With their two picks at No. 23 and No. 25 (via trade with Seattle for Percy Harvin), they took Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
Floyd was considered a top-10 pick and fell all the way to them at 23, while Rhodes was generally considered one of the top three cornerbacks in the draft because of his 6-foot-1 frame that also boasts top-end speed.
That's a good haul for the Vikings, but they weren't done. They made a bold play to move back into the first round at No. 29, giving up a second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round pick to the New England Patriots to select Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
"We were very, very aggressive there," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman told ESPN.
Patterson spent only one season at Tennessee after playing at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, but his dynamic playmaking ability made him the second-best receiver available in the draft behind Tavon Austin in most analysts' minds.
The Vikings finished the day with three first-round selections, the first team to have more than two since the St. Louis Rams in 2001.
Here's how Thursday's first round played out for the four teams in NFC North:
What Lions had to say: Lions general manager Martin Mayhew: "Ziggy Ansah, phenomenal athlete, a guy that fills a big need for us. A guy with tremendous athletic ability ... size, speed, power, all those things. He's going to fit in well with our coaching staff and our team. I think the opportunity to coach him at the Senior Bowl really provided us with an opportunity to see what this guy is capable of and we're really excited to have him."
Twentyman comment: Ansah fills a big need for the Lions and has tremendous upside. The Lions had only three defensive ends on the roster heading into Thursday night and now have a versatile player they can move around and he fits their scheme. There's some worry that Ansah, who's only been playing football since 2010, might take a little time to develop. But there's also the potential that his extreme athleticism translates seamlessly to the NFL.
No. 20: Kyle Long, G, Oregon
What Bears had to say: Bears general manager Phil Emery (via chicagobears.com): "Obviously he's got to earn his way, just like all players do. But we see a player that's going to contribute right away. Despite his limited time at Oregon, he was a starter at the end of the season. He did very well. His Senior Bowl was excellent. I thought he was the best offensive lineman on the field at the Senior Bowl, so we expect him to contribute right away."
Twentyman comment: In his only season at Oregon last year, he appeared in 11 games with five starts at left guard. That doesn't wow me, but the 6-6, 313-pounder is a heck of an athlete and he did have a pretty good Senior Bowl. It fills a need for the Bears, but there are some question marks surrounding Long's readiness to step in right away and start.
No. 23: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
No. 25: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
No. 29: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
What Vikings had to say: Vikings general manager Rick Spielman (via Minneapolis Star Tribune) On Floyd: "With Sharrif Floyd, I went through 1,000 scenarios with that 23rd and 25th pick," he said, "And I can just tell you honestly that he was not (available) in one of those scenarios."
Spielman on Rhodes: "[Rhodes] was very high on our board at the corner and I know we tried to emphasize getting bigger corners. That was kind of our criteria. ... I think he has the instincts to play zone. But he plays a lot of press and he's a shutdown press corner. As big a corner as you can get. He can run. He has ball skills. And he can run support."
Spielman on Patterson: "When you watch the tape on him, when they put him in the backfield and pitched him the ball, if you throw him a bubble screen, when you see him go downfield, you're talking about a 6-1, 215-pound receiver who runs a 4.3 second 40. He's electric with the ball in his hands."
Twentyman comment: I'm starting to wonder why Floyd fell so far. What don't we know? But on paper it seems the Vikings got three starting-caliber players at three positions of need. You can't really ask for more than that. The Lions are hoping to get 3-4 out of this draft.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
No. 26: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
What Packers had to say: Packers general manager Ted Thompson (via Green Bay Press Gazette): "He can run, he's got quickness,. He played nose tackle in some of their sets. We think he'll be really good in some of our (passing down) packages and again add a little something to our group."
Twentyman comment: The Packers like position versatility in their scheme and Jones has the right skill set to step inside and be part of their interior rush rotation. The Packers needed to get better on the interior and Jones gives then a lot of flexibility.