The Minnesota Vikings have selected a guard only once in the first round of the NFL draft, and that pick resulted in some initial grumbling.

In 1988, the Vikings took Randall McDaniel of Arizona State with the No. 19 selection. McDaniel recalled his early interactions with then-coach Jerry Burns after he showed up in Minnesota.

“Burnsie gave me a hard time,” McDaniel remembered. “He said he wasn’t happy with them taking a lineman in the first round.”

It didn’t take long for Burns to change his tune. After a strong rookie season, McDaniel went on to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In 1988, the Vikings took Randall McDaniel of Arizona State with the No. 19 selection. McDaniel recalled his early interactions with then-coach Jerry Burns after he showed up in Minnesota.

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“Burnsie gave me a hard time,” McDaniel remembered. “He said he wasn’t happy with them taking a lineman in the first round.”

It didn’t take long for Burns to change his tune. After a strong rookie season, McDaniel went on to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“At the Christmas party (in 1988), he was the happiest man in the world,” McDaniel said. “He literally put my wife (Marianne), then my fiancé, in a headlock and said, ‘He’s one of the best players we’ve ever picked.’ ”

Flash forward 33 years and there’s a chance the Vikings could take a guard in the first round for the second time in their 61-year history. When the three-day draft gets underway Thursday, a possible selection at No. 14 is USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker.

Even if the Vikings go another route, they could end a long drought of taking a player at several other positions in the first round. The last defensive end they selected in the first round was Erasmus James at No. 18 in 2005, and the last tackle was Matt Kalil at No. 4 in 2012.

The Vikings need help on the offensive line. If they don’t take a guard, they could go with a possible starter at left tackle to replace the departed Riley Reiff. They likely would need to trade up to land one of the top two tackle prospects — Penei Sewell of Oregon and Rashawn Slater of Northwestern — but they likely could get Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw at No. 14.

At defensive end, Minnesota could take Miami’s Jaelan Phillips or Michigan’s Kwity Paye, the two best edge rushers in a draft class without much depth.

Or the Vikings could trade down and perhaps still get Vera-Tucker, Darrisaw, Phillips or Paye later in the first round.

Vera-Tucker played left guard in 2019 and left tackle in 2020, and draft analyst and former Vikings safety Corey Chavous said “he played guard at a higher level.” So he could go down as the second guard taken by the Vikings in the first round since their initial draft in 1961.

“It does surprise me,” McDaniel said of still being the franchise’s only first-round guard.

The Vikings never have taken a tight end, punter or kicker in the first round. Otherwise, their longest first-round position droughts are at guard, defensive end, running back and tackle. The Vikings have selected a running back in the first round 10 times, more than at any other position, but the last to go in that spot was Adrian Peterson in 2007.

The Vikings’ second-most prevalent position group in the first round has been defensive end, with nine players picked. But they haven’t taken one at that spot since James.

James started nine of the 15 games he played as a rookie in 2005. making four sacks before he was bogged down by injuries. He appeared in just eight games for Minnesota in 2006 and 2007, then was out of the NFL after a five-game stint with Washington in 2008.

“He was a pretty good prospect coming out of Wisconsin,” said Chavous, James’ teammate in 2005. “He was a pretty good rotational player for us (in 2005). The potential was there, but part of it is whether you can stay healthy.”

That was an issue with Kalil, as well. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie out of USC but had health issues in each of his next four season with the Vikings. He started all 16 games for Carolina in 2017, but wasn’t the same player he was early in his career, and it turned out to be his final season.

The Vikings replaced Kalil at left tackle in 2017 with Reiff, whom Detroit had taken at No. 23 in the first round in 2012. But Reiff was released last month in a salary-related move.

So will the Vikings look to replace Reiff by taking a tackle in the first round? Will they go with a guard and move an in-house candidate to left tackle? Or will they select a defensive end to help their ailing pass rush, and worry about an offensive lineman later in the draft?

Whichever way they go, it looks as if they will end one of their longest first-round position droughts.