Minnesota Vikings 2014 NFL Draft Review
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
1 (9) - Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA; 1 (32) - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville; 3 (72) Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State; 3 (96) - Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern; 5 (145) - David Yankey, OG, Stanford; 6 (182) - Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech; 6 (184) - Kendall James, CB, Maine; 7 (220) Stephen Shamar, DT, UConn; 7 (223) Brandon Watts, OLB, Georgia Tech; 7 (225) - Jabari Price, CB, North Carolina
Top Pick Analysis: Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has been criticized a lot for missing so badly on Christian Ponder with the 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft. Now it's time to give him credit for learning from his mistakes.
Spielman has now amassed seven first-round picks in the last three NFL drafts -- Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith in 2012, Shariff Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and the explosive Cordarrelle Patterson from last year, and now Anthony Barr and Teddy Bridgewater in 2014.
Barr is raw, spending just two years on defense at UCLA after flipping from running back, but his athletic skills are off the charts and some look at him and think Jason Taylor.
"I've never had a linebacker, even thinking back to my Dallas days, that has the size and speed and all the things that this guy has," Vikings first- year head coach Mike Zimmer when talking about Barr.
The key to the Vikings draft, though, will be Bridgewater because Minnesota needs the answer at the game's most important position. That said, getting a player with the 32nd overall pick who was once considered a top-five-level prospect is a prudent gamble.
"There is no pressure on this kid to come in and play," Spielman said. "We're very comfortable with Matt Cassel right now. We're very comfortable with Christian Ponder. He'll come in and compete and then the coaches will determine if he's even ready to play this year."
Third-round defensive end Scott Crichton, meanwhile, is tailor-made for Zimmer's rotational style of defense up front, and the insanely-gifted Jerick McKinnon will be given every opportunity to replace the departed Toby Gerhart as Adrian Peterson's caddy.
Best Value Pick: It remains to be seen if he's athletic enough but fifth-round offensive guard David Yankey is a physical, road-grader who could push Charlie Johnson at left guard for the Vikings
Questionable Calls: McKinnon has frightening physical gifts but he is a very raw player and it's going to be difficult to get him on the field except in very manufactured situations.
Summary: Spielman had done a nice job adding talent, especially in the guts of the draft. Now, he's just got to get the quarterback position right and Bridgewater's fate will ultimately define this draft.
FINAL GRADE: B
Undrafted rookie free agent signings: WR Kain Colter, Northwestern; C Zac Kerin, Toledo; OL Austin Wentworth, Fresno State; TE A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State; DE Tyler Scott, Northwestern; OT Pierce Burton, Ole Miss; DE Jake Snyder, Virginia; RB Dominique Williams, Wagner; OT Antonio Richardson, Tennessee; OT Matt Hall, Belhaven; WR Donte Foster, Ohio; DE Rakim Cox, Villanova; OL Austin Wentworth, Fresno State; OL Connor Bofeli, Iowa; WR Erik Lora, Eastern Illinois
05/12 12:46:54 ET