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How Scott Crichton Fits with the Minnesota Vikings

Sep 7, 2013; Corvallis, OR, USA; Oregon State Beavers defensive end Scott Crichton (95) before the game against the Hawaii Warriors at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
Darren PageFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2014

The Scott Crichton selection has Mike Zimmer's name written all over it.  If Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman turned to Zimmer before making the call to the Oregon State defensive end, he definitely would have gotten a thumbs up.

Crichton fits what all teams are looking for off the field and in terms of character.  All reports paint him as one of the hardest-working prospects.  For a 3-star prospect, via Rivals.com, to transform himself into a dominant defensive lineman the way Crichton did, determination has to be there.  

Crichton's motivations as a football player are where they need to be as well.  Instead of seeking a recommendation from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, he simply declared for the draft with the intentions that he would help his family no matter what.

As far as fit on the roster, it's all about depth and rotation for Zimmer's defense.  

His base players are rotated out often, keeping fresh legs on the field.  The current group of defensive ends has two bona fide starters in Everson Griffen and Brian Robison.  After that, it's Corey Wootton, who is only signed for a single season.  Crichton makes sense from a depth standpoint and will surely be the Vikings' No. 3 defensive end long term, if not immediately.

Speaking in general on Crichton's skills, he projects as a left defensive end or strong-side defensive end.  He's a stuffer of the run first and foremost as an end who can stand up blockers at the line of scrimmage, play off blocks in a hurry and rack up the tackles.

Crichton fits the schematics of Zimmer's defense well.  

The new defensive scheme asks a defensive end to play a contain role with a bull-rush focus on one side.  Crichton's power and discipline as a rusher plays into that.  He is the type of defensive end a defensive coordinator can send onto the field with a set of instructions and know that the job gets done.

Crichton's versatility is especially impressive.

Oregon State lined him up all over the defensive line.  His showing against the Oregon Ducks was especially impressive, one where he was played in the nose tackle spot.  Crichton comes off the ball with power and explosiveness.  Everything about him is centered around how quick he is into contact with leverage, hand usage and absolute power.

On clear passing downs, Crichton can be bumped down to the inside.  That gives the Vikings multiple players who can do that.  Think of all the creative ways Zimmer can bring pressure, which is something he loves to do.

The selection of a defensive end will draw the ire of fans.  Crichton will not be a starter for the Vikings in 2014 and may not be a starter in the near future.  That should not scare anyone away from thinking it's a fine pick.  Embrace the rotations, and embrace the competition for spots.

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