Almost as quickly as it looked like the Minnesota Vikings had missed their man at quarterback twice, they ended the night with a splash.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman were unable to close a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles for the 22nd pick of the draft, and the Cleveland Browns took Johnny Manziel out from under them. However, with one last chance to move back into the first round, the Vikings pulled the trigger on a trade with the Seattle Seahawks that earned them the chance to select QB Teddy Bridgewater.
The former University of Louisville signal caller could turn out to be the steal of the draft, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Had the Vikings not gotten that deal done with Seattle, they would have had to outlast the Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before they got a shot in the second round, and the chance of Bridgewater, and possibly even Derek Carr, being on the board was minimal.
If the gap between Manziel and Bridgewater was as small on the Vikings’ charts as several reports would have us believe, that was a must-have pick. Bridgewater potentially gives the team a big, physical presence that they need, and they won’t be rushed into starting him.
Certainly it’s possible that Matt Cassel will go into training camp as the first-stringer, but if Bridgewater progresses quickly, seeing him play opening week wouldn’t be a shock. Having some stability under center would also allow Adrian Peterson to finally get back into a groove, which will always make the Vikings tough.
Johnny Manziel may have ruled the Twitter-sphere on the first night of the draft, but the Teddy Bridgewater pick could be the one we look back on when we think about the quarterback class of 2014.