The Minnesota Vikings moved down one spot in a draft day trade with the Cleveland Browns again. The Vikings swapped the eighth pick for the ninth pick and a fifth round choice with the Browns. The Browns had earlier traded down from the fourth spot.
The Vikings grabbed the best size/athleticism combination player in the draft in outside linebacker Anthony Barr from the University of California-Los Angeles. Barr began his collegiate career as a running back, but the 6-foot-5-inch, 255-pound athlete wanted to move to the defensive side of the ball.
He moved to defensive end and became an instant impact player. He used his tremendous speed to make plays in the backfield. He is a pure pass rusher. He needs to learn the technical things and recognition skills that come with repetitions.
“He’s only been a defensive end for two years,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said in his draft analysis on NFL.com. “He needs experience. When you watch the tape, does he look Jason Taylor or what? There’s a lot of upside, and (new head coach) Mike Zimmer and his staff will get it out of him.”
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and Zimmer said they see him as a strong side (SAM) linebacker with incumbent starter Chad Greenway likely moving to the middle.
Barr finished last season with 65 total tackles, 20 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks. He also forced five fumbles and recovered four fumbles. He was a pure pass rusher that needs to work on his game in space and off the line of scrimmage.
The Vikings will have either found an extremely freakish athlete football player or just and extremely freakish athlete. It may be a high risk/high reward selection in the top 10.
Bridgewater caps first round
The Vikings finished the night by trading their second round pick (40th overall) and a fourth round pick (108) to select quarterback Teddy Bridgewater from the University of Louisville. Bridgewater was the No. 1 overall pick when the season ended, but a reported poor pro day pushed his stock down further and further.
“That (pro day) workout is something I’ve been fighting for a couple months now,” Mayock said in his draft analysis on NFL.com. “His pro day didn’t confirm what I saw on the game tape. But he needs to get stronger. Bridgewater has the intangibles; he’s smart.”
The Vikings win out by giving up just a fourth round pick to move up eight spots - ahead of the Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay. They not only get the best quarterback, but also get a fifth-year option on his contract.
Bridgewater put up big numbers at Louisville. He completed 71 percent of his passes for 3,970 yards and 31 touchdowns while throwing four interceptions. He is not a runner with just 78 net rushing yards and one touchdown.
With a year or two learning from Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner and likely starting Matt Cassel, Bridgewater can be a franchise NFL quarterback - which is something the team has not had in a long time.