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Former coach says Blake Bortles likes the Vikings


The seven-day countdown to the NFL Draft has begun, and with it the rumors are swirling at higher levels than we've yet to see.

The latest quarterback-to-the-Vikings rumor involves Central Florida's Blake Bortles.

According to the Pioneer Press, Bortles is quite comfortable with the Vikings and considers them a team he "likes."

"He likes the Vikings,'' said Charlie Taaffe, Bortles' former offensive coordinator at Central Florida. "He feels very comfortable with them. He likes the coaches, (general manager) Rick Spielman, who was (on campus). I know Blake told me he had a real comfort level with them.''

The Vikings are the team that has stood out most to Bortles, who until recently had been mentioned as the possible No. 1 pick in the draft. That honor now seems destined for South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

Taaffe added that the system he employed at Central Florida is similar to the offensive system Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner is bringing to Minnesota. Taaffe says Turner felt like Bortles was "real familiar" with his system.

One Yahoo! Sports article compares Bortles to Joe Flacco of the Ravens and Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers, both of whom went to non-elite football balls. Because of where they went to school, they fell out of the top tier of the draft, even though they likely would have gone in the top five if they had attended bigger football universities.

Between Bortles, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, one ESPN scout believes Bortles is the best fit for the Vikings.

Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. each project the Vikings to take Bortles with the eighth overall pick in their latest mock drafts. Another big name in football circles – Peter King – doesn't think Bortles will be available to the Vikings.

The countdown is on, and we're comfortable saying the speculation is just getting started.

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