Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings trade back, take UCLA OLB Anthony Barr

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: May 8, 2014 - 10:03 PM

With the ninth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select…

UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr.

The Vikings traded back one spot with the Browns to pick up an extra fifth round pick (145th overall). The Browns grabbed Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert with the eighth overall pick.

Texas A&M Johnny Manziel was still on the board even after the trade, but the Vikings passed and addressed a big need at linebacker.

Barr spent just two seasons at linebacker while at UCLA. He started as a running back. The Lott IMPACT Trophy winner played in a 3-4 defense and finished second in the country with four fumbles recovered, fifth with five forced fumbles, ninth with 20 tackles for loss and 18th with 10 sacks. He had 65 tackles (42 solo).

He’s very athletic, but raw. It seems Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer will take on the challenge to mold him at linebacker and teach him technique.

Did I mention the Vikings passed up on Manziel twice?

Here’s how the previous eight picks played out:

1. Houston – South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney

2. St. Louis – Auburn OT Greg Robinson

3. Jacksonville – Central Florida QB Blake Bortles

4. Buffalo (via Cleveland) – Clemson WR Sammy Watkins

5. Oakland – Buffalo LB Khalil Mack

6. Atlanta – Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews

7. Tampa Bay – Texas A&M WR Mike Evans

8. Cleveland (via Minnesota) – Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert

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