It did not take but five days for the Minnesota Vikings to give their heralded 2014 first round draft picks a crack at first team repetitions. Snaps were still limited for both. Anthony Barr saw his reps at the linebacker position, while only putting his hand in the ground as a defensive end on certain sub packages. Teddy Bridgewater saw the first team huddle for only a series, handing off to All-Pro running back, Adrian Peterson, once and dropping back for passes on his other three plays of the series. As limited as it was for both Bridgewater and Barr, it can also be considered a step in the right direction. It was the first time the Vikings allowed their first round picks access to the first team huddles so far in training camp, and have many considering the fact that this may be only the beginning.
New head coach, Mike Zimmer, was not exactly ecstatic when talking about first experience with the starters for either player, noting specific issues that both will need to fix in order to continue their progress. The numbers for the Viking’s rookie quarterback may look quite impressive on paper, but Zimmer was not too thrilled about his young quarterback’s accuracy and progressions through each read. Bridgewater often threw to the running backs out of the backfield, opting not to take too many chances down the field. Anthony Barr did not fare too well either. Zimmer noticed his rookie linebacker was late on a blitz, which he discussed with Barr afterwards. The growing pains of the young rookies is a process teams must live with from time to time, hoping their prospect does prosper at some point throughout the season, and as long as the talent shows up and stays consistent during their career, a team may consider that a well planned investment.
The Minnesota Vikings are desperate to find their future signal caller, praying to the football gods they did not trade back into the first round without reason. Teddy Bridgewater is their predicted future at the quarterback position, and Anthony Barr is being projected to being a hybrid type linebacker in the same light as a Von Miller of Denver, or a Clay Matthews of the Packers. The gifted 6’5″ linebacker has the speed to keep up with any player on the field, and the body fluidity to become a force to reckoned with when rushing the passer. With the coaching of defensive genius Mike Zimmer, and the offensive prowess of offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, both Bridgewater and Barr should expect being coached up, critiqued, and praised. With a week and a half of training camp left before their first preseason game against the Oakland Raiders, Minnesota will have ample time to configure whether or not either player will be in the starting line up come game one. Fortunately enough for the team, there are three games after that one if things still need sorted out on the depth chart. No need to press either way for the Vikings, as Zimmer has vowed to play the best player no matter the circumstance. It is time to take his word on it.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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