Vikings picks Barr, Bridgewater 'part of the foundation'

  • Article by: MATT VENSEL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 11, 2014 - 10:02 PM
hide

Neither of the Vikings’ first-round draft choices, Teddy Bridgewater, left, and Anthony Barr, will be guaranteed playing time this season.

Photo: BRIAN PETERSON • brian.peterson@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The temptation will be to throw them out on the field right away.

With a rookie head coach and a general manager who is desperate to reverse the fortunes of the franchise after a last-place season, it might prove difficult for the Vikings to remain patient with their two first-round picks, especially if they get off to another poor start in 2014 and the walls of Winter Park reverberate from the calls for change.

“The objective is to get the best players on your board,” General Manager Rick Spielman said. “Everybody has a development stage. Some hit it right off the bat. Some take some time. But we feel very strongly that they are part of the foundation of what we are building here.”

Coach Mike Zimmer and Spielman maintain that nothing will be handed to UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr, the ninth overall pick in the NFL draft, and that Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the 32nd pick, will have to wait his turn behind a pair of veteran passers. But it’s easy to say that now, here in the middle of May when optimism springs eternal.

Recent history gives no clues as to how they will proceed. The Vikings took five players in the first round between 2012 and 2013. Two of them, left tackle Matt Kalil and safety Harrison Smith, started right away in 2012. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, however, were all eased into action during their rookie seasons in 2013.

Barr will play a key role on defense even if it isn’t as a starter. As for Bridgewater, patience can be fleeting when it comes to quarterbacks, the most scrutinized position in the NFL.

No reason to rush

When Zimmer was in Cincinnati, the Bengals drafted Andy Dalton early in the second round in 2011. Dalton led them to the playoffs in three straight years and earned a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie.

But Zimmer said that situation was different because the Bengals had no choice but to start Dalton right away after trading Carson Palmer to the Raiders. The Vikings re-signed Matt Cassel to be their bridge to Bridgewater, and the team continues to mention 2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder as a possible option, too.

“Teddy will play when we feel like he’s ready, if he’s the best guy, which we hope that he will be,” Zimmer said. “We always want to have competition.”

Still, Aaron Rodgers waiting for three years to replace Brett Favre in Green Bay is not the norm. Most first-round quarterbacks now toss aside the clipboard at some point during their rookie year. All nine quarterbacks selected in the first round from 2011 to 2013 made at least five starts as rookies, including Ponder. Six of them started for their teams Week 1.

“I can’t even tell you the last time I sat and watched,” Bridgewater said. “But my expectations here are to show that I can compete at a high level and lead this team.”

Bridgewater started both his high school and college careers on the sideline, but it didn’t take him long to make an impact once he got on the field. Bridgewater passed Miami Northwestern High School to the playoffs in his three years as a starter before signing on at Louisville, where he seized the job in the third game of his freshman year by rallying Louisville to a win over rival Kentucky.

Bridgewater will benefit from his first year in an NFL weight room and the quarterbacks room, allowing him to become physically and mentally stronger. Former Vikings quarterback Rich Gannon thinks this is “a great situation” for the 21-year-old, especially because there will be less pressure on him to play right away having been selected late in the first round instead of inside the top 10 picks.

Gannon believes Bridgewater is ahead of the curve mentally, having shown a knack for audibling into the right plays and checking into proper protections in Louisville’s pro-style offense. But Gannon doesn’t think any of the quarterbacks in this draft class are ready to play today, including Bridgewater, whom he feels needs to get bigger and stronger while refining his throwing technique with offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

But while he preached patience with Bridgewater to shield him from getting shellshocked, he also believes the Vikings should try to get him on the field as much as possible in the preseason and trot him out for mop-up duty late in games, even if Cassel is playing well.

“I always say that there’s a fine line between holding a clipboard and how much you really learn compared to being out there when the bullets are flying,” said Gannon, now an analyst for SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Having to make quick decisions, that’s really where you learn.”

Barr might play sooner

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 113 FINAL
Golden State 111
Washington 98 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 67 FINAL
Nevada 62
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Boise State 82
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close