Vikings welcome Barr, Bridgewater to Minnesota

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - For the third year in a row, the Minnesota Vikings welcomed multiple first round draft picks to Winter Park.

After a trade that moved them from No. 8 to No. 9, the Vikings selected linebacker Anthony Barr, from UCLA, and then they traded back into the first round at No. 32 and selected quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, from Louisville.

"Wow, these two guys are studs, aren't they?" Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "This is what NFL football players are supposed to look like."

It's hard to blame Zimmer for being excited with the opportunity to welcome in a pair of top draft picks after Day 1 of his first NFL draft as a head coach.

The defensive coach has a new linebacker, who is raw, but has a ton of potential.

"The athletic ability that he has is just off the charts. He's a great rusher and we're going to help him to be a really, really good football player," Zimmer said.

Barr only played two years on defense for the Bruins. He switched to linebacker after a stint primarily as a running back. What he lacks in experience, he more than makes up for in athletic ability and effort.

"I am a tough football player, very competitive and I think anywhere they end up placing me on the field, I will be able to make an impact for the team," Barr said.

Barr was one of 30 players that visited the Vikings leading up to the draft. He left thinking that this was a place he could see himself playing.

"I knew when I was here on my visit a couple of weeks ago there was some level of comfort," he said. "I felt like it was a good trip and that my meetings went well. So, I felt if I were to become a Viking it would be a great fit for me."

Once again, the Vikings traded back into the first round of this year's draft and this time they chose a quarterback. Bridgewater is the 7th first round pick to join the team over a three-year span.

And it's clear he is excited to be wearing purple.

"I am a Viking now and whatever I can do to represent this organization, I will do that," Bridgewater said.

"He's a guy that has great, great character, a guy that's a great leader," said Zimmer. "All he does is win."

Bridgewater said he is excited to come in and play for offensive coordinator Norv Turner and quarterbacks coach Scott Turner. He also noted that he is ready to get to work.

"It's been a relief knowing that all of your hard work has paid off and now you can get your career started," Bridgewater said.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman has said that there is not a rush to get Bridgewater into the starting position, but Bridgewater started as a both freshman in high school and at Louisville. He said it's been a while since he has watched from the sidelines.

"My expectation here is to show that I will compete at a high level and just lead this team," Bridgewater said. "Eventually, if I can showcase the talents and the ability to be the starter, than that's my expectations."

Barr will wear No. 55 for the Vikings, the same number worn by past Vikings greats, Scott Studwell and Jack Del Rio. Bridgewater will wear No. 5.


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