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Comparing Sophomore QBs from the 2014 NFL Draft

There are four second-year quarterbacks who started for their NFL teams last week.

Two of them will face off in the Vikings-Raiders matchup on Sunday.

Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater and Raiders QB Derek Carr have a history dating back to the day they we both selected in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune compared the two young starting quarterbacks who shared that special experience.

*"Me and Teddy, we text back and forth a little bit and keep up with one another and root for one another," Carr said on a conference call Wednesday. "I always tell everyone I root for the guys to have Hall of Fame careers, except when we play them. I'm happy for his success and the things he's done." *

Bridgewater practiced Wednesday and has one more hurdle to clear in the NFL's concussion protocol. Barring an unexpected setback, he will start Sunday against the Raiders in a matchup featuring the two most promising quarterbacks from that 2014 draft class.

With twice as many career touchdown passes, Carr has the clear statistical edge on Bridgewater. In 2015, he ranks third in the NFL with 19 touchdown passes against only four interceptions. Bridgewater, meanwhile, has six of each. Carr, who ranks 12th in the league in passing yards, has averaged 53 more yards per game than Bridgewater.

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*ESPN.com recently started a seven-part series, where the website is analyzing the performance of the young quarterback in the NFL.

This week Mike Sando wrote of NFL scout's second reads on the 2014 QB class, as well as responses on the reports from a few ESPN NFL Insiders.

Vikings defense better on all levels

Linval Joseph became the first Minnesota Vikings player to win Defensive Player of the Week since Kevin Williams did it in 2004.

When Joseph addressed the media Wednesday he credited his teammates on defense for the honor.

Through the first half of the season, the ethe Vikings are off to their best start in six seasons. Each of the players are buying in as one unit to Head Coach Mike Zimmer's defensive scheme.

John Holler of Viking Update wrote about why he thinks the Minnesota defense that is better on all levels this season.

The key element of the Zimmer defense is to have all 11 players working as one, what the players refer to as "small ball." If each player executes his assignment on each play, offenses can be stymied more times than not. There isn't any room for freelancing or getting out of position. When the Vikings are hitting on all cylinders, Zimmer's defense can be lethal. He has the players buying into it and the success has followed.

"Our job on this defense right now is everybody do their job – small ball," Joseph said. "The plays will come to you. That's what we're doing. We all love Zimmer. He's a good guy. He coaches small ball – everybody do their job. That's what we're doing. Right now, everybody is really in tune, in sync and we just want to keep winning."

The respect and admiration that the players have shown to Zimmer has been mutual. More and more, the players are buying into Zimmer's vision of coaching defense and they're seeing the tangible results of that buy-in on the field.

At first, it was complicated and, at times, confusing to players whose instincts were often at odds with their assignments on given plays. They have to give in to the system and, as the Vikings have found ways to limit opponents to 20 points or fewer in seven of their eight games (and 23 in the other), they've come to understand that Zimmer has a higher plane of thinking than the rest of them and they have embraced what he is teaching.

Quick Hitters

The Raiders offense faces a tough test with injuries in the Vikings, writes Josh Dubow of the Associated Press.

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson and S Harrison Smith were both featured on Clayton's list at their respective positions.

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