May 9, 2014; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman (left), linebacker Anthony Barr, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and head coach Mike Zimmer (right) pose for pictures at Winter Park Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings Draft Recap and Analysis


Within the past three days, the Minnesota Vikings have added almost half of a full NFL roster to their football team.

While most of the undrafted free agents they have signed won’t make the roster, and it’s possible even some of their draft picks will get cut, there’s no doubt this team looks better than it did three days ago. Or, at the very least, they look more like a Mike Zimmer team.

Picks like Anthony Barr and Scott Crichton have Zimmer’s fingerprints all over them, as Zimmer reportedly loved Barr and Crichton is the type of mid-round rotational lineman Zimmer has had success with in the past (think Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson and Geno Atkins).

While the Vikings waited to address their secondary, even after sporting the league’s 31st ranked pass defense last year, that decision had Zimmer’s fingerprints on it too, as the Bengals rarely took defensive backs early while he was their defensive coordinator.

While the receivers in the NFC North are much different than those found in the AFC North, it seemed this draft was all about filling out the blueprint of a Mike Zimmer team. Spielman used picks like Barr and Crichton to reshape the Vikings roster in Zimmer’s image, as both players would have struggled to find a role in Leslie Fraizer’s scheme.

This is Mike Zimmer’s team now, and it appears Spielman got him players the coaching staff wanted. Now it’s up to the staff to turn the talent they acquired into production.

 

Vikings Draft Selections

In case you missed a pick or just forgot, here’s a full list of the Vikings selections in the 2014 NFL Draft:

1 (9) : Anthony Barr, LB – UCLA

1 (32) : Teddy Bridgewater, QB – Louisville

3 (72) : Scott Crichton, DE – Oregon State

3 (96) : Jerick McKinnon, RB – Georgia Southern

5 (145) : David Yankey, OG – Stanford

6 (182) : Antone Exum, DB – Virginia Tech

6 (184) : Kendall James, CB – Maine

7 (220) : Shamar Stephen, DT – Connecticut

7 (223) : Brandon Watts, LB – Georgia Tech

7 (225) : Jabari Price, CB – North Carolina

And then just a few random notes/thoughts on the Vikings selections:

  • The Vikings clearly went after athletic talent in this draft at several spots. Barr, McKinnon and Watts all stand out as guys whose measurables are off the charts but still have questions marks on the actual football field. Spielman is betting on Zimmer and his staff to develop those players so those picks pay off.
  • The Vikings went after just about every position on the football field except for WR, FB, and ILB, since Yankey has the versatility to potentially slide outside to tackle. The Vikings added talent almost everywhere on the depth chart, another sign this roster is getting a Zimmer makeover.
  • The Vikings ended up with 10 selections, which is Spielman’s ideal situation in every draft. The Vikings also managed to take players from 10 different schools this year, after their nine selections last year came from just six schools.
  • Seven of the Vikings ten selections were on defense, which was probably a surprise to almost nobody who follows the team closely. With the added secondary players, the Vikings now have 18 defensive backs on their roster, but only kept 10 total last year after the preseason. Let the competition begin.

 

Around the League Reaction to the Vikings Draft

The Vikings received plenty of praise from analysts at the conclusion of the 2014 draft, with most giving the team’s haul high marks.

The Vikings were one of seven teams who passed the draft “with flying colors,” according to NFL.com’s Bryan Fischer.

“Rick Spielman had a great draft, and it continued on the third day with the Yankey pick,” Fisher said. “He’ll be a solid pro for years and had second-day talent. Exum is a defensive back who could see early playing time.”

The Vikings received an A- from Matthew Fairburn of SB Nation, one of only eight teams in the “A” range.

“The Vikings have aced the 2014 NFL Draft,” Fairburn wrote. “After stealing Teddy Bridgewater at the end of the first round, Minnesota got another great value in Scott Crichton. The Vikings also added a bunch of talented defensive backs. If a few of them pan out, Minnesota will have addressed a lot of needs with this draft class.”

The Vikings also were one of the draft’s biggest winners according to NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp, so there’s that.

 

Vikings Undrafted Free Agents

According to the team, these are the undrafted free agents they have agreed to deals with so far:

AC Leonard, TE – Tennessee State

Kain Colter, WR – Northwestern

Antonio Richardson, OT – Tennessee

Zach Kerin, C – Toledo

Pierce Burton, OT – Mississippi

Matt Hall, OT – Belhaven

Austin Wentworth, OG – Fresno State

Isame Faciane, NT – Florida International

Dominique Williams, RB – Wagner

Jake Snyder, DE – Virginia

Erik Lora, WR – Eastern Illinois

Tyler Scott, DE – Northwestern

Donte Foster, WR – Ohio

Rakim Cox, DE – Villanova

Conor Boffeli, OG – Iowa

A few random note/thoughts and the Vikings undrafted free agent class:

  • The Vikings signed a total of six offensive lineman to compete for a shot to make their roster. Clearly they wanted better depth across the board there.
  • The most intriguing name on that list may be Antonio “Tiny” Richardson. Richardson was considered a mid round talent by some analysts but it appears concerns about his knee caused him to go undrafted. He was rated as one of Todd McShay’s best undrafted prospects though and could easily have a legitimate shot at being the team’s swing tackle in 2014 if his knee is healthy.
  • Another interesting name there is former Northwester quarterback Kain Colter, who is currently leading the charge for unionization in college athletics. Colter will be trying to make the team as a receiver, but could end up being a practice squad candidate.
  • It was reported that the Vikings also agreed to terms with Ohio State quarterback Kenny Guiton, but the team has yet to confirm the move. If so, he’d be a great camp arm to have and could be another practice squad candidate, with a shot at being a future third string.

What do you think Vikings fans? Are you excited with the talent the team brought in this weekend, or do you think they could have done better? Sound off in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter @Goatman102!

Tags: Mike Zimmer Minnesota Vikings Rick Spielman

  • Justin Weishaar

    Let me be the first to say. I really wanted to get johnny football. We got out bid. It happens. But teddy or carr. I would take teddy 10 out 10. And the rest is history. We hit all positions of need and I love it. Teddy is going to help ap so much. A lb core of barr. Greenway and cloe will be a tough group. And the sheer depth is outstanding. Love it.

  • Michael Carey

    First off my compliments to the Vikings entire organization. Second I loved the first half of the draft; Barr and Bridgewater is a coup. However for my money, specifically the sixth and seventh rounds; I love Exum @ 6.6, here is where I vary: @ 6.8 Rashaad Reynolds CB Oregon St., @ 7.5 I can go with Shamar Stephen but I would prefer Trevor Reilly OLB Utah or Shayne Skov ILB Stanford at this spot, @ 7.8 maybe Stephen is still there but I go with either Brandon Coleman WR Rutgers or Jeff Janis WR Saginaw Valley St., and at last @ 7.10 I like Jonathan Dowling SS Western Kentucky (only if Zimmer is convinced he can coach this kids checkered pass out off him ala Pacman Jones) if not Deandre Coleman DT Cal (but I have him even with Shamar Stephen). All in all not too different; much the same positions just different priority order and different personnel. (CB, DT, OLB, CB to CB, LB, WR, DT and if we got Dowling I basically am just switching the DT for a WR). Reasons 1 I feel our secondary needed to be addressed (they did that I just like Reynolds ALOT more than James) 2 I think we need a better upgrade at middle LB which both Reilly and Skov can provide (I love Reilly’s versatility as he can play all LB spots and DE) outside of his speed Watts’ skill set doesn’t compare well to either. 3 with our new QB we need another option at receiver I would prefer Brandon Coleman over every WR on the team except CP84 and equal with Jennings (he is not as good as he use to be) and Jeff Janis looks like the second coming of Jordy Nelson only I think Janis is faster. 4 I know they said Exum would play safety but if you got Dowling you could now rotate your secondary pieces to keep them fresher, plus it protects you if you lose someone to injury like last year with Harrison Smith, Exum becomes your Wild Card as he can plug in where he is most needed that game. Ultimately after that for me it became a BPA of the Defensive Backups Deandre Coleman or Shamar Stephen @ DT, Ahmad Dixon or Craig Loston @ S, Yawin Smallwood, Christian Jones, or Max Bullough @ LB, or Terrance Mitchell or Marcus Roberson @ CB.