- Ben Goessling, ESPN Staff Writer
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MINNEAPOLIS -- We're continuing our review of the Minnesota Vikings' recent draft history today, with a look at how the team did in 2009:
First-round pick: No. 22 (Percy Harvin, WR, Florida)
Number of picks: 5
Total Draft AV: 109 (T-3rd; Green Bay was the best with a 136 AV)
Highest player AV: Harvin, 39 (4th; Green Bay's Clay Matthews was the best with a 50 AV)
How they did: The 2009 draft, at this point, looks to be one of Rick Spielman's best with the Vikings. He gambled on Harvin when character concerns dropped the dynamic receiver to No. 22, and reaped the benefits both through an electrifying player and a trade package that delivered cornerback Xavier Rhodes (and a third-rounder in this year's draft) when the Vikings finally decided keeping Harvin was untenable. Second-rounder Loadholt has turned into a fixture at right tackle, fifth-rounder Jasper Brinkley is back for his second tour with the Vikings at linebacker, and seventh-rounder Jamarca Sanford has made contributions both as a special teams player and a starting safety.
Pivotal pick: Harvin's failed drug test at the NFL scouting combine had put his draft stock in jeopardy, but the Vikings spent enough time with him before the draft to become convinced they would be able to work with him if they selected him with the 22nd overall pick. He certainly presented some difficult situations for the team in his four seasons with the Vikings, but he proved himself to be a one-of-a-kind talent that could still fetch three draft picks in return when it became clear the Vikings were going to part with him last spring. Even after Harvin clashed with two head coaches, battled migraines and missed nearly half a season with a sprained ankle, it would be tough argue the Vikings weren't better off by rolling the dice on him.
Best pick: As dynamic as Harvin was, Loadholt is the one who could provide the most value in the long run. He's been an important part of the Vikings' offensive line, particularly as a run-blocker, has started all but two games since the team drafted him with the 57th overall pick, and signed a four-year contract with the Vikings just before the start of free agency last March. He's likely to remain on the team's offensive line for years to come.
Worst pick: Third-round pick Asher Allen is the only one who is not still in the league, and the only one the Vikings would probably say didn't work out. He'd started 21 games in three seasons for the Vikings, but had battled concussion issues and abruptly retired before the 2012 season.