The 1961 NFL expansion draft was a National Football League (NFL) draft in which a new expansion team, named the Minnesota Vikings, selected its first players. That selection was provided by the expansion draft, held on January 26, 1961.
In August 1959, a group of Minneapolis businessmen were awarded a franchise in the new American Football League (AFL). In January 1960, they forfeited their AFL membership and were awarded a 90% stake in the 14th franchise of the NFL (the other 10%, under a decades-old agreement, went to former Duluth Kelleys/Eskimos owner Ole Haugsrud). Though the ownership group had participated in the 1960 American Football League draft before jumping leagues to the NFL, they did not take any of the players they selected in that draft with them. As such, they entered the 1961 draft with an empty roster. So that the Vikings could become competitive with existing teams, the league awarded the Vikings the first pick in the 1961 NFL draft and gave them the opportunity to select current players from existing teams. In the expansion draft, the existing franchises listed players from which the Vikings could select to switch to the new team.
Every existing NFL team except the Dallas Cowboys listed eight of its 38 players, and the Vikings selected three players on the list from each team.
|Player||Position||College Team||Original NFL Team|
|Grady Alderman||Guard||Detroit||Detroit Lions|
|Tom Barnett||Halfback||Purdue||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Byron Beams||Tackle||Notre Dame||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Ken Beck||Defensive tackle||Texas A&M||Green Bay Packers|
|Bill Bishop||Defensive tackle||North Texas State||Chicago Bears|
|Don Boll||Tackle||Nebraska||New York Giants|
|Ed Culpepper||Defensive tackle||Alabama||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Don Ellersick||Flanker||Washington State||Los Angeles Rams|
|Dick Haley||Defensive back||Pittsburgh||Washington Redskins|
|Gerry Huth||Guard||Wake Forest||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Charlie Janerette||Guard||Penn State||Los Angeles Rams|
|Gene Johnson||Defensive back||Cincinnati||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Don Joyce||Defensive end||Tulane||Baltimore Colts|
|Bill Kimber||End||Florida State||New York Giants|
|Bill Lapham||Center||Iowa||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Hugh McElhenny||Halfback||Washington||San Francisco 49ers|
|Dave Middleton||End||Auburn||Detroit Lions|
|Jack Morris||Defensive back||Oregon||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Rich Mostardi||Defensive back||Kent State||Cleveland Browns|
|Fred Murphy||End||Georgia Tech||Cleveland Browns|
|Clancy Osborne||Linebacker||Arizona State||San Francisco 49ers|
|Dick Pesonen||Defensive back||Minnesota-Duluth||Green Bay Packers|
|Mike Rabold||Guard||Indiana||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Perry Richards||Split end||Detroit||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Bill Roehnelt||Linebacker||Bradley||Washington Redskins|
|Karl Rubke||Linebacker||USC||San Francisco 49ers|
|Gene Selawski||Tackle||Purdue||Cleveland Browns|
|Glenn Shaw||Fullback||Kentucky||Chicago Bears|
|Lebron Shields||Defensive tackle||Tennessee||Baltimore Colts|
|Zeke Smith||Linebacker||Auburn||Baltimore Colts|
|Jerry Stalcup||Linebacker||Wisconsin||Los Angeles Rams|
|Louis "Red" Stephens||Guard||San Francisco||Washington Redskins|
|Charlie Sumner||Defensive back||William & Mary||Chicago Bears|
|Dave Whitsell||Defensive back||Indiana||Detroit Lions|
|Paul Winslow||Halfback||North Carolina Central||Green Bay Packers|
|Frank Youso||Tackle||Minnesota||New York Giants|
William Gaius Lapham (February 2, 1934 – November 8, 2016) was an American football center who played two seasons in the National Football League (NFL) with the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings. He was drafted by the Eagles in the fourteenth round of the 1958 NFL Draft. He was also drafted by the Houston Oilers in the 1960 American Football League draft as well as by the Vikings in the 1961 NFL expansion draft. Lapham first enrolled at Drake University before transferring to the University of Iowa. He attended Abraham Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa. He died in Des Moines in 2016 at the age of 82.Dick Pesonen
Dick Pesonen is a former defensive back in the National Football League. Pesonen first played with the Green Bay Packers during the 1960 NFL season. He was later selected in the 1961 NFL Expansion Draft by the Minnesota Vikings and played that season with the team. From there he played three seasons with the New York Giants.Ed Culpepper
Ed Culpepper (born Robert Edward Culpepper) is a former defensive tackle in the National Football League. He played two seasons with the Chicago Cardinals before moving with the team to St. Louis, Missouri before the 1960 NFL season. Culpepper was later selected in the 1961 NFL Expansion Draft by the Minnesota Vikings and would play with the team during the 1961 NFL season. He would play his final two professional seasons with the Houston Oilers of the American Football League.Expansion draft
An expansion draft, in professional sports, occurs when a sports league decides to create one or more new expansion teams or franchises. This occurs mainly in North American sports. One of the ways of stocking the new team or teams is an expansion draft. Although how each league conducts them varies, and they vary from occasion to occasion, the system is usually something similar to the following:
Each existing team is told it can "protect" a certain number of its existing contracted players by furnishing their names to the league office on or before a certain date. The expansion team(s) then are allowed to select players not on the protected lists in a manner somewhat similar to an entry draft. There are generally a maximum number of players that can be selected from any one team, at least without the team losing the player receiving something in compensation such as a future entry draft pick.
Teams subject to losing players usually tend to put most if not all of the players they truly need to stay competitive on the protected list. This means that the expansion franchise is usually left to choose among players who are old, injury prone, failing to develop as the teams had intended, or perhaps so highly compensated that a team wishes to remove them from the payroll. For this reason, expansion teams are often noncompetitive in their early years in a league, although the advent of the free agent system has modified this somewhat. Marc-André Fleury, who won three Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, is a notable exception of a star player in their prime being left exposed in an expansion draft, being made available for the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft after Fleury was made expendable due to the rise of Matt Murray at goaltender. The rules of the draft can be tweaked by the league to make the expansion team more competitive if that is the business objective of the league's expansion.Most teams seem to try largely to make a team which will serve until it can begin to develop its own talent, although occasionally players discarded by their old teams benefit from the change in environment and become stars, either again or for the first time.
A similar process occurs when an existing franchise is disbanded and the players contracted to it become available to the remaining teams; this process is referred to as a dispersal draft.Hugh McElhenny
Hugh Edward McElhenny Jr. (born December 31, 1928) is a former professional American football player who was a halfback in the National Football League (NFL) from 1952 to 1964 for the San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, and Detroit Lions. He was noted for his explosive, elusive running style and was frequently called "The King" and "Hurryin' Hugh". A member of San Francisco's famed Million Dollar Backfield and one of the franchise's most popular players, McElhenny's number 39 jersey is retired by the 49ers and he is a member of the San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame.
McElhenny first rose to stardom as a standout all-around player for Compton Junior College in 1948. He then transferred to the University of Washington, where he was a two-time All-Pacific Coast Conference fullback for the Washington Huskies football team and set several school and conference records. He was drafted by the 49ers with the ninth pick in the 1951 NFL Draft, and his versatility made him an immediate star in the league, earning him five first-team All-Pro honors in his first six seasons. With the 49ers, he was selected for five Pro Bowls, and he earned a sixth Pro Bowl appearance with the Vikings. He finished his career after short stints with the Giants and Lions.
An all-around player who was a threat as a runner and a receiver and also returned kickoffs and punts, McElhenny had amassed the third most all-purpose yards of any player in NFL history when he retired. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, "Hugh McElhenny was to pro football in the 1950s and early 1960s what Elvis Presley was to rock and roll," a reference to both his popularity and his nickname.Jerry Stalcup
Jerry Stalcup (born November 19, 1938) is a former linebacker in the National Football League. Stalcup was drafted in the sixth round of the 1960 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams and played that season with the team. He was later drafted in the 1961 NFL Expansion Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, but instead went on to play two seasons with the Denver Broncos of the American Football League. In 1965, he returned to his high school in Rockford to serve as the defensive coordinator. In 1974, he and head Coach Robert Pellant led Rockford East to a state championship in the first year the high school football playoffs were held in Illinois.Paul Winslow (American football)
Paul Winslow is a former defensive back in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the thirteenth round of the 1960 NFL Draft and played that season with the team.In the 1961 NFL Expansion Draft Paul Winslow was Selected, for the newly created NFL franchise, the Minnesota Vikings .
|Early era (1936–1959)|
|AFL and NFL era (1960–1966)|
|Common draft (1967–1969)|
|Modern era (1970–present)|
|Division championships (20)|
|Conference championships (4)|
|League championships (1)|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold