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10 Vikings Draft Picks: Where Do They Fit?

Posted May 12, 2014

In football, there are no predetermined outcomes or guaranteed spots. Every player must earn his way onto the roster and into the depth chart. It’ll be a few days before the Vikings 2014 draft picks can get on the field to show coaches what they can bring, so for now here’s a preliminary look at where each draft pick might fit with the Vikings…

The Pick: LB Anthony Barr (UCLA) – 1st Round (No. 9)
The Fit: Should have a profound impact for the Vikings defense from Day 1, likely as a starter at outside linebacker. Brings a pass-rushing presence from the edge and is more than capable in coverage.

The Pick: QB Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) – 1st Round (No. 32)
The Fit: First-round QBs are typically expected to come in and start from Day 1, but with Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder on the roster that may not be the team’s expectation at this point. Bridgewater is in a good position with the Vikings because he has the opportunity to win the starting job while at the same time could open his career as a backup without catching criticism for developing too slowly.

The Pick: DE Scott Crichton (Oregon State) – 3rd Round (No. 72)
The Fit: It’s expected Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer will employ a rotation along the defensive line, and Crichton projects to be a part of that rotation because of his scrappiness (10 forced fumbles at Oregon State) and versatility (he can slide inside in sub packages).

The Pick: RB Jerick McKinnon (Georgia Southern) – 3rd Round (No. 96)
The Fit: McKinnon figures to be an offensive wild card for Norv Turner. His versatility will make him a threat in the backfield as a runner and pass catcher, in the slot as a receiver, and in perhaps several other roles (direct snaps, special teams).

The Pick: OG David Yankey (Stanford) – 5th Round (No. 145)
The Fit: Described as a road-grading lineman, Yankey has experience at Stanford playing both guard and tackle, so expect him to compete for a starting spot at one of the guard positions and, if he doesn’t win one of those, fall into a key reserve role as a “swing lineman” who can back up at guard or tackle on both the left and right side.

The Pick: DB Antone Exum (Virginia Tech) – 6th Round (No. 182)
The Fit: Expect Exum, who has college experience at both cornerback and safety, to begin training with the Vikings as a safety. Even more, though, Exum must make a name for himself on special teams before he can get a crack at playing defense.

The Pick: CB Kendall James (Maine) – 6th Round (No. 184)
The Fit: James will find himself buried on the cornerback depth chart to start, but coach Zimmer is looking for big-time improvement from that position group so don’t count James out too early. As is the case with Exum, special teams will be key for James.

The Pick: NT Shamar Stephen (UCONN) – 7th Round (No. 220)
The Fit: Size indicates he’s a fit at nose tackle, where he’ll be behind Linval Joseph and Fred Evans on the depth chart. But coach Zimmer doesn’t seem big on depth charts and pigeon-holing players into one position, so Stephen could have a chance to compete to provide depth at both tackle spots.

The Pick: LB Brandon Watts (Georgia Tech) – 7th Round (No. 223)
The Fit: Watts’ athleticism makes him a better fit at outside linebacker over inside linebacker, but the bottom line is he’ll need to showcase his ability on special teams first.

The Pick: DB Jabari Price (North Carolina) – 7th Round (No. 225)
The Fit: As is the case with Exum and James, it’ll be special teams ability that keeps Price around long enough to worry about where he fits on the defensive depth chart.