Minnesota Vikings: Could Derek Carr Be the QB of the Future?

Travis Wakeman@@traviswakeman10Correspondent IIJanuary 11, 2014

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 21:  Quarterback Derek Carr #4 of the Fresno State Bulldogs signals teammates during the team's game against the USC Trojans in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium on December 21, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. USC won 45-20.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Holding the No. 8 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Minnesota Vikings could go several different directions with their selection.

Do they attempt to shore up their defense? Defensive end Jared Allen will become a free agent, and there is a very good chance he will be playing somewhere else next season.

Do they look to add more depth to the secondary? They used a first-round pick last season on cornerback Xavier Rhodes. He didn't have a single interception during his rookie season and was part of a secondary that ranked No. 31 in the league in pass defense.

Yes, the Vikings have holes, but none is more glaring than the one they have at the quarterback position.

Between Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman, the team didn't get much in the way of production in 2013. That trio isn't likely to be any better next year.

What's worse is the team has weapons on offense that could give opposing defenses fits if the quarterback play was better.

Cordarrelle Patterson had a strong rookie season with 45 receptions and four touchdowns. His future is very bright. The team also has reliable pass-catchers in Greg Jennings and Kyle Rudolph.

In today's NFL, a franchise quarterback is a must, especially if you're planning on opening a new stadium in 2016.

Minnesota Vikings Quarterbacks in 2013
PlayerComp. Pct.YardsTDsINTRating
Matt Cassel60.21,80711981.6
Christian Ponder63.61,6487977.9
Josh Freeman37.71900140.6
NFL Stats

Because of these reasons, the Vikings will take a long look at Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr. If that name sounds familiar, it should. His brother David was the No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Texans in 2002.

Carr put together an excellent career at Fresno State, throwing for 12,730 yards and 113 touchdowns in his three years as a starter. In 2013, Carr threw for an astounding 50 touchdowns.

With quarterback-needy teams like Houston, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns all drafting ahead of the Vikings, it's a good bet that Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles will all be taken when their turn comes up.

Some risk would be involved in drafting Carr. He certainly would need help with his mechanics once he got to the NFL.

At Fresno State, he played in a system that saw him rarely line up under center. On top of that, he would need to improve his footwork.

However, Carr has an NFL arm, and in the right system with the right coaching, he could develop into exactly what the Vikings are looking for.

Ideally, the team should plan on starting either Cassel or Ponder next season, giving Carr a year to acclimate himself to the NFL. In 2015, he could be ready to be the day-one starter.

The team could go in another direction in the first round, but eventually, the quarterback position needs to be addressed, and Carr will very likely be available at No. 8.

After all, the free-agent market won't provide any answers for a quick fix this offseason—not unless Minnesota is a team that still believes Michael Vick is capable of starting.