It comes as no surprise, but the Vikings lost the last member of their 2005 draft class today when offensive lineman Marcus Johnson reportedly signed with the Oakland Raiders. ESPN had the news of the signing this afternoon.
This closes the door on a draft class that was a complete bust. That hurts even more if you’re the Vikings, given that the team had two first-round picks that year. The first, obtained from Oakland in the Randy Moss trade, was used on wide receiver Troy Williamson. The Vikings then took defensive end Erasmus James 18th overall.
Williamson and James were both jettisoned last offseason with the Vikings getting late-round draft picks from Jacksonville for Williamson and Washington for James. Johnson was then taken in the second round, safety Dustin Fox went in the third round, running back Ciatrick Fason in the fourth round, defensive tackle C.J. Mosley was selected in the sixth round and cornerback Adrian Ward in the seventh.
Johnson’s career in Minnesota got off to a good beginning as he started eight of the 14 games in which he played, including the opening four at right tackle. Coach Mike Tice thought enough of Johnson that he even said the rookie reminded him of Hall of Fame guard Randall McDaniel at one point.
Brad Childress took over in 2006 and Johnson started 10 games at right tackle, but the next season he did not start a game. In 2008, Johnson was active for only seven games and did not make a start.
Rick Spielman, the Vikings vice president of player personnel, was very careful with his words when asked in February about the prospect of having nothing to show from a draft that was conducted only four years ago. Spielman was not in Minnesota at the time. “Hopefully, you’re taking enough talented players that can step in and play, and the younger guys that we do draft are able to go out there and compete to where you don’t miss that,” Spielman said.
A look at where members of the 2005 draft class have landed. (James, Fason and Ward appear to be out of the NFL at this point.)
1) Troy Williamson, WR, seventh-overall pick, on the Jaguars roster. Played with Vikings from 2005-2007.
1) Erasmus James, DE, 18th overall, released by Redskins last December. Played with Vikings from 2005-2007.
2) Marcus Johnson, OL, 49th overall, signed by the Raiders on Monday. Played with Vikings from 2005-08.
3) Dustin Fox, S, 80th overall, spent time in 2008 on Bills roster and was retained by the club in February. Is not listed among Vikings alumni. He was released by the Vikings in September 2006.
4) Ciatrick Fason, RB, 112th overall, spent a few days with Jacksonville last season but was released. Played with Vikings in 2005-06.
6) C.J. Mosley, DT, 191st overall, was the Vikings’ best pick in the draft but was shipped to the Jets in the Brooks Bollinger trade late in training camp in 2006. Mosley reportedly received a two-year, free-agent contract worth about $5 million from Cleveland in March after spending three seasons with New York. Played with Vikings in 2005.
7) Adrian Ward, CB, 219th overall, was let go in the final cutdown in 2005.