- Ben Goessling, ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter
- 0 Shares
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- For the third consecutive year, the Minnesota Vikings traded back into the first round of the NFL draft. And this time, they did it to get their quarterback of the future.
The Vikings traded a second-round pick (40th overall) and a fourth-round pick (108th) to the Seattle Seahawks to nab Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the final selection of the first round. Minnesota had earlier drafted UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr with the No. 9 overall pick.
Bridgewater was widely regarded as one of the top 2013 draft prospects following his outstanding sophomore season, which was punctuated by his performance in Louisville's upset of Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Bridgewater also was productive as a junior this past season, passing for 3,970 yards and 31 touchdowns against just four interceptions.
But Bridgewater's draft stock dropped after he struggled at his pro day in March, raising questions about whether he would be drafted in the first round at all. In a private workout last month in Florida, however, Bridgewater alleviated many of those concerns.
"When we showed up, Teddy had all the receivers there. Everything was lined up," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. "And then [offensive coordinator] Norv [Turner] started coaching him. Some of the flaws you may have seen during the original pro day, as soon as he got coached, those things were getting corrected and getting corrected quickly."
Spielman had previously said the Vikings wanted a young quarterback to sit and learn during his first season, and Bridgewater wouldn't lay any claim to the starting job when asked about it Thursday night.
"That'll be up to the coaches," Bridgewater said. "I feel I'll be able to compete and start whenever I show I'm the best guy for the position."
When the Vikings met with Bridgewater in Minnesota after his workout in Florida, they gave him a second physical to check on an issue with his heart that came up at the NFL scouting combine. Bridgewater believed the Vikings were the only team to check on it a second time and said an EKG showed there were no major concerns.
"I just had an abnormal heartbeat," Bridgewater said. "I think it was one beat less than the normal beat. It came up at the combine, and I was freaking out about it, but once I got started running on a treadmill, I got my heart rate working."
Fox Sports reported the Vikings nearly had a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles to move up to the 22nd overall pick, possibly to draft Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, and while Spielman said the Vikings were trying all night to get back into the first round, he wouldn't say whether the team had planned to draft Manziel or whether it had a deal on the table.
Instead, the Vikings will move forward with Bridgewater, and by taking him with the last pick in the first round, they'll have the benefit of the fifth-year option automatically added to the contracts of first-round picks. That option, Spielman said, was a factor in why the Vikings moved back into the first round.
"We wouldn't have moved up for just anybody," head coach Mike Zimmer said. "He leads. He makes the players around him better."
For the third consecutive year, the Minnesota Vikings traded back into the first round of the NFL draft. And this time, they did it to get their quarterback of the future.