The countdown to the NFL Draft continues and the picks will start flying off the board on May 8. Whether the Vikings use the No. 8 overall selection on a quarterback is a mystery, but general manager Rick Spielman will, without question, use a pick or two during the draft on a quarterback.
The names that have been linked to the Vikings the most are Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Central Florida's Blake Bortles, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and Fresno State's Derek Carr.
It's no coincidence that Manziel, Bortles, Bridgewater and Carr are widely considered the four best quarterbacks in the draft. The links are often created by mock drafts that project the Vikings to use the No. 8 pick on a quarterback.
Bridgewater is reportedly in Minnesota today and tomorrow for the Vikings' "Top 30" prospects event, which is held annually about three and a half weeks before the draft. Bridgewater has been coined anywhere from the possible No. 1 pick to going on a "pre-draft free fall" after shaky private workouts, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
ESPN's Kevin Siefert wrote on Monday that Manziel to the Vikings makes little sense considering the history of quarterbacks to have played on teams affiliated with head coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner have been "almost exclusively have played with tall, traditional pocket passers."
Those quarterbacks include: Troy Aikman, Philip Rivers, Jim Everett, Andy Dalton, Gus Frerotte, Carson Palmer, Kerry Collins, Brad Johnson, Quincy Carter, Jay Fiedler, Drew Bledsoe, Quincy Carter and Alex Smith. Flutie and Carter are the only two scrambling quarterbacks.
If you're looking for a super detailed breakdown of what Manziel brings to the table, you have to read what NFL Films' Greg Cosell wrote for Yahoo! Sports.
If what Sports Illustrated's Peter King is hearing is correct, the Vikings could be the first team to take a quarterback. King has heard that five teams in need of a quarterback – Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Oakland – "are strongly considering passing on quarterbacks with their first picks." Each of those five teams pick ahead of the Vikings.
Another name to keep any eye on over the next few weeks is Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage. King wrote that Savage's agent has had to turn down any future workouts because his scheduled is completely booked between now and the draft. Savage hasn't been linked to the Vikings, but he's definitely worth being aware of.
As for comparisons, Manziel has been called a Fran Tarkenton clone and Bortles reminds analysts of Ben Roethlisberger, but what about Carr?
“He reminds me a lot of Ryan Tannehill personality-wise, awareness of the game, athleticism, maturity – very, very similar guy,” Fresno State head coach Thomas DeRuyter said in an interview with CBS Sports. “I think he can have a career just like Ryan.”
Tannehill has 36 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions through two years in the NFL. The Dolphins drafted him eighth overall in 2012.
Bleacher Report today unveiled its final quarterback rankings leading up to the draft.
- Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
- Derek Carr, Fresno State
- Blake Bortles, UCF
- Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
- Zach Mettenberger, LSU
- A.J. McCarron, Alabama
- Aaron Murray, Georgia
- Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
- David Fales, San Jose State
- Brett Smith, Wyoming