Vikings 'Ponder' Whether To Start Bridgewater at QB

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, May 15, 2014 6:31 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 15, 2014 6:31 PM UTC

The Vikings got aggressive when Teddy Bridgewater was available with the last pick of the first round, so Minnesota traded up to get the former Louisville star. He is 12/1 on Bovada's NFL odds to win the 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.

Team's Second QB Choice
In an interesting twist, the Vikings originally didn't want Bridgewater but Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel. Minnesota was working on a trade with Philadelphia for the No. 22 overall pick, but the Eagles apparently liked Cleveland's offer better. Minnesota had Manziel rated as the top overall quarterback on the board.

With that deal scuttled and the Browns taking Johnny Football, Vikings GM Rick Spielman sent Seattle a second-round pick (No. 40 overall) and a fourth-rounder (No. 108) to get the last pick of the first round. That pick has become much more valuable since the NFL moved the first round to a standalone day. Minnesota knew that Houston, picking first in the second round, badly needed a quarterback and likely would have taken Bridgewater. It really was a move the Vikings had to make with their current QBs being the less-than-impressive Matt Cassel and former first-round pick Christian Ponder.

Bridgewater was once considered possible to go No. 1 overall, but he had a lousy pro day and then scouts starting picking him apart. He does have a small frame and small hands -- the latter could be a problem with Minnesota playing outdoors the next two years. One of the knocks on Bridgewater was he can be affected by cold and windy conditions. It's going to be cold and windy in Minnesota for likely all of November and December. Bridgewater never started a game in freezing temperatures while in college.

New Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has already said that "Teddy will play when we feel like he's ready, if he's the best guy, which we hope that he will be. We always want to have competition.” It can only help Bridgewater that he can hand off frequently to the best back in the NFL, Adrian Peterson.

Speaking of Peterson, reports are this could be his final year with the Vikings as Peterson will be 30 next March. That's the age when running backs typically start trending downward. The Vikings would face only a $2.4 million cap hit if they cut him after the 2014 season. I'm sure they'd prefer to trade Peterson. Minnesota overlooked a few more high-profile running backs as potential Peterson replacements down the line when it took Georgia Southern's Jerick McKinnon with its third-round pick. He began his college career as a cornerback before moving to quarterback in Georgia Southern's triple-option offense. The Vikings needed a backup after losing Toby Gerhart to free agency.

NFL futures pick for the Vikings season win total

Barr's Huge Upside
If the Vikings wanted Manziel badly enough they could have taken him with their No. 9 overall pick but instead they reached a bit for UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr. In his two seasons at the position after being recruited as a fullback, Barr had 149 tackles, forced nine fumbles and racked up 23.5 sacks. Barr also knocked quarterbacks out of games injured each of the past two years. He had 40.5 tackles for a loss, more than South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick, and Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack, who went No. 5 overall. Zimmer says he envisions using Barr like Denver does with Von Miller. Thus Barr should be an every-down linebacker. Zimmer says he has never coached a pass rusher who had Barr’s size and speed combination.

Full List Of Draft Picks
Anthony Barr, linebacker, UCLA (Round 1, No. 9 overall); Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback, Louisville (1, No. 32); Scott Crichton, defensive end, Oregon State (3, No. 72); Jerick McKinnon, running back, Georgia Southern (3, No. 96); David Yankey, guard, Stanford (5, No. 145); Antone Exum, cornerback, Virginia Tech (6, No. 182); Kendall James, cornerback, Maine (6, No. 184); Shamar Stephen, defensive tackle, Connecticut (7, No. 220); Brandon Watts, outside linebacker, Georgia Tech (7, No. 223); Jabari Price, cornerback, North Carolina (7, No. 225).

NFL free picks: Bridgewater is unlikely to win the job out of camp and thus win ROY honors, but he will be in there sooner rather than later with the Vikings expected to struggle. Barr, on the other hand, could be a good DROY bet when those NFL odds are released.

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