Out with the old and in with the new.
That would seem to be the mindset the Vikings have taken in the 2014 draft when it comes to selecting defensive players. After taking OLB Anthony Barr in the first round of the draft Thursday, when the Vikings got back into the fray in the third round Friday, they landed Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton.
General manager Rick Spielman said that Crichton has the types of qualities that head coach Mike Zimmer is looking for in his new-look defense and Crichton has the versatility he is seeking.
"We've kind of revamped the defensive line," Spielman said. "That was something that was our objective. With Zim's philosophy on defense, you want to get cover guys and you want to rush the passer. In this division, it's very important to rush the passer because of the type of quarterbacks we face."
Crichton, who was routinely doubled in his final season at OSU because he was so disruptive, caught the eye of the Vikings' scouts and made a big impression on both Spielman and Zimmer.
"Scott is an excellent football player," Spielman said. "He can play multiple positions up front. He played base defense end, has played inside at nose and has inside pass rush ability. I just love his motor."
It seems like there is no shut-off valve on Crichton. He is intense and never takes a play off. He plays through to the whistle and is relentless in his pursuit to the ball. He mixes it up with offensive linemen and can get in their heads, which is the M.O. of the new-look pass rushers the Vikings are looking to incorporate in their defense.
"He is one of those guys when you watch tape – I could watch tape all day on this guy," Spielman said. "His motor is non-stop. He's constantly moving to the ball and is very instinctual. He can hold the point as a base end. He's not the elite speed rusher off the edge, but he has very good hands, very good quickness and can play multiple positions up front."
Crichton will likely start the season as a reserve, but in Zimmer's defensive scheme he has many of the same qualities that helped elevate Brian Robison from a part-time player to a full-time player and, if he develops as expected, it won't be long until Crichton is making a name for himself on the defensive front.
"You can never have enough defensive linemen," Spielman said. "He's going to work himself into that rotation and that wave. He was our top-rated guy on our board when we selected him. (He is like) B-Rob. They're very much similar styles of play with their motor. That type of player, that type of style where they just keep going is what we're looking for and he fits that criteria. He's not very nice on the field, which is what you like to see."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Crichton's relentlessness interested Vikings
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