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
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!