May 13, 2014

2014 NFL Draft Review: Minnesota Vikings

#5 Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Minnesota Vikings
Division: NFC North | Last Season Record: 5-10-1

What Needed to be addressed in the Draft: Christian Ponder has struggled thus far, so it was a safe bet that a quarterback would have been drafted early. Besides guard, the Vikings don't have pressing needs on offense, but adding another receiver and a running back to compliment Adrian Peterson would make sense.

Looking to improve on defense, the Vikings had several holes to fill. The defensive line is solid, but it would have made sense to add another pass rusher. The entire linebacker core could have been upgraded. That would mean more than one new starter would suffice. I could have also seen the Vikings drafting a corner to bump Captain Munnerlyn inside, and Harrison Smith could use a running mate in the back end.

Individual Draft Picks:

Round 1

9. (9) Anthony Barr, OLB
Experience: Senior | School: UCLA
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 247 lbs.

32. (32) Teddy Bridgewater*, QB
Experience: Junior | School: Louisville
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 208 lbs.

Round 3

8. (72) Scott Crichton*, DE
Experience: Junior (RS) | School: Oregon State
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 269 lbs.

32. (96) Jerick McKinnon, RB
Experience: Senior | School: Georgia Southern
Height: 5-9 | Weight: 207 lbs.

Round 5

5. (145) David Yankey*, OG
Experience: Junior (RS) | School: Stanford
Height: 6-6 | Weight: 317 lbs.

Round 6

6. (182) Antone Exum, CB
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Virginia Tech
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 219 lbs.

8. (184) Kendall James, CB
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Maine
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 180 lbs.

Round 7

5. (220) Shamar Stephen, DT
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Connecticut
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 307 lbs.

8. (223) Brandon Watts, OLB
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Georgia Tech
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 225 lbs.

10. (225) Jabari Price, CB
Experience: Senior | School: North Carolina
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 201 lbs.

Two Picks of Note:

Best Value Pick:

Teddy Bridgewater*, QB (Round 1, Pick 32)
Experience: Junior | School: Louisville
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 208 lbs.

Analysis: The Vikings got good value with several of their picks, but when you get the draft's best quarterback with the last pick of round one, you're getting nothing less than an absolute steal. Teddy Bridgewater was my #4 overall prospect in this draft, and should have been a top 10 pick. They had to trade back into the first by giving up their second and third round picks, but that's nothing if indeed you landed a franchise quarterback.

Most Questionable Pick:

Jerick McKinnon, RB (Round 3, Pick 32)
Experience: Senior | School: Georgia Southern
Height: 5-9 | Weight: 207 lbs.

Analysis: Jerick McKinnon really helped himself at the combine, but not enough to where a team should have spent a late-third round pick on him. It's not a terrible pick my any means, but they could have drafted a similar back in the later rounds.

Undrafted Free Agent Signings:

Most Notable

Antonio Richardson*, OT
Experience: Junior | School: Tennessee
Height: 6-6 | Weight: 326 lbs.

Analysis: I honestly don't have a clue how Richardson went undrafted. He was once thought to be a first round pick. His technique needs work, yes, but when he uses his hands well, he can be flat out dominant. He's more talented that his former teammate Ja'Wuan James, who went in the first round.

Other Free Agent Signings

Pierce Burton, OT, Ole Miss
Zac Kerin, C, Toledo
Jake Snyder, DE, Virginia
Kain Colter, WR, Northwestern
Tyler Scott, DL, Northwestern
Dominique Williams, RB, Wagner
AC Leonard, TE, Tennessee State
Donte Foster, WR, Ohio
Matt Hall, OT, Belhaven
Connor Bofeli, OL, Iowa
Austin Wentworth, OL, Fresno State
Rakim Cox, DE, Villanova

Draft Review:

Analysis: The Vikings moved down one spot, picked up a 5th, and got their guy in Anthony Barr. Some viewed Barr as more of a late first round prospect, but I think he was worth a top 10 pick. He has tremendous upside as a pass rusher, and should be a SAM linebacker in Mike Zimmer's defense.

They then turned a round a jumped ahead of Houston with the last pick of round one to select the best quarterback in this year's class, Teddy Bridgewater. It was an excellent first round to say the least.

Scott Crichton had a chance to sneak into the first round, so he was an excellent value pick in the third round. The Vikings now have an impressive trio of defensive ends with Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, and now Scott Crichton.

While I wasn't a big fan of the McKinnon pick, I think he'll compliment Adrian Peterson nicely (though he shouldn't get too many carries), and gives them another play maker on offense.

Some thought David Yankey was the best guard in the draft at one point in time. He should have come off the board before round 5, but that's exactly where the Vikings got him. He should step right in and solidify the left guard spot.

Three of their last 5 picks were spent on corners, and the most notable is Antone Exum. He tore his ACL in a pickup basketball game in the off-season, as was limited on the field. He's big, and if he's healthy, should be able to start on the outside, but his best fit may be at safety.

The other two corners (Kendall James, 6th Round; Jabari Price; 7th Round) were borderline draftable prospects, as was outside linebacker Brandon Watts (7th Round). Defensive tackle Shamar Stephen will provide good depth up front.

The Verdict: The Vikings, had a very good draft. They landed a franchise quarterback, a talented pass rusher, a starting guard, and ultimately, they got really good value on most of their picks. I would have liked to see them add another receiver, and I wish they would have used their late round picks a little bit better, but GM Rick Spielman and his team made out well.

Overall Grade: B+