Why the Minnesota Vikings Got Draft's Biggest Steal in QB Teddy Bridgewater

Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2014

May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the number thirty-two overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to the Minnesota Vikings at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

There are legitimate reasons to be concerned about Teddy Bridgewater's future in the NFL, which is why he slipped to the end of the first round. 

For starters, he's not the biggest or the strongest—and he doesn't posses the elite physical traits of a typical first-round quarterback. 

Additionally, there were concerns about his leadership ability. A member of one team's scouting department told me earlier this week (a team that still had a high grade on him), that he just wasn't the type of vocal leader who could take over a locker room, which raises some level of concern when talking about a franchise quarterback. 

In Minnesota, however, all of these concerns are eased by the talent around him. 

Teddy Bridgewater was the No. 2 quarterback on Minnesota's board, and it was close between he and Johnny Manziel. Vikes are happy.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 9, 2014

The Vikings obviously aren't in position to compete for the Super Bowl in 2014, but the puzzle pieces are there for Bridgewater to find immediate success. 

And Adrian Peterson is the most crucial piece to that puzzle. 

Any issues with Bridgewater's leadership ability should be a non-factor in Minnesota. Peterson is more than capable of being the leader in the huddle for the Vikings. And the presence of other veterans such as Greg Jennings and John Sullivan only further diminishes the need for Bridgewater to immediately step in as a vocal leader. 

As for Bridgewater's limited physical traits, Peterson is also the answer. 

Rick Spielman: "We feel very strongly about Teddy Bridgewater. Of all of the QBs he is the best against the blitz."

Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) May 9, 2014

There are definitely throws that Bridgewater can't make, but as long as he's capable of making smart decisions with the football that's an issue that can be overcome. And with a dominant run game, the Vikings can limit the pressure on Bridgewater early in his career, allowing him to gradually develop the sense of calm on the field that is necessary to pick apart a defense. 

Bridgewater won at Louisville with a patient approach, and he has enough physical tools to make that style work at the next level. 

It's also worth mentioning that Bridgewater offers significantly more value to the Vikings at No. 32 than he would have in the second round. All first-round selections have a fifth-year option in their contract, which could potentially save the Vikings a significant amount of cap space down the road if Bridgewater proves to be the answer at quarterback, since they have the ability to keep him under his rookie contract through the 2018 season.

Ultimately, the Vikings probably didn't land a future Hall of Famer with the 32nd pick, but they did land a quality starter and one of the steals of the first round. The 2014 draft could prove to be a turning point for the Vikings franchise.