MINNEAPOLIS -- We're going to spend some time over the next week or so looking at the history of players drafted at the seven spots where the Minnesota Vikings are scheduled to pick at the end of this month. Starting with the Vikings' first-round pick at No. 11, there's a strong recent run of success, including three players who might be on the road to Canton. Let's look at the particulars:
11th overall pick
Positions drafted in last 10 years: T 3, DE 2, LB 2, DT 1, CB 1, QB 1
2005: Dallas Cowboys: DeMarcus Ware, LB, Troy -- After 10 years in the league, eight Pro Bowls and four first-team All-Pro nods, Ware is still going strong. He got a three-year deal from the Denver Broncos before the 2014 season, and finished with 10 sacks. Ware has led the league in sacks twice, finishing with 20 in 2006, and has 127 for his career. He'll have a shot at the Hall of Fame.
2006: Denver Broncos: Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt -- He's been a starter for eight years and made one Pro Bowl, but still might be among the most enigmatic quarterbacks in the league. A year after the Chicago Bears gave him $54 million in guaranteed money, a new regime is cautiously moving forward with Cutler as the QB for now. He's 61-58 as a starting quarterback in his career.
2007: San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Willis, LB, Mississippi -- Willis became the foundation of the 49ers' great defenses in recent years. Willis made seven Pro Bowls and earned five first-team All-Pro selections in eight seasons, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2007 and helping the 49ers reach Super Bowl XLVII. He retired at age 30 after missing 10 games last season, but if he'd continued on with his career, he'd have an even better shot at the Hall of Fame.
2008: Buffalo Bills: Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy -- He's played seven seasons with the Bills, but has only been a full-time starting cornerback for two of them. McKelvin's best work might be as a return man; he has brought back three punts and a kickoff for touchdowns, and led the NFL in punt return average in 2012.
2009: Buffalo Bills: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State -- Maybin is unquestionably the biggest bust of the last decade at the spot. He played just two seasons with the Bills, didn't record a sack for the team and left the NFL with just six career sacks. He retired in 2014 after a season in the CFL.
2010: San Francisco 49ers: Anthony Davis, T, Rutgers -- Davis was selected at age 20, but has become a fixture of the 49ers' line, starting every game of his career at right tackle until he missed nine games with injuries in 2014.
2011: Houston Texans: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin -- Once his career is done, Watt could go down as the best defensive player of his generation. He's been a first-team All-Pro in three of his four seasons, registered 20 1/2 sacks twice, won Defensive Player of the Year honors twice and last year became the first defensive lineman to score five touchdowns in a season since 1944. He's probably the best defensive player in the game right now, and he just turned 26.
2012: Kansas City Chiefs: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis -- Another defensive lineman who is off to an impressive start, Poe has made two Pro Bowls in three years with the Chiefs. At 346 pounds, he swallows up space in the middle of the Chiefs' defensive line, and he's got surprising speed for a man his size; he's posted 10 1/2 sacks in the last two seasons.
2013: San Diego Chargers: D.J. Fluker, T, Alabama -- He's started every game he's played at right tackle for the Chargers the last two years and has alternated between impressive moments and unseemly ones; according to Pro Football Focus, Fluker has given up seven sacks in each of his first two seasons.
2014: Tennessee Titans: Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan -- Lewan started six games as a rookie, and pleaded guilty last fall to two misdemeanor charges stemming from a bar fight following Michigan's 2013 loss to Ohio State. He played well as a rookie before hurting his ankle.