, running back Darrin Nelson, defensive end Alex Stewart, their 21st, 47th (second-round) and 158th (sixth-round) picks from the 1990 draft, their 11th and 38th (second-round) picks from the 1991 draft, their 40th (second-round) and 71st (third-round) picks from the 1992 draft, and their 13th overall pick in the 1993 draft to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for the Cowboys' running back Herschel Walker, the 54th (third-round), 116th (fifth-round), 249th (tenth-round) picks from 1990 and the 68th (third-round) pick from 1991. The deal, known as the Herschel Walker trade, is the largest player trade in NFL history.
- The Vikings traded offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman to the Denver Broncos in exchange for the Broncos' 18th and 179th (sixth-round) picks in the 1994 draft, and the 42nd (second-round) overall pick in the 1995 draft.
- The Vikings traded defensive end Chris Doleman to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for the Falcons' 40th overall pick in the 1994 draft and the 11th overall pick in the 1995 draft.
- The Vikings traded quarterback Brad Johnson to the Washington Redskins in exchange for the Redskins' 11th and 73rd (third-round) picks in the 1999 draft and the 56th overall (fifth-round) pick in the 2000 draft.
- The Vikings passed on the seventh and eighth overall picks.
- The Vikings traded their 19th overall pick from the 2004 draft to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the Dolphins' 20th and 119th (fourth-round) picks.
- The Vikings traded wide receiver Randy Moss to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for the Raiders' middle linebacker Napoleon Harris and the seventh and 219th (seventh-round) overall picks.
- The Vikings traded their 17th overall pick (first-round), the 73rd and 82nd overall picks (third-round), and 182nd overall pick (sixth-round) in the 2008 draft for defensive end Jared Allen from the Kansas City Chiefs.
- The Vikings traded their 30th overall pick (first-round) and the 128th overall pick (fourth-round) in the 2010 draft to the Detroit Lions for the 34th overall pick (second-round), the 100th overall pick (fourth-round), and the 214th overall pick (seventh-round) in the 2010 draft.
- The Vikings traded their original 3rd overall pick (first-round) in the 2012 draft to the Cleveland Browns for the 4th overall pick (first-round), the 118th overall pick (fourth-round), the 139th overall pick (fifth-round), and the 211th overall pick (seventh-round) in the 2012 draft.
- The Vikings traded the 35th overall pick (second-round) and 98th overall pick (fourth-round) in the 2012 draft to the Baltimore Ravens for the 29th overall pick (first-round) in the 2012 draft.
- The Vikings traded wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks for the 25th overall pick (first-round) and 214th overall pick (seventh-round) in the 2013 draft as well as the Seahawks third-round selection in the 2014 draft.
- The Vikings traded the 52nd overall pick (second-round), 83rd overall pick (third-round), 102nd overall pick (fourth-round), and 229th overall pick (seventh-round) in the 2013 draft to the New England Patriots for the 29th overall pick (first-round) in the 2013 draft.
- The Vikings traded their original 8th overall pick (first-round) in the 2014 draft to the Cleveland Browns for the 9th overall pick (first-round), and the 145th overall pick (fifth-round) in the 2014 draft.
- The Vikings traded their original 40th overall pick (second-round) and 108th overall pick (fourth-round) in the 2014 draft to the Seattle Seahawks for the 32nd overall pick (first-round).
- The Vikings traded their 14th overall pick in the 2017 draft and their fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Sam Bradford.
- Alder, James. "NFL Draft Basics: Determining Order of Selection". football.about.com. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
- "Draft History – Minnesota Vikings". NFL.com. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
- "Minnesota Vikings Draft History". DatabaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on July 3, 2007. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
- "Pro Football Draft History". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
- "Draft by Year". DraftHistory.com. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
- "Hall of Famers by Franchise". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on May 19, 2007. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
- "Minnesota Vikings". Sports E-cyclopedia. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
- "Professional Football Transactions Archives". NC Systems. Archived from the original on November 7, 2007. Retrieved October 19, 2007.