Experts: Bortles could be a great fit with the Vikings


Eight days away from the start of the NFL Draft there is a new round of speculation about what the Vikings will do with the eighth overall pick.

There appears to be some momentum towards the Vikings drafting a quarterback with that pick.

ESPN's draft experts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper both have the Vikings selecting Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles with the pick.

The Vikings announced last week they would not bring Bortles in for any additional workouts between now and the NFL Draft.

McShay, who has Bortles ranked as his 9th overall draft prospect, only has one other quarterback being selected ahead of Bortles, that's Johnny Manziel.

Analysis: The Vikings need a long-term answer at quarterback, but the presence of Matt Cassel (who did not play terribly last season) would allow for Bortles to sit for at least part of his rookie season, which is an ideal situation for him. He has prototypical size and good mobility, and while there are some issues with his mechanics, I think they are fixable. I also wouldn't be surprised if GM Rick Spielman trades again. He made a shrewd deal in 2012 to move down and add picks while still getting Matt Kalil and then traded back into the first round to get Harrison Smith. He was active again in last year's first round.

Kiper also has the Vikings selecting Bortles with the eighth pick. He adds:

Obviously, the current tandem of Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder isn't the long-term answer. On the other hand, the presence of both provides a reasonable basis for drafting a quarterback, because there's no need to simply force-feed a rookie the starting role out of the gate. I think Bortles will benefit from some time in the system before he's forced to handle first-team reps. I'll say again that Bortles is a very good athlete with excellent pocket instincts and can benefit from his ability to create some yards with his legs, as we've seen from a few other young quarterbacks recently.

Whether the Vikings end up with Bortles or selecting another quarterback with the eighth overall pick could depend on how things go for Cassell and Ponder during the Vikings three-day minicamp, which is underway at Winter Park.

That said add Peter King to the growing number of draft analysts and NFL experts who think Bortles could be moving north. King leads his Monday Morning Quarterback article saying Bortles is a perfect fit for the Vikings.

King was recently in Minnesota and spent time with the Vikings coaching staff and front office. He believes that Bortles, who is an inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than Troy Aikman, is the kind of quarterback Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner loves, though he doubts that Bortles will be available at eight.

Not all of the experts agree, yet.

Pro Football Talk has the Vikings trading out of the eighth pick in the draft. In today's update, Mike Florio predicts the Vikings trade the pick to the New York Giants, who use it to select defensive tackle Aaron Donald of Pittsburgh.

Florio will announce how the Vikings will use the 12th pick in the draft they acquire from the Giants during tomorrow's segment.

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