Minnesota Vikings Trade with Seattle Seahawks to Get Pick 32 and Select Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater
As Rick Spielman has done in previous drafts, the Vikings traded with the Seattle Seahwaks to get pick number 32, the final pick of the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. With that pick, they addressed their need at quarterback.
The Vikings select Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Once considered a top overall prospect, a lackluster pro day sent Bridgewater's stock downward. While that less-than-stellar performance put teams off of the former Louisville signal caller, his college game tapes offer plenty to be excited about as a professional prospect.
The Vikings gave up their #40 (2nd round) and #108 (4th round) picks to the Seattle Seahawks in order to get #32, the final pick in the first round.
Bridgewater measures in at 6' 2" and 214 pounds, coming out of the University of Louisville via Northwestern High School in Florida. Known for being a dual threat, he is familiar with a pro-style offense, having played in one during college.
NFL.com reports Bridgewater's strengths as follows:
Terrific competitor. Extremely driven to succeed. Well-prepared and confident in his approach. Operated a progression-read offense where he is asked to scan the whole field and help steer protections. Footwork is very clean and in rhythm -- throws on balance with sound mechanics, a fluid delivery and smooth stroke. Very good timing, touch and anticipation — throws receivers open. Is patient working through his reads and will step up in the pocket. Sells play-action hard and takes what the defense gives him. Poised in the face of the blitz and often anticipates it coming. Is very mentally and physically tough — played through a broken left wrist with a sprained ankle in what was essentially the 2012 Big East championship game, coming off the bench to captain the Cardinals to a come-from-behind victory. Is a student of the game with a very good understanding of football concepts. Plays like a coach on the field, knows the responsibilities of everyone on the field and can get teammates lined up correctly. Makes few mental errors. Consistently moves the chains and comes through in the clutch. Is given a lot of autonomy to make pre-snap reads and adjustments at the line of scrimmage and understands how to exploit defenses. Meticulous in his preparation. Identifies with the game and really works at his craft. Smart, determined and focused. Showed gradual improvement every season. Is only 21 years old -- very mature for his age and can see the big picture. Football is extremely important to him. Highly respected, unselfish team leader. Rises to the occasion on big stages.
Alternatively, NFL.com reports his weaknesses as follows:
Has a very lean, narrow frame with limited bulk and small hands. Does not drive the ball with velocity down the field and can be affected by cold and windy conditions (see Cincinnati). Can improve placement and touch on the deep ball. Adequate athlete. Is not an overly elusive scrambler -- struggles escaping the rush and buying a second chance with his feet vs. pressure. Passing stats are padded from operating a passing game that relies heavily on short, lateral tosses. Long-term durability could become a concern without continued strength and weight gains.
Following the pick, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman told the media in a press conference that team officials had a private workout with Bridgewater that was much improved from his pro day. They report they are happy with where they are at the quarterback position, and at this time, they don't intend to force Bridgewater before he is ready to take the helm of the offense.
Coach Zimmer mentioned that offensive coordinator Norv Turner was very excited to have the possibility of getting Bridgewater on the team. Turner had reportedly hand-picked Bridgewater as one of his favorites for the Vikings to select at quarterback. Furthermore, Zimmer said that Bridgewater saw the Vikings as a good spot for him to land, looking forward to the system, players, and staff.