The Minnesota Vikings selected two players in the first round of the 2014 draft that they believed could become franchise players for their team. Outside linebacker Anthony Barr was selected No. 9 overall and was expected to become a leader on the defensive side of the ball. Then the team traded back into the first round and took quarterback Teddy Bridgewater at No. 32 overall and he was expected to become the face of the franchise and man the offense.
Both have had good careers at this point and appear to be on their way to becoming the franchise-type players the coaching staff is expecting them to become. NFL.com recently created an All-Under-25 team and both of these young Vikings were named to it.
Bridgewater was the only quarterback selected. NFL Media analyst Elliot Harrison mentioned that Oakland’s quarterback Derek Carr - who was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft - did not make the team because he is too old, as he will be turning 26 later this month.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1669803-subscribe-today-member-be...“Not bad, kid. Bridgewater led the Vikings to an NFC North title and a playoff berth in only his second year as a starter,” Harrison said of Bridgewater. “Along the way, he posted a respectable 88.7 passer rating. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner and head coach Mike Zimmer wouldn’t mind if Bridgewater took more shots down field, but that might come in time.”
There was a clear improvement between Bridgewater’s first and second year, but a part of that could have been because he played in three more games. He finished the 2015 season with 447 passing attempts and 292 completions for 3,231 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also ran the ball 44 times for 192 yards and three touchdowns - 17 of his runs were for first downs.
The biggest thing for Bridgewater to do this coming season is take more shots downfield - he has struggled hitting the deep ball in his first two seasons - and throw for more touchdowns. The Vikings drafted wide receiver Laquon Treadwell in the first round this offseason and they are hoping that addition will further help in Bridgewater’s progression.
While Bridgewater has faced some criticism for his play on the field, Barr really hasn’t. He has seemed to transition smoothly into becoming a well-rounded player. He played in a 3-4 defense in college and was pretty much only asked to rush the passer, so he had to learn how to drop back into coverage and stop the run as a linebacker in the NFL. So far it sees as though he has had no problems doing just that.
“Barr was simply outstanding for a second-year pro,” Harrison said. “Despite fighting injuries and missing two full games, the Vikings’ outside linebacker compiled 68 tackles, 3.5 sacks, one interception and seven passes defensed. The sack total might not wow you, but generally 4-3 OLBs are asked to cover as much as they’re asked to rush the passer. Barr also forced three fumbles last season. Not bad.”
http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1671848-sunday-slant-the-most-val... The biggest thing that Barr is going to need to work on next season and for the rest of his career is durability. He missed four games during his rookie campaign and two games last season, while also trying to play hurt in a number of other games. It is tough to play in all 16 NFL games nowadays because it is such a physical game, but the Vikings are clearly a different team when Barr is on the field compared to when he is on the sidelines.
There is still going to be a lot for each of these two young players to prove during the remainder of their careers, but they both certainly seem to be on the right track. With Barr manning the defense and Bridgewater doing the same on offense, the Vikings seem ready to try to defend their NFC North title form a year ago.