NFL Minnesota Vikings

2014 Minnesota Vikings: Grading Draft Picks After Preseason

Grading Minnesota Vikings’ 2014 Draft Picks After Preseason

Rick Spielman Minnesota Vikings
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings selected 10 players during the 2014 NFL Draft. Immediately following the draft, many analysts believed that the Vikings had one of the strongest drafts out of any team. With the regular season just around the corner, it is time to grade the performance of each of the Vikings draft picks following the preseason.

LB Anthony Barr – Round 1, Pick 9 (9)

Anthony Barr Minnesota Vikings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

LB Anthony Barr – Round 1, Pick 9 (9)

Anthony Barr Minnesota Vikings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Many fans and analysts believed that the Vikings reached when the team selected Barr with the No. 9 overall pick. However, Barr had an excellent training camp and preseason, putting many of these claims to rest. After recording 1.5 sacks in the preseason and having success in a number of different packages, Barr will open the regular season as the Vikings’ starting SLB.

Grade: A

QB Teddy Bridgewater – Round 1, Pick 32 (32)

Teddy Bridgewater Minnesota Vikings
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

QB Teddy Bridgewater – Round 1, Pick 32 (32)

Teddy Bridgewater Minnesota Vikings
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

After a terrible showing at his pro day, Bridgewater’s draft stock took a major hit. He was considered to be a top-five talent last fall, but nearly ended up falling out of the first round entirely. Bridgewater engaged in a QB competition with veteran Matt Cassel, and while he ultimately lost, he showed enough to install the belief that he can be the team’s QB of the future.

Grade: A-

DE Scott Crichton – Round 3, Pick 8 (72)

Scott Crichton Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

DE Scott Crichton – Round 3, Pick 8 (72)

Scott Crichton Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Crichton came into camp with a strong chance to become one of the Vikings’ backup defensive ends, behind veterans Brian Robison and Everson Griffen. While Crichton did not standout much during the preseason, he did enough to solidify a spot on the roster for himself.

Grade: B-

RB Jerick McKinnon – Round 3, Pick 32 (96)

Jerick McKinnon Minnesota Vikings
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

RB Jerick McKinnon – Round 3, Pick 32 (96)

Jerick McKinnon Minnesota Vikings
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings entered the 2014 NFL Draft in hopes of acquiring running back depth behind Adrian Peterson. McKinnon, who is considered by many to be a raw talent, put together an impressive combine showing and ultimately was taken by the Vikings at the end of the third round. He put together a solid training camp and preseason, earning himself a roster spot and likely an interesting role in the Vikings’ offense.

Grade: B

OL David Yankey – Round 5, Pick 5 (145)

David Yankey Oakland Raiders v Minnesota Vikings
Getty Images

OL David Yankey – Round 5, Pick 5 (145)

David Yankey Oakland Raiders v Minnesota Vikings
Getty Images

Of all the Vikings’ 2014 draft picks, Yankey may have had the most disappointing training camp and preseason. While many believed that Yankey could come in and steal a starting spot at guard from veteran Charlie Johnson, he proved time and time again that he is not quite ready to start in the NFL. His run blocking was superb, but his pass blocking will require some time to develop.

Grade: C

S Antone Exum – Round 6, Pick 6 (182)

Antone Exum Minnesota Vikings Rookie Minicamp
Getty Images

S Antone Exum – Round 6, Pick 6 (182)

Antone Exum Minnesota Vikings Rookie Minicamp
Getty Images

While Exum did not standout much during the preseason, he showed versatility and potential throughout training camp and the preseason. His abilities may be raw, but it appears that Exum did enough with the second-team defense to earn himself a roster spot, making him excellent value as a sixth round pick.

Grade: B-

CB Kendall James – Round 6, Pick 8 (184)

Kendall James Minnesota Vikings Rookie Minicamp
Getty Images

CB Kendall James – Round 6, Pick 8 (184)

Kendall James Minnesota Vikings Rookie Minicamp
Getty Images

Both Exum and seventh-round pick Jabari Price outperformed James in training camp and the preseason. While he was only a sixth-round selection, analysts expected to see quite a bit more from James this summer. It would not come as a surprise if he is cut from the roster later on today.

Grade: C-

DT Shamar Stephen – Round 7, Pick 5 (220)

Shamar Stephen Oakland Raiders v Minnesota Vikings
Getty Images

DT Shamar Stephen – Round 7, Pick 5 (220)

Shamar Stephen Oakland Raiders v Minnesota Vikings
Getty Images

Following Linval Joseph’s injury, Stephen stepped in and took full-advantage of an opportunity to play with the first-team defense. With reports earlier today stating that veteran DT Fred Evans has been cut from the Vikings roster, it appears as if Stephen’s hard work has earned him a roster spot.

Grade: A-

LB Brandon Watts – Round 7, Pick 8 (223)

Brandon Watts Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings
Getty Images

LB Brandon Watts – Round 7, Pick 8 (223)

Brandon Watts Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings
Getty Images

Watts had a strong training camp, entering the preseason listed second on the depth chart at both outside linebacker positions. However, he failed to standout much in limited action during the preseason. It should come as no surprise if Watts is cut and then potentially added to the practice squad, assuming he passes through waivers.

Grade: B-

CB Jabari Price – Round 7, Pick 10 (225)

Jabari Price Minnesota Vikings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

CB Jabari Price – Round 7, Pick 10 (225)

Jabari Price Minnesota Vikings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Price had an excellent training camp and followed that up with a strong preseason as well. He received an opportunity to work with the first-team defense when Captain Munnerlyn was unable to play in the beginning of camp and performed at a high level. Do not be surprised when Price makes the Vikings’ 53-man roster and is listed relatively high on the cornerback depth chart.

Grade: B+

Robert Reidell is a Featured Blogger for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+