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Mock Madness: Manziel, Bortles remain popular picks for Vikings

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Forget about March Madness, it's time for some serious football fun with something we're calling "Mock Madness." We'll take a look at a bunch of mock drafts between now and the NFL Draft, so get ready for some frequent changes to some of our favorite experts' predictions.

The Vikings hold the No. 8 pick in the draft, and this is the latest roundup of who the NFL analysts have going to Minnesota.

PRO FOOTBALL TALK – MIKE FLORIO
Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

With Matt Cassel in place for two years, Bortles gets eased in to the job, possibly becoming offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s next star pupil.

ESPN – TODD MCSHAY
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

I think the Vikings take the best player available, either offensive tackle Jake Matthews or cornerback Justin Gilbert out of Oklahoma State. I'll go with Gilbert, the top corner prospect on our board who has excellent speed, size and playmaking ability.

CBS SPORTS – ROB RANG
Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

Mike Zimmer's choice of Norv Turner as his offensive coordinator may signal the end of Christian Ponder's run as the Vikings' quarterback. While Ponder does not possess the strong arm Turner has preferred in his vertical passing attack, Carr certainly does. The Fresno State star distanced himself from the other senior quarterbacks in this draft class with a strong performance in Mobile but some question his poise in a muddied pocket after starring in a shotgun-heavy attack. If not selected by one of the QB-needy teams in the top eight, Carr (and the other three top-ranked passers) could tumble as teams take advantage of this year's extraordinary talent at other positions.

CBS SPORTS – DANE BRUGLER
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

General Manager Chris Spielman swung and missed on Christian Ponder in the first round in 2011, can he go after another quarterback with question marks in the top 12? Minnesota needs to find an identity at quarterback and Manziel and Adrian Peterson in the same backfield would be fun.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED – DOUG FARRAR
Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

Yes, this is a bit of an overdraft, but Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has never been shy about pulling the trigger a bit early for a perceived need — and there’s nothing perceived about Minnesota’s need for a franchise quarterback. Bortles is still learning multiple-read concepts, and he’ll be befuddled at times by NFL defenses. But with offensive coordinator Norv Turner in tow, Bortles does have the innate ability to become a great NFL signal-caller over time.

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