Grading the Minnesota Vikings’ 2014 NFL Draft Picks

Grading All 10 of the Vikings' Draft Picks

Teddy Bridgewater
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The Minnesota Vikings went into the 2014 NFL Draft with eight picks available, and walked away with 10 players. While they certainly addressed a number of needs, there were several of their selections that could certainly land in the “Miss” column when all is said and done. Even GM Rick Spielman can't hit on all of his picks.

With that in mind, here’s my grade for every one of the Vikings’ 2014 NFL Draft picks.

Round 1 (9th Overall): Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Anthony Barr
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Round 1 (9th Overall): Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Anthony Barr
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Barr has the potential to be a star in the NFL, but he’s far from a finished product. He’s extremely raw in terms of football ability, and still needs a lot of coaching before he’s ready to be an impact player at the next level. The athleticism is there for him to shine, but Barr didn’t belong in the Top 10.

Grade: C+

Round 1 (32nd Overall): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater
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Round 1 (32nd Overall): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings knew they needed to add a legitimate quarterback to the mix during the 2014 NFL Draft, and they didn’t disappoint. After trading back into the first round, they picked up Bridgewater, who is arguably the best quarterback of the 2014 class. He’s an absolute steal at No. 32, and will pay dividends before long.

Grade: A+

Round 3 (72nd Overall): Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State

Scott Crichton
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Round 3 (72nd Overall): Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State

Scott Crichton
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

With Crichton, the Vikings get an excellent pass rusher who brings plenty of energy and tenacity to the defense. Even if he doesn’t project as a starter anytime soon, he should immediately contribute in a third-down role. The only problem is that the Vikings had bigger concerns in the third round, but the value is there.

Grade: B

Round 3 (96th Overall): Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern

Jerick McKinnon
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Round 3 (96th Overall): Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern

Jerick McKinnon
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This is a very disappointing pick for the Vikings. They came into the draft looking for a third-down back, but clearly missed the mark. While McKinnon is an intriguing prospect with plenty of athleticism and upside, he’s inexperienced in pass protection and receiving, and isn’t ready to handle a significant load.

Grade: C

Round 5 (145th Overall): David Yankey, G, Stanford

David Yankey
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Round 5 (145th Overall): David Yankey, G, Stanford

David Yankey
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings couldn’t have asked for much more out of their fifth-round pick. Yankey, once considered the top guard prospect of the 2014 class, fell due to concerns about his overall physical ability. Still, he’s an intelligent technician who should give Charlie Johnson a serious run for the starting left guard job.

Grade: A

Round 6 (182nd Overall): Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech

Antone Exum
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Round 6 (182nd Overall): Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech

Antone Exum
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If it wasn’t for a couple of recent injuries, Exum would have come off the board much higher than the sixth round. The Virginia Tech product is physical, tenacious and instinctive in coverage, and plays the run as well as anyone in the 2014 class. If he can stay healthy, he’ll be an early contributor in Minnesota. Plus, he has the versatility to play free safety.

Grade: A

Round 6 (184th Overall): Kendall James, CB, Maine

Kendall James
Twitter

Round 6 (184th Overall): Kendall James, CB, Maine

Kendall James
Twitter

While James is certainly an intriguing prospect with the potential to develop into a quality cover man, this pick makes minimal sense. Not only were there better cornerbacks on the board, but the Vikings easily could have had him for a seventh-rounder. James needs work, so expect him to sit out most of his rookie season.

Grade: C+

Round 7 (220th Overall): Shamar Stephen, DT, Connecticut

Shamar Stephen
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Round 7 (220th Overall): Shamar Stephen, DT, Connecticut

Shamar Stephen
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Another underrated addition for the Vikings. While Stephen isn’t a well-known prospect, he displayed excellent run stopping ability during his days with the Huskies. He’s going to need some work as a pass rusher, but can be an efficient anchor against the run when he’s playing at 100 percent.

Grade: B+

Round 7 (223rd Overall): Brandon Watts, OLB, Georgia Tech

Brandon Watts
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Round 7 (223rd Overall): Brandon Watts, OLB, Georgia Tech

Brandon Watts
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Even for a seventh-round pick, Watts makes little sense for the Vikings. He doesn’t do anything particularly well, struggling as a pass rusher and lacking the athleticism you want out of typical NFL outside backers. His experience in coverage will help, but Watts is nothing more than a special teamer.

Grade: C-

Round 7 (225th Overall): Jabari Price, CB, North Carolina

Jabari Price
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Round 7 (225th Overall): Jabari Price, CB, North Carolina

Jabari Price
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Price was honestly a better pick up than James. The former Tar Heel shows above average ability to step up against the run and displays good instincts in zone coverage. He isn’t nearly as effective in man coverage, but can serve well in a subpackage role and could push for playing time with the Vikings before long.

Grade: B

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Director of Content for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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