Nov 23, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Connecticut Huskies defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (59) along the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field. UCONN defeated Temple 28-21. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings Sign LB Brandon Watts, DT Shamar Stephen


The Vikings were busy on Tuesday locking up four of their 2014 draft class to rookie contracts.

First rounders Anthony Barr and Teddy Bridgewater were both officially signed, as were seventh-round DT Shamar Stephen and seventh-round LB Brandon Watts.

Both seventh-rounders signed the obligatory four-year contracts. Barr and Bridgewater received four-year deals with fifth-year options.

Last week, the Vikings locked up cornerbacks Jabari Price and Kendall James and offensive guard David Yankey. That leaves just three draft picks, RB Jerick McKinnon, DE Scott Crichton and S Antone Exum, remaining to be signed.

Stephen and Watts will both be plunged into pretty serious competitions for jobs come training camp. After a bevy of draft picks, UDFA signings and veteran free agent signings, the Vikings have a 90-man roster stacked with options.

I wouldn’t get too attached to any of the guys taken in the late rounds or signed as UDFAs. Mike Zimmer is going to turn camp into a Royal Rumble, especially on the defensive side, and a lot of these players will be early, bloody casualties.

That’s how you build a good team. You foster competition. You don’t do it the Leslie Frazier way of promising guys jobs and then giving them fifty chances to fail.

You’ve got to be ruthless.

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