The 2014 NFL Draft is done and over with and it’s time to hand out some grades. The Minnesota Vikings had the No. 8 overall pick before deciding to trade down a spot to No. 9 and also traded back into the first round for the last pick of the round. There were some selections that are better than others though. Here is a look at Minnesota’s first five picks and how they stack up.
No. 9- Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
There is no disputing what Barr can do as a pass rusher with ten sacks last season and it is surprising that he fell as far as he did in the draft. If he can come in and become the replacement for Jared Allen on the outside, then the selection looks great. If he turns into a solid outside linebacker who doesn’t get 10-15 sacks a season, that’s fine as well. The key here is that Barr is a great player who makes the Minnesota defense better from day one. Grade: A
No. 32- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
The Vikings were the only team to look into Bridgewater’s heart ailment which proves that they could have been the only NFL team that wanted Bridgewater as high as he went. He is going to sit on the bench behind Matt Cassel to begin the 2014 season which is fine to let him grow as a player. He is going to be expected to hit the field by late in the season however and if he can prove to be worthy of this draft pick, it is going to look like genius in the end. Grade: B+
No. 72- Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon St.
The team’s first third round pick in Crichton has a similar job to what Barr’s will be in rushing the quarterback. Crichton is likely going to be a reserve that comes in to give the starters some rest but he has proved he can get to the quarterback when needed. He had 6.5 sacks last season for the Beavers. It is a good pick for the team looking for depth along the defensive line. He is someone to watch for more in 2015 than this coming year. Grade: B
No. 96- Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern
Here is where the first major problem comes in with the draft choices of the Vikings. McKinnon has the ability to be a great playmaker and could turn into the next Darren Sproles out of the backfield but is this really what Minnesota wants to have as a backup to Adrian Peterson? With running backs like Andre Williams and Ka’Deem Carey still on the board, the Vikings would have been wise to select one of them over McKinnon. It wasn’t the best of picks with the last selection of the third round. Grade: C-
No. 145- David Yankey, G, Stanford
The Vikings had to wait until the fifth round to make this choice but get a great player in Yankey. He is a huge man at 6-6 and 315 pounds and will likely find his way right into the starting lineup for the Vikings. He simply has to keep whoever is at quarterback upright and make huge holes for Peterson in the running game. Everything appears to be pointing up for this pick and one that the Vikings should be lucky that they were able to make in the fifth round. Grade: A-
There was a lot to like with the early picks of the Vikings. It’s only a matter of time until fans can actually see if all the picks work out.