Minnesota Vikings: Could Bridgewater Fall to Team at No. 8 in 1st Round?

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Minnesota Vikings: Could Bridgewater Fall to Team at No. 8 in 1st Round?
John Raoux/Associated Press

Things are starting to come together for the Minnesota Vikings.

The team has found its head coach, choosing Mike Zimmer to lead it starting in 2014. The Vikings made more news Saturday as well. As reported by Jason La Canfora of CBS SportsNorv Turner has been signed to become the team's new offensive coordinator.

With two widely respected coaches now in place, the team can start to address its other needs.

Offensively, the Vikings have the weapons in place. Adrian Peterson is the best running back in football. Cordarrelle Patterson will only get better, and Greg Jennings provides a solid veteran presence. Matt Kalil will be one of the better left tackles for years to come.

So what is missing?

The Vikings still need a quarterback. They have struggled to find a viable option at the position since Brett Favre's retirement.

Though Zimmer brings with him a focus on the defensive side of the ball, finding a franchise quarterback still has to be the top priority for this organization.

At least three quarterbacks will be drafted in the first round of the upcoming NFL draft. There is a good chance that more than three will be selected.

The problem for the Vikings is that several quarterback-needy teams sit higher in the draft order than they do. Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland and perhaps even Tampa Bay may have their sights set on a new signal-caller.

Mel Kiper's First 2014 Mock Draft
Team Player Position School
1. Houston Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M
2. St. Louis (from Washington) Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M
3. Jacksonville Jadaveon Clowney DE South Carolina
4. Cleveland Blake Bortles QB Central Florida
5. Oakland Sammy Watkins WR Clemson
6. Atlanta Anthony Barr LB UCLA
7. Tampa Bay Khalil Mack LB Buffalo
8. Minnesota Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville
9. Buffalo Greg Robinson OT Auburn
10. Detroit Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma State

ESPN NFL Insider (subscription required)

Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles will all likely be selected in the top 10. So will one of these guys fall to the Vikings?

According to ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper, one of them will. In his latest mock draft (subscription required, free videos available), Kiper has Bridgewater going to the Vikings at No. 8.

Originally, it was speculated that Bridgewater would easily be the No. 1 overall selection by the Houston Texans. Of course, many put Geno Smith as the No. 1 overall pick prior to the draft last year, and he fell all the way to the second round.

Instead, Kiper has Manziel going first to Houston and then Cleveland snagging Bortles with the fourth overall selection.

According to Kiper, Oakland would select wide receiver Sammy Watkins from Clemson with the fifth pick, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr would go to Atlanta at No. 6, and Tampa Bay would select Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack at No. 7.

That would leave the Vikings with the opportunity to select Bridgewater. Now, much can change between now and then, but the Vikings could have a chance to get their hands on that elusive quarterback.

The question is, would Bridgewater be the guy they're looking for?

At 6'3", Bridgewater has good size for the position. He also has a strong, accurate arm. But what makes him special are the intangibles he brings.

He has good mobility. He can be elusive in the pocket and throws very well while on the run. How many times have we seen quarterbacks like Andrew Luck or Colin Kaepernick pick up a first down on 3rd-and-8 with their legs? Bridgewater has the ability to do that.

He also makes big plays in big games. Two of his best performances at Louisville came in bowl games against Florida and Miami—both victories.

In those two games, Bridgewater threw for 713 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran for another score.

Bridgewater's decision-making abilities and his placement of the ball are the most impressive. He demonstrates good pocket presence and is able to find his target quickly. He is very good at placing the ball where only his receiver has a chance to come down with it.

With a solid nucleus in place on offense, Bridgewater would be able to come in and make the Minnesota offense dynamic. He possesses a skill set that hasn't been seen in Minnesota since Daunte Culpepper was in his prime.

The Vikings clearly need to make moves to improve what was a very bad defense in 2013. However, if Bridgewater is on the board at No. 8, they can't make the mistake of passing him up.

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