How Far Have The Vikings' Rookies Come?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Some of the SB Nation NFL sites have been taking a look back to see how their current rookie classes were perceived in their high school years. How many "stars" did some of their players have as recruits? Where did they rank? Well, let's take a look at our own rookie class in the same light, shall we?

This information is going to come from Rivals.com. Rivals is one of the premiere services for high school recruiting and generally tend to do a pretty good job with these sorts of things.

As you might expect, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was the most ballyhooed prospect in this Minnesota Vikings draft class. The ones that were drafted, at least. A four-star recruit out of Northwestern High School in Miami, Florida, the 6'3", 185-pound Bridgewater was rated as the #6 "dual threat" quarterback in the nation for the Class of 2011. He was also #113 on Rivals' ranking of the top 250 high school players in the country that year.

Linebacker Anthony Barr. . .or, back then, "athlete" Anthony Barr. . .had his own share of hype. He was a four-star recruit out of Loyola High School in Los Angeles, and was Rivals' #5 "athlete" for 2010. I'm not sure exactly how Rivals defines "athlete," but a look at the list shows players that wound up playing numerous different positions in college, including receivers Robert Woods and DeAndre Hopkins, cornerbacks Justin Gilbert and Bashaud Breeland, and even (college) quarterback Kain Colter. The last sentence of Barr's profile is kind of funny in hindsight, too. Remember, he spent his high school (and early college) years on offense.

He is a versatile athlete and could possibly end up as an outside linebacker, weakside defensive end or even a tight end if running back does not work out.

Good call, Rivals.

Defensive end Scott Crichton wasn't quite as highly thought-of. He garnered a three-star rating coming out of Henry Foss High School in Tacoma, Washington, and he was ranked as the #44 strong-side defensive end in the country, as well as the #12 player in the state of Washington.

Jerick McKinnon, who was listed as a wide receiver at Marietta, Georgia's Sprayberry High School, didn't crack any of the national rankings. Interestingly enough, McKinnon had scholarship offers from both Air Force and Navy before deciding to commit to Georgia Southern. Says a lot about his character, in my opinion. . .and the fact that he was a wide receiver in high school might allay concerns about his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield or out of the slot.

David Yankey was also a three-star recruit coming out of Centennial High School in Roswell, Georgia. He was ranked as the #47 offensive tackle in America by Rivals, and had scholarship offers from thirteen different colleges. Interestingly, he was listed as 275 pounds coming out of high school. At the Scouting Combine, he weighed in at 315.

Moving on to the sixth round, we find another three-star recruit in Antone Exum. A product of Deep Run High School in Glen Allen, Virginia, Exum was classified under the same "athlete" heading as Anthony Barr was. In the class of 2009, Exum was the 38th-best "athlete" in high school football. Again, it's a very interesting mix of players on the list, including current Vikings' cornerback Josh Robinson (#18) and Detroit Lions' second-round draft pick Kyle Van Noy (#24).

I can't seem to find a Rivals profile for the Vikings' other sixth-round pick, cornerback Kendall James. Not sure if it exists or not. If anyone manages to find one, please point me to it.

As we reach the seventh round, defensive tackle Shamar Stephen wasn't highly sought-after either, from the looks of things. Stephen, who has also put on about 40-45 pounds in his time at Connecticut, was a two-star recruit, and didn't register on any of Rivals' lists coming out of Lutheran High School in Brookville, New York.

Brandon Watts is another current Vikings' draftee that was a three-star recruit coming out of high school. Coming out of Washington County High School in Sandersville, Georgia, Watts made a couple of national lists as well. He was ranked as the #59 outside linebacker prospect in the country for the class of 2009, as well as the 68th-ranked player overall coming out of the state of Georgia that year.

Last, but not least, we find another three-star recruit in cornerback Jabari Price. He was ranked as the 83rd-best cornerback in the country coming out of Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, Florida. That wasn't enough for him to crack either the national rankings at the position, nor did he make the overall list for the state of Florida for the class of 2010.

Taking a look at some of the undrafted free agents the Vikings have brought in, offensive tackle Antonio Richardson. . .known to his friends as "Tiny". . .was a four-star recruit and the #7 offensive tackle in America coming out of Pearl-Cohn High School in Nashville, Tennessee. He was also the #1 overall player to come out of the state of Tennessee in 2011. Tight end A.C. Leonard was another four-star recruit, and was also rated the #5 tight end in the nation and the 15th-best player in the state of Florida, and the 57th-best player in the country in 2011. Oh, and if you go to Leonard's page at the link there, it says that Leonard reminds them of. . .Aaron Hernandez. Yes, that Aaron Hernandez. Hope he doesn't remind them that much of him.

That's a look at how far some of the Vikings' crop of rookies has come since their formative years on the gridiron. Hopefully you found the information interesting, if nothing else.

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