Football Memo

NFC North Draft Grades: Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings have traded up to take the last pick of the first round.
Defensive end/linebacker Anthony Barr

Defensive end/linebacker Anthony Barr

Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings had a good draft, adding talented players across the board with their 10 selections. What will ultimately decide whether this was a decent, or a great draft, will come down to if Anthony Barr and Teddy Bridgewater turn into quality NFL starters? Minnesota shocked many by taking Barr at No. 9 overall. Barr will most likely be used as a defensive end in their 4-3 scheme, or could possible become a rush linebacker if the Vikings vary their schemes, and move to a 3-4. Barr has only played defense for two seasons, and is a developing prospect. He has all the physical tools to be a dominant player, but his instincts and overall technique must improve if he’s to realize his potential. Minnesota traded back into the first round to grab Louisville quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater with the 32nd-overall selection. Bridgewater was a very productive college quarterback, and his toughness and leadership cannot be questioned. However, his accuracy has been spotty, and quarterbacks usually have trouble improving this area. The Vikings brought in defensive end Scott Crichton with a third-round selection, in hopes he can help lessen the blow of losing beloved DE Jared Allen. Crichton plays extremely hard, and is a rangy player (6-3, 273), but will need to improve his pass-rush technique if he wants to become a dual-threat defensive end. The Vikings also added ‘offensive weapon’ Jerick McKinnon in the third round. McKinnon played quarterback and running back at Georgia Southern, and should provide some big-play ability for the Vikings at back, receiver, or as a returner. Minnesota also stole guard David Yankey, who somehow slipped into the fifth round. Yankey is not a great athlete, but is technically sound and tough. Defensive backs Antone Exum, Kendall James and Jabari Price bring in some depth to an average secondary. The Vikings didn’t go the safe route early in the draft – selecting boom-or-bust prospects like Barr and Bridgewater took guts. If it works out, the Vikings will soon jump into contention in the NFC North. If it doesn’t … the road back to respectability could take longer than expected.
Grade: B-

Minnesota Vikings – 2014 Draft Selections
1 (9) Anthony Barr, OLB/DE, 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, OT, Stanford
6 (182) Antone Exum, DB, Virginia Tech
6 (184) Kendall James, DB, Maine
7 (220) Shamar Stephen, NT, UConn
7 (223) Brandon Watts, LB, Georgia Tech
7 (225) Jabari Price, DB, North Carolina

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