The days of the rookie extending a holdout over a contract dispute into training camp and beyond are long over...
Thanks to the new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) and the rookie slotting system, the Minnesota Vikings continued the ongoing trend of teams locking up their first round pick(s) in a timely fashion with the draft a little over a week old now.
The Vikings announced deals with both of their first round picks on Tuesday morning, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr (# 9 Overall) and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (# 32 Overall) signing them to four year contracts with an team option on the fifth year according to ProFootballTalk. Barr's four-year deal is standard for the ninth overall pick -- worth $12,743,596 with a $7,588,072 prorated signing bonus, per ESPN. Bridgewater's deal is expected to be around the $6.7 million, including $3.3 million signing bonus
Minnesota was one of the more active teams during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, wheeling and dealing their way to select to potential high impact players on both offense and defense in Bridgewater and Barr.
Many draft experts have given the Vikings exemplary draft grades since it's conclusion.
In Barr, the Vikings selected your classic "boom or bust" prospect. A late draft riser, the Vikings' brass including new head coach Mike Zimmer, (a defensive mastermind) to pass up on an athlete with Barr's skills.
Many did not envision Barr as a top-ten pick, so it was a bit surprising seeing the Vikings go in this direction with other needs on the board.
A converted running back, Barr has only played defense in the past two seasons at UCLA, where he excelled as an All-American, racking up 23.5 sacks, 41.5 TFL (tackles for loss), and nine forced fumbles.
At 22, Barr has plenty of room to grow into the type of impact defender the Vikings need after the departure of stalwart pro-bowl defensive-end Jared Allen to the rival Chicago Bears.
He lacks the ideal size, (6-5', 255) to compete at defensive end but should fit in nicely as the SAM linebacker in a defense that needs all the help it can get in one of the toughest divisions in football.
Experts have pegged him as either the next Aaron Maybin, a former first round pick bust of the Buffalo Bills with a similar skill set, or a Von Miller-type of edge rusher.
In Bridgewater, the Vikings perhaps got the best first round value of any franchise in the draft. Bridgewater was once considered a lock to be a top-5 pick during the college season with an impressive resume coming out of Louisville.
The Vikings saw Bridgewater slipping into day two of the draft and made a bold move trading back up into the first round to select the signal caller at pick 32.
His stock fell, (and fell hard) after a horrid pro-day workout where he missed throws, lacked touch and just looked out of sorts in a controlled environment designed to make the quarterback look at his best.
In a day and age where the draft is under an extreme microscope, Bridgewater could not escape the negative publicity from his pro-day and ultimately fell right into the Vikings' lap with the final pick of the first round.
The talk has been all about quarterbacks, Blake Bortles (Jacksonville), Johnny Manziel (Cleveland) and even Derek Carr (Oakland), a 2nd rounder even. Bridgewater flew under the radar and I believe has landed in a perfect situation with the Vikings.
The search for a franchise quarterback in Minnesota has been a revolving door in recent years. Despite the successes of hall of fame QB Brett Favre, the position has been somewhat of a revolving door. Daunte Culpepper anyone?
2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder has had high expectations but has never lived up to them and is most likely on his way out.
The Vikings signed another former first round flop in Josh Freeman from the Buccaneers but quickly dispersed of him this off-season.
Freeman started one game for the purple and gold and it was perhaps the ugliest game of the 2013 season. It wasn't fair to him or the Vikings' loyal fans.
Bridgewater enters training camp competing with veteran Matt Cassel for the starting job. That shouldn't be hard at all.
Cassel instills no confidence as a starting quarterback in the NFL and you can bet the Vikings will give Bridgewater every opportunity to earn first year starts from day 1. .
Bridgewater excels on tape with the short and intermediate passing game and should flourish under Vikings' new offensive coordinator Norv Turner. The bottom line is Bridgewater is a gamer, and it may not be pretty at times but the belief should be the Vikings may have found a new franchise cornerstone. Call me a believer.
The job in Minnesota is simple, hand it off to star running back Adrian Peterson 25 times a-game anyway. Other rookies could be in a lot worse situations.
Breaking news story: Minnesota Vikings will host the LII Superbowl in 2018. Which will take place in the new Vikings stadium currently being built.
Shocker. Minnesota wins the bid for Super Bowl LII. Breaks New Orleans streak.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 20, 2014
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