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NFL: Vikings Ink LB Barr and QB Bridgewater To Rookie Deals

Startribune (Bridgewater and Barr)
Startribune (Bridgewater and Barr)

On Tuesday morning the Minnesota Vikings announced they have signed  both of their first round picks , UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr (# 9 Overall) and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (# 32 Overall) signing them to four-year rookie contracts with an team option on the fifth year according to ProFootballTalk.

Barr’s four-year deal is standard for the ninth overall pick — worth $12,743,596 with a $7,588,072 prorated signing bonus, per ESPN. Bridgewater’s deal is expected to be around the $6.7 million, including $3.3 million signing bonus

The ikings were  one of the more active teams during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, wheeling and dealing their way to select to potential high impact players on both offense and defense in Bridgewater and Barr.

The Vikings top draft grades since it’s conclusion from many draft experts

In Barr, the Vikings selected your classic “boom or bust” prospect. A late draft riser, the Vikings’ brass including new head coach Mike Zimmer, (a defensive mastermind) to pass up on an athlete with Barr’s skills.

Some experts didn’t view Barr as a top-ten pick, so it was a bit surprising seeing the Vikings go in this direction with other needs on the board.

A converted running back, Barr has only played defense in the past two seasons at UCLA, where he excelled as an All-American, racking up 23.5 sacks, 41.5 TFL (tackles for loss), and nine forced fumbles.

At 22, Barr has plenty of room to grow into the type of impact defender the Vikings need after the departure of dependable pro-bowl defensive-end Jared Allen to the rival Chicago Bears.

Barr lacks the ideal size, (6-5′, 255) to compete at defensive end but fits in nicely as the SAM linebacker in a defense that needs all the help it can get in one of the toughest divisions in football.

In Bridgewater, the Vikings perhaps got the best first round value of any franchise in the draft. Bridgewater was once considered a lock to be a top-5 pick during the college season with an impressive resume coming out of Louisville.

The Vikings saw Bridgewater slipping into day two of the draft and made a bold move trading back up into the first round to select the signal caller at pick 32.

His stock fell, (and fell hard) after a horrid pro-day workout where he missed throws, lacked touch and just looked out of sorts in a controlled environment designed to make the quarterback look at his best.

In a day and age where the draft is under an extreme microscope, Bridgewater could not escape the negative publicity from his pro-day and ultimately fell right into the Vikings’ lap with the final pick of the first round.

The search for a franchise quarterback in Minnesota has been a revolving door in recent years. Despite the successes of hall of fame QB Brett Favre, the position has been somewhat of a revolving door. Daunte Culpepper anyone?

The Vikings signed another former first round flop in Josh Freeman from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but quickly dispersed of him this off-season. Freeman started only one game for the purple and gold and it was perhaps the worse game of the 2013 season for the team. It not completely fair to him or the Vikings’ loyal fans.

2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder has had high expectations but has never lived up to them and is most likely on his way out of Minnesota in the not so distant future.

Bridgewater enters training camp competing with veteran Matt Cassel for the starting job.

Cassel presents lack of confidence and inconsistency as a starting quarterback in the NFL and the Vikings will provide Bridgewater with every opportunity to earn first year starting status from day one.

Bridgewater produces on film with the short and intermediate passing game and should develop under Vikings’ new offensive coordinator Norv Turner. The bottom line is Bridgewater is a playmaker, and the Vikings might have finally found their franchise quarterback.

Breaking news story: Minnesota Vikings will host the LII Superbowl in 2018. Which will take place in the new Vikings stadium currently being built.

 

Follow Oren on Twitter at NFLorentiime

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