Vikings Exercise Fifth-Year Option on Anthony Barr, Decline on Teddy Bridgewater
The draft is now over, but teams are still staying busy.
The Vikings are Monday decided their 2018 fates on both of their 2014 first round selections.
— Matt Vensel (@mattvensel) May 1, 2017
Barr was the team’s ninth overall draft pick in 2014 out of UCLA. He played very well in his first two seasons, but had a mediocre 2016 season. He has also had issues staying healthy.
Bridgewater was the 32nd overall pick in the same draft out of Louisville. He looked like he was on his way of perhaps being the long-term starting quarterback for the franchise before tearing his ACL and dislocating his knee during practice before the season began.
The Vikings gave up a first round pick for Sam Bradford, who had a very good 2016 season. If he keeps playing well, it would not be a shock if they decide to move on from Bridgewater altogether.
After coming off a 5-10-1 season in 2013, Barr and Bridgewater were among those counted on to help bring the Vikings back to respectability. Barr played very well and Bridgewater was decent. The Vikings went 7-9, despite Adrian Peterson missing the final 15 games.
Barr missed the final four games of the season with an injury, but recorded 70 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries (one was returned for a game-winning touchdown in overtime). That touchdown helped earn him the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. His strong play continued in year two, earning him Pro Bowl honors as an injury replacement. He missed two games with an injury and was also limited for much of their offseason activities because of his knee.
He played in all 16 games last season, but his production went down. He did make it back to the Pro Bowl, but once again as an injury replacement.
Bridgewater played in 13 games (12 games) during his rookie season. He got his chance when Matt Cassel went down with a season-ending ankle injury. He threw 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, which earned him the Pepsi Rookie of the Year award. The next season he started all 16 games. He threw 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions and got into the Pro Bowl as a injury replacement.
Both Barr and Bridgewater played a role in the Vikings winning the North with a 11-5 record in 2015 and were among those who were counted on to help them advance in 2016.
Barr still has a chance to bounce back this upcoming, while Bridgewater may not even get to see the field. Both because of unknown return timetable and Bradford being back as the starter. Maybe Bridgwater could be brought back in 2018 as a backup, but he may never be the same again. That is a very tough injury to come back from and given that his running ability is his strength, it will hurt him more.
There is a very good chance that Bridgewater’s days with the Vikings are numbered after the 2017 season. Barr could still stick around if he does not return to form, but it would certainly cost him a big contract going forward.
One thing is for sure. Barr needs to return to his 2015 and 2016 form. The Vikings will once again be among the best defenses in the league, but having Barr bounce back will only help that much more.