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. 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).
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. That selection was provided by the expansion draft, held on January 26, 1961. In this draft, the existing franchises listed players from which the Vikings could select to switch to the new team. 
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.
Rules of the Draft
Every existing NFL team except the Dallas Cowboys listed eight of its thirty-eight 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||SE||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|
- Pro Football Hall of Fame - 1961 Draft
- Dbasefootball - 1961 Draft
- 1961 American Football League Draft
- "1961 NFL Draft". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/history/release.jsp?release_id=1451. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
- "Minnesota Vikings". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/history/team.jsp?franchise_id=18. Retrieved 2007-04-24.
- "History: 1961 Draft". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/history/general/draft/1961.jsp. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
- "Minnesota Vikings". http://www.ticketkingstpaul.com/Event.aspx?EventID=16154. Retrieved 2008-10-21.