It’s easy to say this now, but I really like what the Minnesota Vikings did in the draft. They addressed a lot of glaring needs and showed us exactly the type of players head coach Mike Zimmer wants on this team. The Vikings drafted athletically gifted players who have a lot of versatility. Of course, just because “experts” and fans are saying Minnesota had a good draft doesn’t make it true. What really matters is how they perform on the field and how good each player will be three years from now. That said, here are my instant impressions of the best and worst of the Vikings draft!
Best Pick- Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback
I absolutely love this pick! I almost got caught up in the Johnny Football hype. But after it was all said and done, Bridgewater’s tools make him the right fit for the Vikings and Norv Turner’s offense. His poise in the pocket and accuracy will make him a far cry from Christian Ponder. He is a smart player who plays well under pressure. He slipped in the draft due to poor workouts in shorts and a t-shirt. Last I checked, they play the game with pads and against a defense. Bridgewater may have fallen into the perfect situation. He will have a chance to win the starting job. If Bridgewater doesn’t start in week one, he has a veteran in Matt Cassel who can teach him how to get acquainted with the NFL. This was a great job of maneuvering by Spielman to trade back into the first round to fill the team’s greatest need.
Worst Pick- Jerick McKinnon, running back
I was all in favor of using one of their 3rd round picks on a running back, I’m just not sure they picked the right one. McKinnon is a jack of all trades who played quarterback, running back and cornerback in college. He wowed scouts at the combine with his 40 time (4.41) and bench press (32 reps). His physical attributes are great, but he lacks experience at the running back position. After the Joe Webb experiment, you would think the Vikings would have wanted a more experienced back like Devonta Freeman, Ka’Deem Carey or Andre Williams who were all available. It’s possible I will be proven wrong on this one, but as of now, taking McKinnon seems to be a reach with a lot of risk attached to it.
Best Value- Antone Exum, cornerback/safety
If it weren’t for Antone Exum’s ACL injury, he may have been the most talked about cornerback from Virginia Tech (instead of his teammate Kyle Fuller who got spotlight and was picked 14th overall in the draft). Exum is a hard hitter that has the flexibility to play safety or cornerback. I love taking high reward guys with risk late in the draft like this. In a year or two, Exum has the potential to become a starting safety which would fill a huge need.
Biggest Reach- Anthony Barr, outside linebacker
It’s not that I don’t like the Barr pick, I just think it was a little early to take a risk on a project. That said, if Zimmer thinks he can work with him, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt based on his history of working with players. When it’s all said and done, we could be talking about Barr as a superstar, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a reach.
On the surface it sure looks like Spielman had another great draft. He took players at positions of need and fit them with what Zimmer wants to do. It will be fun to watch what happens and time will tell if our first impressions are right.