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NFL Team Report: Minnesota Vikings - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

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NFL Team Report: Minnesota Vikings - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
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A closer look at the Vikings' picks:

Round 1/9 -- Anthony Barr, OLB, 6-5, 255, UCLA

--The Vikings traded down a spot with Cleveland, collecting a fifth-round pick, before addressing the league's worst scoring defense. Barr will start at strong-side linebacker, but also gives new coach Mike Zimmer a highly versatile edge rusher who's raw but has a high ceiling because of elite physical tools. He'll help offset the loss of Jared Allen, even though he'll play linebacker primarily.


Round 1/32 -- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, 6-2, 214, Louisville

--The Vikings traded a fourth-rounder to Seattle to move up from 40th to the last spot in the first round. With no Andrew Luck in this year's draft, this was a very good spot for the Vikings to take the potential franchise quarterback of the future. With Matt Cassel as a satisfactory one-year bridge to the future and Christian Ponder finally re-positioned as a backup and not a potential franchise quarterback, Bridgewater can spend a year working with offensive coordinator Norv Turner without the pressure to start before he's ready.

Round 3/72 -- Scott Crichton, DE, 6-3, 272, Oregon State

--Claiming "you can never have enough pass rushers" in the NFC North, general manager Rick Spielman gave Zimmer another weapon to use in his defensive line rotation. The prototypical high-motor guy, Crichton can rush from either end spot or inside in nickel packages.

Round 3/96 -- Jerick McKinnon, RB, 5-9, 209, Georgia Southern

--McKinnon was primarily a triple-option quarterback at the FCS school. He also played tailback, receiver, fullback and even a couple games at cornerback. The Vikings said they'll use him as a third-down, change-of-pace back behind Adrian Peterson, who lost his backup, Toby Gerhart, to free agency. McKinnon, a 1,000-yard rusher a year ago, has the speed, agility, burst and unusual strength -- he led all running backs at the combine with 32 reps in the bench press -- to be the kind of change of pace that Turner likes to utilize in his offensive packages.

Round 5/145 -- David Yankey, G, 6-4, 314, Stanford

--Yankey is known as a physical player who's a strong run blocker with average foot speed. He'll compete at left guard, where the Vikings are looking to replace Charlie Johnson in 2015, if not this season. Yankey also will compete with Jeff Baca, a sixth-round pick in 2013.

Round 6/182 -- Antone Exum, DB, 6-0, 213, Virginia Tech

--After trading down twice from 148 and 168, the Vikings took a thickly-muscled cornerback who might transition to safety because of his 4.59 speed. The Vikings need more competition at strong safety and dime back. Exum does come in as an injury concern. He tore an ACL in a pickup basketball game in January of 2013. He returned in October and played three games before injuring an ankle and missing the rest of the season.

Round 6/184 -- Kendall James, CB, 5-10, 180, Maine

--Known as a fast, quick-twitch corner with decent size and 4.4 speed. Drawbacks physically include shorter arms and small hands. The Vikings will use him to compete for the third cornerback position with veterans Josh Robinson, Shaun Prater and possibly Exum.

Round 7/220 -- Shamar Stephen, NT, 6-5, 313, Connecticut

--A two-gap run-stopper who can occupy two defenders. Not known for being a quick pass rusher, but has a good bull rush for a player taken this low. Will compete for the backup nose tackle spot with 30-year-old Fred Evans.

Round 7/223 -- Brandon Watts, LB, 6-2, 235, Georgia Tech

--A raw prospect with below-average instincts that could benefit from Zimmer's defensive expertise. Has the speed to play sideline to sideline.

Round 7/225 -- Jabari Price, CB, 6-0, 200, North Carolina

--Another seventh-rounder who needs more coaching and polish to produce at the next level. Shows good instincts and is strongly built, but ball skills and hands are below average.


UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)

--LB Desmond Bishop (not tendered as UFA).

--LB Marvin Mitchell (not tendered as UFA).




--LB Anthony Barr (1/9); 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--QB Teddy Bridgewater (1/32): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--DE Scott Crichton (3/72): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--RB Jerick McKinnon (3/96): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--G David Yankey (5/145): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--S Antone Exum (6/182): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--CB Kendall James (6/184): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--DT Shamar Stephen (7/220): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--LB Brandon Watts (7/223): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--CB Jabari Price (7/225: 4 yrs, terms unknown.


--RB Matt Asiata: ERFA; $570,000/1 yr.

--C/G Joe Berger: UFA; terms unknown.

--QB Matt Cassel: Potential UFA; $10M/2 yrs.

--LB Larry Dean: Potential RFA; terms unknown.

--NT Fred Evans: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--DE Everson Griffen: UFA; $42.5M/5 yrs, $6M SB/$19.8M guaranteed.

--LG Charlie Johnson: UFA; $5M/2 yrs.

--CB/PR Marcus Sherels: Potential RFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--WR Jerome Simpson: UFA; terms unknown.


--LB Jasper Brinkley: FA Cardinals; terms unknown.

--S Kurt Coleman: UFA Eagles; 1 yr, terms unknown..

--CB Derek Cox: FA Chargers; $780,000/11 yr.

--LB Dom DeCicco: FA; terms unknown.

--G Vladimir Ducasse: UFA Jets; $795,000/1 yr, $65,000 SB.

--WR Lestar Jean: Not tendered as RFA by Texans; $635,000/1 yr, $10,000 SB/$55,000 RB.

--DT Tom Johnson: Not tendered as RFA by Saints; $845,000/1 yr.

--DT Linval Joseph: UFA Giants; $31.5M/5 yrs.

--CB Captain Munnerlyn: UFA Panthers; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

--TE Allen Reisner: Not tendered as RFA by Jaguars; terms unknown.

--DE Corey Wootton: UFA Bears; $1.5M/1 yr, $400,000 SB.


--DE Jared Allen: UFA Bears; $32M/4 yrs, $15.5M guaranteed.

--TE John Carlson (released).

--WR Greg Childs (released).

--CB Chris Cook: UFA 49ers; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--QB Josh Freeman: UFA Giants; terms unknown.

--RB Toby Gerhart: UFA Jaguars; $10.5M/3 yrs, $4.5M guaranteed.

--DT Letroy Guion (released).

--LB Erin Henderson (released).

--OT J'Marcus Webb: UFA Chiefs; terms unknown.

--WR Joe Webb: UFA Panthers; terms unknown.

--DT Kevin Williams: Not tendered as UFA/Seahawks; terms unknown.