The Minnesota Vikings first task of the offseason is to find a new head coach, and they have a wide variety of candidates to look over and a list of finalists to formulate before coming to a decision. Early indications are that Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has the inside track, as Adam Schefter reported earlier today that Zimmer is considered the favorite to land the Viking gig. That doesn’t mean he’s going to be hired, though, as Rick Spielman and the Vikings are expected to take their time before coming to a decision.
Another crucial task for the Vikings this offseason that will take some time is finding a franchise quarterback, and it would be a shock if the Vikings decided not to draft a quarterback with their first-round pick. The Vikings have the eighth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and their biggest position of need right now is definitely at quarterback. Josh Freeman is almost certainly not sticking around, and neither Christian Ponder nor Matt Cassel have shown the tools necessary to be franchise QBs. While getting help in the secondary is important, the Vikings biggest need is undoubtedly at quarterback, and they have to properly evaluate the QBs and draft a franchise QB this year.
In his latest 2014 NFL Mock Draft on NFLMocks.com (you can read the full piece by following this link), Sayre Bedinger has the Minnesota Vikings selecting Fresno State Bulldogs star quarterback Derek Carr with the eighth pick in the draft, and it’s a selection that definitely makes a great deal of sense. In fact, if Blake Bortles isn’t on the board, which he is unlikely to be, then this is the perfect pick for the Vikings.
Carr isn’t rated as highly as Bortles by many, but I think he’s just as good of a prospect as Bortles is. While Carr faced easier opponents in his conference in college, the fact that he plays in a spread offense shouldn’t hurt him. In fact, knocking down Carr by stating that playing in a spread offense hurts him is a crutch argument, since it’s more important to look at throws instead of stats anyway. That logic only holds if you are trying to downplay the numbers, and I don’t think any reasonable person who knows about evaluating draft prospects would argue that Carr’s numbers aren’t bloated. His raw stats definitely aren’t indicative of NFL success at all, but his throws and tools are.
Simply put, Derek Carr has the best arm talent of any quarterback in this class, and he is capable of throwing lasers in tight spaces downfield. He has plenty of upside and is definitely one of the top three QBs in the draft class. Teddy Bridgewater is undoubtedly my No. 1 guy, but I think the Vikings would love to have a guy like Carr on their side. With a strong coaching staff to help him become more consistent and a better decision-maker, I could see Carr being a true franchise QB. His ability to get the ball downfield will greatly help the Vikings and would be a fresh change from Christian Ponder, who clearly doesn’t have anywhere near Carr’s arm talent. Carr needs some work, but he has a lot of upside and is somebody worth investing in.