The Minnesota Vikings have made a habit out of assembling first round picks and that’s what general manager Rick Spielman did this year after trading into the end of the first round to take quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who was at one point viewed as a candidate to be the first player taken and at least the top signal-caller in the draft.
Best pick: Anthony Barr
Worst pick: Jerick McKinnon
Analysis: Barr is the best player the team drafted, butyou can certainly make the case that Bridgewater was the best pick. Barr will be a pass-rushing force off the edge and help to replicate the sack numbers of the departed Jared Allen, and so will third round pick Scott Crichton who is a highly-underrated defensive end prospect.
McKinnon is a small school running back from an option-heavy program at Georgia Southern who can spell Adrian Peterson and learn from one of the greatest of all-time, but with Ka’Deem Carey and Andre Williams still on the board, the Vikings turned their sights away from two of the more productive backs in college last year, and in the case of Carey, the last two years.
The Vikings got great value in fifth and sixth rounders David Yankey and Antone Exum, respectively. Yankey was an All-American guard at Stanford and has experience at tackle, but was dinged in the predraft process. Exum, had he been healthy, likely would have found himself in the second or third round conversation, so if he can stay healthy, this is a nice sleeper pick.
I thought the Vikings did well in finding some core special teamers and added to their depth on defense, particularly their secondary with their sixth and seventh round picks.
The draft will ultimately be judged on the success or failure of Bridgewater who can be groomed to take over for Matt Cassel in 2015 and therefore can bulk up and learn the offense without being thrown to the fire. Bridgewater had an exceptional college career at Louisville that had many believing he would be a high first rounder, but after a disastrous pro day, his stock began to spiral downward. If he doesn’t work out, then Spielman will be looking for a new job, but if it works out, he’ll be labeled a genius.