Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Friday, May 9, 2014
Vikings pick Teddy Bridgewater in 1st

By Ben Goessling


EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The pick: For the third year in a row, the Vikings traded back into the first round. This time they got the quarterback who had not long ago been projected to go at the top of the draft: Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater.

My take: It seemed likely that the Vikings would move back into the first round to get a quarterback, in light of all the success general manager Rick Spielman had with similar moves for safety Harrison Smith and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson the past two years and the fifth-year option that would automatically come with a first-round pick. It's tough to argue with Bridgewater's college credentials, and in many ways, his much-disputed pro day performance played out perfectly for the Vikings. Bridgewater's arm strength isn't the best among quarterback prospects, but he's polished and mature, and he doesn't shy away from the spotlight.

Handling pressure: Bridgewater's efficiency against the blitz was one of the major factors that led the Vikings in his direction, Spielman said. When he was under pressure, Bridgewater hit 53.5 percent of his throws, passing for seven touchdowns against one interception. His completion percentage, passing yards and touchdown-to-interception ratio under pressure were the best of any prominent quarterback in the draft.

What's next: The Vikings sent their second- and fourth-round picks to Seattle for the right to take Bridgewater, so they won't pick until the third round on Friday. They'll have two picks there -- Nos. 72 and 96 overall.